Rameau’s review archive: Firelight (Darkest London 01) by Kristen Callihan


Once the flames are ignited . . .

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.

They will burn for eternity . . .

A read headed women dressed in a black and red dress with a tight corset stands in front of a fire.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.

Firelight. Firelight. Now where have I heard that name before…


No, that wasn’t it.

There must be something about the title that compels me to connect it with film posters. Despite the bewitching cover attached to this book, this was closer to what I imagined.


I just wish I’d known how close to the target I hit with that one. (Not very close, but in the ballpark.)

It’s the usual paranormal set up in a historical backdrop. The poor girl, Miranda Ellis, has an inflammable secret and a rotten father. She does what she must in order to survive and to appease her misguided guilt. The man, Lord Benjamin Archer, is a rich lord with a disfigured face and a set of secrets of his own. He’s also in love for the first time in many, many years, maybe ever.

Thus starts the marriage of convenience. (I really love those.)

As Miranda and Archer get to know each other and start to trust their secrets to one another, there’s a murderer loose on the streets of London. Archer becomes the main suspect and the society turns its back on them even more decisively than before, but Miranda believes in his innocence. Can she save him? Can he protect her from the killer and from himself?

Such delicious questions, but I especially loved their answers.

Kristen Callihan delivers a story like one I can’t remember reading before. It’s the story I fell in love with and it’s the story I can’t speak about without absolutely spoiling it for others. So, I’m going to talk about the things I didn’t like and remind you that all these small(ish) technical faults only deducted one star from the highest rating possible.

Let’s just say that if the author or the editor had seen fit to remove all erotic or sex scenes, I would be parting from the fifth star. It wasn’t that they were technically bad (although, some of them were) and it wasn’t that they didn’t fit the plot (although, some of them didn’t) it was the absolute unsexiness of it all. Eating a pear isn’t sexy, it’s messy. There isn’t anything appealing in tongues that snake out or him saying: “Wet for me.” No, just no. I also appreciated the lack of words masculine and feminine until I couldn’t anymore. Erotica authors really need to stop using these shortcuts.

Also Callihan really needs to work on her foreshadowing skills on the smut department. The speed a scene went from a life and death match to a sexual encounter gave me whiplash. There was nothing smooth about it and I was wondering what’s wrong with these people. I do realise that it’s a legitimate reaction to celebrate survival by rusting the sheets, but I didn’t see it in the writing. I saw the characters change to fit what was expected from the format, and I didn’t like it.

Technically this isn’t the author’s fault, but several times I would read the beginning of the scene and the descriptions created such vivid mental images for me that the written conclusion of that scene ultimately fell flat. I felt like the writing didn’t live up to its promise and that several key scenes of this book would have worked better on film. This sometimes happens when author is a very visual writer.

Speaking of the visual descriptions, they could be a hindrance to the plot. Especially towards the end and the closer to the culmination of the plot, mentions of the curve of her hips and her graceful limbs and walking became more annoying than helpful. I admit I was like this for most of the book simply because I loved the story more than the titillating factor of it.

There were few world building quirks that I noted, but refused to let bother me, much. [Highlight to view spoiler: Like the fact that our resident fire starter had a keener sense of smell than the werewolf or the fact that said fire starter controlled her gift with her vagina.]

It’s also a shame that Miranda’s knife was forgotten. It made such a nice statement about her character and his in the beginning, that I would have liked to have seen it used more prominently.

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher through the publisher through NetGalley.

This entry was posted in ARC, book review, historical, paranormal, read in 2012, recommending and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Rameau’s review archive: Firelight (Darkest London 01) by Kristen Callihan

  1. blodeuedd says:

    *reads spoiler*
    wait, what?

  2. *reads spoiler*
    *does not believe her eyes*
    *reads the freaking spoiler again*

  3. rameau says:

    *cackles* Oh, yes. That happened.

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