Published by Twilight Times Books on Jul 4, 2013
Genres: Adult, High Fantasy
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Lusielle's bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn't commit. She's on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames.
Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark.
Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.
I wasn’t expecting much when I got this book. The cover looked a little like a corny romance novel, but I was going on vacation and I figured why not try it.
By the second page I knew I was going to love this book.
The action gets going right away and once it starts it really doesn’t drag. It was one of those stories where you just had to see how it was all going to work out, or if it was going to work out, even if it meant reading into the early hours of the morning. The writing itself is very strong and I flew through this book in just a few days.
The story centers around two main characters, Lusielle and Brennus, both of whom are interesting in their own right. They’re great together, but when the story goes off and follows each of them separately it’s still compelling.
Lusielle is very easy to like as a heroine. She’s strong and capable, and it was really great to see how well her abilities as remedy mixer got worked into the plot. She had to use her skills a lot in the book, and it really made me believe she was a smart, resourceful woman.
Brennus was also a really well developed, much more than just a handsome male lead. Reading the book I got a sense of his moral code and what motivated him. There was also just enough backstory about him, told through his memories and flashbacks, that I understood his family and brothers and how they had influenced Brennus. It was great because he felt real, and it made the stakes feel a lot higher because I cared about what happened to him.
There’s a bunch of good minor characters too, both allies and villains. Brennus’ group of advisers were very entertaining, and so were a lot of Lusielle’s friends. Some of them got more page time than others, but they were all memorable and added a lot of depth to the story.
The villains in the book are amazing. They are so horrible, so cringe worthy, I wanted to reach into the book and throttle them myself.
The magical elements in the plot are really interesting and different. The world in the book feels part European and part Roman, and I really liked the traditions and gods the author came up with.
Overall I loved this book. Four stars.