Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lord of the Desert by Nina Bruhns

Lord of the Desert by Nina Bruhns
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal
Length: Full Length (282 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

As the son of a British earl, Lord Rhys had dearly loved his life of action and indulgence as a rogue, a rake, a gambler and a womanizer. But now he loves his life as an immortal even more. Rhys's job is to supply his master—a five-thousand-year-old demigod— with all his heart's desires.

Especially women.

When historian Gillian Haliday ventures to Rhys's grave to settle a dispute for his descendants, she is enchanted by this man with stallion-like prowess. She doesn't argue when he vows to keep her for himself. But his master has other plans. Plans that will spell Gillian's doom and—when he unwittingly falls in love with her— the end of Lord Rhys's own earthly existence….

Get ready for myth and legend to come alive to show a side of Egypt only the brave or foolish will ever see.

Lord of the Desert is the first book in a trilogy which means this book has the daunting task of introducing the main characters of this book as well as hinting at the players in the future stories. On top of that the author had to world build. That’s a lot of work to do and Ms. Bruhns did a pretty good job of it.

Gillian is one of three sisters and the one whom this book is about. She’s supposedly got the safest career of the three but I think she has a craving for excitement in her life. She looks forward to the times when all three get together and they always do something interesting. This time the word ‘interesting’ is tame in comparison to the journey Gillian is about to take. I like that there was foreshadowing throughout without sounding hokey or too over the top. It was just enough to flavor the story and tease a reader as to its possible meaning.

Gillian runs the gamut of emotions during this tale and her reactions are all over the board. The question I had at a few points in the story is: which were her real reactions and which ones were orchestrated? Through a careful use of dialogue, the author lets the reader know the truth. I was happy with the revelation and it’s in line with it being a romance book. I liked her dedication to her family and I’m pretty sure it was the author’s intent to use this also as a hint of what the future may bring. The element of family ends up being a carrot that is used against Gillian which makes her both strong and weak at the same time. Her reaction to the truth of the hero is in line with how I’d imagine a person would react, up to a point. Of course, this is fiction AND fantasy so she had to be written in such a way to get the job done.

If it were me, I’d have been a basket case, if he allowed me to be – that part is sort of creepy. I did enjoy the fact that the guys underestimated Gillian and she used that perception of females being less intelligent to outsmart them. It got her in trouble but it helped get her man too.

Her man ends up being none other than a man who’s been dead for over a century, Lord Rhys. Obviously he’s not dead but he’s practically so as for as the rest of the world is concerned. He made a choice many years ago and he’s been pretty cool with it all. He’s found a unique place in life and he feels confident, accepted and enjoys the trust of a very powerful man. He needs nothing or no one and he’s fine. Until he meets Gillian. Then this complacent man, this confident and assured personality, starts making mistakes, getting emotional and taking chances – all because of a woman. Those are my favorite types of romantic conflicts. He’s a guy trying to do the right thing but wants to do the wrong thing because the wrong thing feels so good that the right thing has to be wrong. And as a reader of romance I knew he was right and the fun began. He tries to be tricky, he tries to be far thinking but one of the secondary characters throws a monkey wrench into his plans at every turn. The poor guy wasn’t going to have any blood left in his hands from clenching them into fists so much. I liked Rhys’ inner goodness and moral compass. It’s a bit tarnished and bent but he still does the right thing even though it pains him to do so. He had an interesting inner conflict.

Secondary characters were important because I truly believe that every single person I was introduced to in this book is going to have a place on stage during this trilogy. It remains to be seen who does what but in this book, friendships are tested and manipulated. It adds to the conflict.

As for the physical side of Rhys and Gillian’s relationship, it had great sexual tension and buildup. It’s the delivery that had me taking off points from the overall rating. It wasn’t ‘purple prose’ per se, but some of the descriptions had it sounding like body parts came alive and did things themselves separate from the characters. Instead of being completely hot and sexual, I sort of giggled. It wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t subtle either. Other than that, their relationship and their growing love and need for each other worked just fine. I enjoyed it.

Lord of the Desert is an imaginative and exciting foray into fantasy set in exotic Egypt. I enjoyed the teases and hints about some of the secondary characters, making me doubt as to their complete badness. I think they can be redeemed and I think they need love just as much as the hero and heroine do in this tale. Of course the other characters weren’t on their best behavior during this book which is what makes this one work so well. I’d absolutely recommend this book for readers looking for a different type of paranormal romance. Lord of the Desert is completely unique and unusual, refreshing and easy to read. It’s a good summer read.