Form: pdf e-book
Genre: paranormal romance, fantasy
Target audience: adults
It is a first person narration of Chiarin or Rin, a half-elf girl living in a world where cross-breeds are discriminated against, shunned and persecuted for what they are. She has a twin sister, Shaniel or Shani who is a sorceress. Magic is a rare gift but also a dangerous one, because coveted by elven aristocracy; once you get into their service they’ll never set you free. That’s why both girls have to hide and lead a hand-to-mouth existence.
One night Rin, a professional cutpurse, is robbed by another half-elf, a very handsome man called Zashter who has…an identical twin brother, Mior, and Mior happens to be…another sorcerer. Rin first avenges herself by causing the arrest of those two but soon her sister and her conscience make her regret that move so she breaks into the prison and set Zash and Mior free.
After carrying out her ambitious plan, all of a sudden, she offers to accompany those two complete strangers wherever they are going. Zash reluctantly agrees, apparently because he has a very dangerous and important mission to fulfill – obtaining four powerful artifacts, one for every natural element, as required by his shadowy boss. He is a master thief, though; with the support of his brother’s magic he can manage without anybody’s help even the most ambitious endeavours. Being also very handsome, he can have a new lover in every town he visits. What does he really need both sisters for?
It is the first part of a paranormal romance series and I am not going to criticize it for that – it would be as stupid as complaining that lemons are yellow and sour. If you don’t feel like reading about pointy-eared hotties making out on every possible occasion don’t even look at the book, as simple as that. Still I am going to carp a bit because in my humble opinion it could have been a lot better.
I liked the idea – half-elves who live in a hostile world where they have only two possible career choices: either become slaves or criminals, sometimes both, but never independent adults with a normal life. Our characters chose what they chose and never looked back. Fine. Just why they had to be two pairs of identical twins with identical skills is beyond me. A bit of variety is always a nice thing but unfortunately variety is not this novel’s forte.
Then you have the world building which is so sketchy that almost borders a catastrophe. Rin more often than not focuses on her romantic feelings, rarely sparing some time for the surroundings or politics or anything at all. The easy way Zash agrees to take both sisters under his protection and provide some tutelage is fishy from the very start; however dear Rin remains in the dark for most of the novel, never even daring to confront her lover or ask him the simplest and most natural questions. She is so busy, kissing, stealing, dreaming and kissing again. It would be such a nice change to have an interesting, clever heroine who actually knows how to make use of those two gifts in practice, especially when confronted with a handsome stranger.
I don’t want to be overly cruel and dwell too long on obvious plot flaws: like the fact that a certain monastery, full of stupid, kinky monks and some browbeaten sex slaves, contains a well which water heals every disease and can bring you back to life; seriously, the author wants me to believe nobody has ever considered taking it over and enjoying an everlasting and extremely profitable trade, not to mention an instantaneous and full recovery? Really, nobody was interested enough to gather an army of professional soldiers and punish those hideous monks for their depravity, keeping in mind that the reward might be worth more than a kingdom plus you would get those delicious women to play with? Nobody? How very improbable…
Let me finish my musings in a positive way – I appreciate the fact that the book ended the way it did, without any of those ugly cliffhangers. Funnily enough it made me curious about the second part – curious enough to buy it when it is available and the mood strikes again.