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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

King of the Unblessed by Michelle M. Pillow

King of the Unblessed by Michelle M. Pillow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Full (208 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Book: 5 Books
Reviewed by Orchid

The choice is simple: go with him or die.

Realm Immortal, Book One

Merrick, dark elfin King of Valdis, had once been heir to all that was good—happiness and pleasure his domain. Now, trapped as the ruler of mischief, king of necessary evil, he stands on a precipice of choice. On one side, his estranged brother, now ruler of what should have been Merrick’s and, on the other, King Lucien of the Damned. Both would sway him. Damnation is winning.

Lady Juliana of Bellemare is from a human family, protected by the Blessed, coveted by the Damned. Betrothed to an old friend of her father’s, Juliana is resigned to living out her days close to her childhood home, longing for an adventure, never dreaming she’d get what she wished for. When her fiancĂ© is murdered and the children of Bellemare are stolen, Juliana is sent on a quest in a strange realm where appearances are deceiving.

Merrick brings more adventure and passion than any woman could want. Can she withstand the temptations of the Unblessed king? The spell she weaves over him is more than he can resist and, desperate to be the one to rule her, Merrick offers her a choice; either come with him until he tires of her…or die.
Once more into the Realm Immortal. This time with the King of the Unblessed and his goblins, trolls, dark fairies and berserkers.

King Merrick was once the king of the Blessed but circumstances have forced him to switch realms and now his brother Ean rules the Blessed. Merrick is fascinated by the mortal Lady Julianna of Bellemare and when he hears her wish for adventure he tricks her into coming to the immortal world. He does not care it is the night before her wedding, in fact he swears the ceremony will not take place.

Julianna tries to find the Black Palace to plead with the King of the Unblessed. She does not realize the king is Merrick. Her brothers are horrified by her disappearance and follow her into the immortal realm. They bring with them the sad news that her betrothed has been murdered.

Julianna is reunited with her brothers and they take refuge with the Faeries. Queen Tanya of the Faeries sends the lady of Bellemare to Merrick and Julianna must choose the path for her future. Her growing attraction for him is darkened by her conviction that he murdered her future husband.

In the background King Lucien of the Damned is twisting events to get his own way, while King Ean is trying to understand why his brother seems intent on going to war with him.

I have to admit I read the three books of Realm Immortal the wrong way round. King of the Unblessed is the first one in the series although I’ve read it last. This did not spoil the story for me at all. Ms Pillow has built a fantastic world and peopled it with characters from childhood stories but put an adult twist on them.

What are the Unblessed? The Blessed are obviously the excruciatingly good, while the Damned are the rotten to the core. The Unblessed are those creatures who create the necessary evil you must have to appreciate the good.

Merrick still reminds me of David Bowie in Labyrinth. It’s obvious from the beginning that he truly loves Julianna but will not tell her what she wants to hear. The Black Palace sheds its shadow over everything, causing misunderstandings which threaten to destroy the balance of power.

This book has it all. Betrayal, lust, love, evil, goodness and adventure. Once again Ms Pillow has written a novel that must be read. I hope she sees her way to writing more of this series. Although all the books are complete stories I could see the possibility for at least two more novels to be written about the Realm Immortal.