The whole series is fairly good, but of all the books I’ve read so far in it, this is the one I enjoyed the most. It’s the most perfect blending I’ve ever seen of the fantasy and romance genres. I would love to be able to balance the two as well as she does.
The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The plot was as good as any fantasy novel*, though the focus was squarely on the couple throughout. The world Ms. Kennedy built enthralled me. Seriously, I love how she tied the Age of Enlightenment to the rule of her elves, and I loved how the plot naturally flowed from the way the world was built without taking away from that historical period. Her world-building also drove the actions of the hero and heroine, making their conflicts natural and frustrating in the best of ways.
There is no true stupidity in this novel.
Lady Cassandra could have been more clear in her motivations and a little better developed, but she’s definitely likable and reasonably intelligent. The only stupid mistake she makes in the course of story is an understandable one.
Dominic Raikes, on the other hand, is an amazing character. As a half-blood, he has to try to pass himself off as elven in order to exist as his father’s champion. It should be easy since he looks almost exactly like his elven father and he has a fair amount of magic in his control. But the amount of talent he has causes his father to constantly test him, and this has made him cold-hearted to all but his father’s dragon-steed, Ador, a creature his father can’t harm.
When the description says these two have to work together in order to survive, it’s not kidding.
I wish I could say more, but there were some lovely twists in the plot and I’d hate to ruin them. Not to mention the ending was perfect.
All my other quibbles are small. Now and then the dialogue became too obvious or too stilted. But those moments were rare. Overall, this is an excellent novel.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
(BTW, for those who want to know, this does have several very steamy sex scenes in it. The bedroom door is wide open, but this book avoids the extremely graphic language that’s become fashionable in the past few years, without resorting to euphemism. Plus, the scenes are not stupid, add to the plot, and are realistic enough that I think they’re well-written.)
*Sometimes the fantasy aspect in a fantasy romance is sorely neglected. Not so here.