Kismet’s Kiss (The Women Of Kismet Book #1) by Cate Rowan
August 24, 2010
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “It will be the greatest agony I can bear. But the alternative is something I can’t bear at all.”
In the desert realm of Kad, a deadly epidemic has struck the palace of Sultan Kuramos. As the Royal family lies sick and close to death, only a magical healer from an enemy land may have the skill to save his household.
When Varene, the Royal Healer of Tergenne, is summoned to Kad she finds things are not as she thought. She expects the sultan’s arrogance, but not his courage or his selfless care of the ill. Kaddite culture condemns Varene’s mystical talents and her presence triggers a plot to overthrow Kuramos. Yet as he and the healer toil for the cure, passion turns to love.
Kismet’s Kiss is an magical, exhilarating, sensual delight. Lush exotic world building, riveting storyline, and strong personable characters set the stage for a rich and captivating story filled with sultry romance, delicious humor, and tense suspense. A fascinating read that captured me at page one.
The Sultan of Kad, Kuramos, is a strong and traditional ruler who holds tight to his honer above all else. He has held rule for over 200 years and along with his 6 wives does what is best for his people-even at the expense of his own happiness. Kuramos exiled all magic from his kingdom after the last war and forbids it’s use. When his kingdom is stricken by a deadly illness he breaks protocol and sends for help from the country of his greatest enemy.
Help comes in the form of Varene na Seryn; the royal healer of Teganne. Kuramos is shocked to discover Varene is beautiful, magical, and a female and struggles to accept her and allow her to heal his people. As he watches Varene try to save his people, his respect evolves into something much deeper.
Varene is a strong out spoken women who is non apologetic for her gender or magic. Upon entering Kad she is assaulted and her opinion of Kad and it’s ruler plummets. But when she learns that Kuramo is the one who has been caring for his sick family she begins to wonder about her other misconceptions of him. As she interacts with him and his people, she sees another side to Kuramo and begins to lose her heart.
Varene is an exceptional heroine. Constructed and fleshed out with a undeniable realism, I was impressed with her independence, intelligence, and emotional stability. She takes her healing magic seriously and the plot that revolves around this aspect is artfully constructed with plenty of tense action and suspense. She isn’t perfect and Ms. Rowan’s shows her flaws without gilding.
I especially enjoyed the fact that Varene is secure enough in herself and her needs to admit that Kuramo’s love is not enough to overcome her distaste of his culture. And that by succumbing to his demands, she is only setting them both up for misery and heartbreak.
Kuramo’s was a joy to watch. Arrogant and aloof, he is adorably confused when Varene does not acknowledge just how “wonderful” he is. Varene’s independence infuriates and tantalizes him. Yet for all his posturing, he truly loves his wives and children and maintains an unwavering loyalty to them. He tries very hard to understand her feelings and her antagonism towards his culture but he cannot see beyond his own wants. And he wants her.
Ms. Rowan uses a deft hand in developing Kuramos and Varene’s relationship; taking us a down emotionally charged path without plunging us directly into the physical realm. The courtship is ripe with innuendos and tense internal conflicts, building deliciously slowly and sensually till I found myself practically vibrating with the need to see how it ends. The mystery in this story provides a nice balance to the romance. Ms Rowan does a fabulous job of sacrificing neither in it’s telling.
Each character in this story is such a rich and satisfying blend of personality and depth. Ms Rowan has a gifted way of inebriating her characters with such vibrancy they fairly leap off the pages. Kuramo’s wives are each worthy of a story all their own. In fact, I thought so much about them that I sent Ms. Rowan a fangirl letter. She answered me (SQUEEE!!!) and I found out that we will be seeing more of this fabulous world and it’s inhabitants in the future.
The ending was a roller coaster ride of suspense that had me up and down, twisting and turning till the climatic electrifying finale that will soften even the most jaded of hearts.
A newcomer to the fantasy genre, Cate Rowan’s is a writing force to be reckoned with and I look forward to reading more about her wonderful world of Kismet. I recommend this to everyone who is looking for a thrilling ride of suspense and romance in a world filled with magic.