Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Synopsis: Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman. Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask. (from the back of the book)
Review: I purchased this book because it's the author's agent is one I hope to someday have. I make a point to read the agent's work so that I know what she represented. My thoughts on this work are jumbled but I'll try to hash them out.
The good: The mystery portion was well-done with a twisty plot, hidden clues and an excellent finish. She used classic story points:-A little Beauty and the Beast, a little Phantom of the Opera etc. Her characters had depth, flaws, roundness and dimensions.
The bad: Her world-building was mediocre - the paranormal elements didn't always mesh. They seemed disjointed and contrived at times. She lacked humor. A few quips, but nothing laugh out loud. The ugly: The nearly pornographic sex scenes. Most romances have sex scenes, but they are given a few words compared to the relationship development between the characters. This was opposite. Most the main characters interaction was sex, sex, and more sex - so when they finally said "I love you" I was confused. I was never convinced of they had true love. She could take a example for Georgette Heyer (who never had a sex scene at all) or Linnea Sinclair (were the sex is important but sparse) - in those works, it was the way the author conveyed the deep love between the characters that made the book memorable. Callihan seemed unable to do that so just had them screw each other all the time to make up for it.
Now that I've said all that, I will admit after finishing this, I purchase the next two.They're on sale and Callihan has a clear talent for mysteries that drag you in.

Prude Note: Several sex scenes, all can be skipped but one, as it's important to the story. However, this is not a good bood for those who are uncomfortable with graphic sex scenes.
Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-13-2013
Pages: 400

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