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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy

The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: Full Length (378 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

If his powers are discovered, his father will destroy him…

In a magical land ruled by ruthless Elven lords, the Fire Lord’s son Dominic Raikes plays a deadly game to conceal his growing might from his malevolent father—until his arranged bride awakens in him passions he thought he had buried forever…

Unless his fiancée kills him first…

Lady Cassandra has been raised in outward purity and innocence, while secretly being trained as an assassin. Her mission is to bring down the Elven Lord and his champion son. But when she gets to court she discovers that nothing is what it seems, least of all the man she married…

Then Dominic and Cassandra together uncover an unspeakable evil, one that threatens the destruction of the magical realm they would give their souls to save…

Ever wonder what it would be like if elves ruled England and the King was nothing but a chess piece for the elves to wage war over for fun? Such is the unique and amazing new Regency world from the talented Ms. Kennedy. She’s taken historical romance and turned it on its ear.

Lady Cassandra is a breath of fresh air. I adored her and the way her character was written. Yes she’s been raised in a convent but she’s not a skittish miss, nor a female of weak constitution who swoons with any type of diversity or shock to her sensibilities. She’s courageous, inquisitive, pragmatic and has such a sense of rightness about her, I found her perfect. She’s passive aggressive but not in a bad way. Instead of taking the route of a screaming harpy, she gently and consistently does things her own way; like water over a rock, soon it smoothes over and becomes polished. That’s what she does to the hero, Dominic. She consistently chooses actions that are the very antithesis of what he’s used to. He doesn’t stand a chance.

Dominic’s character is one of pain. Even though Lady Cassandra doesn’t understand why he does what he does when he does, readers will. And it’s torture to read. So often we read stories of how children, starved for love from a parent, will do things, anything, to earn a crumb of their attention or a kind word. All they want is validation that they matter to those that intrinsically should love them because they are their blood. Dominic’s father is a blood thirsty, power monger who wouldn’t give Tinkerbell the time of day except to pull her wings off. Does the apple fall far from the tree? Yes. So far in fact, Dominic is more a prickly pear. He’s got all those spines to protect him but inside, he’s as sweet as can be. I couldn’t help but want him to be happy but the road to his happiness is fraught with peril.

The peril comes from pleasing and surviving his own father’s whims and the political games he must navigate. He has dubious help from a dragon who will impart a word here and there which frustrated both Dominic and me. In the end, the dragon did provide valuable clues which were quite interesting.

Secondary characters were few but those that were there provided maximum impact. They assisted in plot advancement and understanding of the main characters without detracting from either. It kept the story very relatable.

When Lady Cassandra and Dominic do get together in the married way, it was beautiful, passionate and romantic. There are bumps along the way but each garnered valuable insight into each other which proved crucial at the big climax.

The Fire Lord’s Lover is a stellar example of making historical romance fresh, exciting and special. I had a blast reading this book from cover to cover and it is absolutely going on my keeper shelf. The story is rich and vibrant, fast paced and engrossing. The romance that blossomed between Dominic and Cassandra is worthy of another re-read. I can’t wait to read more by this author. She’s amazing!