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Sunday, August 30, 2009
Review: Pleasure: The Shadowdwellers
Title: Pleasure: The Shadowdwellers
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Page Count: 330 pages
Publisher: Zebra Paranormal Romance
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Year of Publication: 2009
50 words or less: The third book in the Shadowdwellers series tells the story of Sagan, the kidnapped priest from the last installment, and Malaya and Guin, the Chancellor of the Shadowdweller society and her bodyguard, respectively. Evil Acadian is on the loose, drama unfolds, deals are struck, plans are made, politics are played.
Jacquelyn Frank is easily one of my favorite authors of paranormal romance. At this point I’ve read everything she’s had published to date and I’ve truly enjoyed all of her offerings so far.
For the most part, Pleasure was no exception. Each book in the Shadowdweller series, in addition to being a romance novel in every sense, clued the reader in to a certain aspect of Shadowdweller society; Ecstasy introduced us to their culture and their world, Rapture shared their religion and their spiritual beliefs, and now Pleasure worked to shed some light on the politics that governed this admittedly unstable world. Ms. Frank’s writing is lyrical without being boring, poetic without being trite, and I found the conversations between the characters to easily be my favorite part of the whole story.
That doesn’t mean that Pleasure is a perfect book, however. In both stories, there’s a definite undercurrent of feeling insecure and inferior, of being unworthy, and of ignoring one’s accomplishments in the face of imagined character flaws, and that meant that the train to Angstytown left on a fairly regular basis. Ultimately, those elements were used to make important things happen in the story, which is a definite good thing, because personally I can only read so much of that before I start to lose interest.
There also was, and you don’t catch me saying this too often, perhaps a little too much bedroom action in this particular book. I don’t have qualms about the quantity or frequency of sex scenes in books like some reviewers out there, but in this particular case I felt like sex scenes were what was going on while we were waiting for actual events that were important to the story line to get around to happening. This was more prevalent in Sagan’s story than in Guin and Malaya’s, but still.
In spite of all that, I read Pleasure in one sitting and wasn’t sorry I’d spent the money to buy the book. I’d recommend this series to anyone who was looking to explore paranormal romance but wasn’t sure where to start, and also to anyone who enjoys PNR but is kind of tired of the vampire/werewolf experience that’s so popular right now.
As a side note, it bears mentioning that although there are two stories in this volume, this isn’t a story anthology; rather, Pleasure reads more like a play, with Act I featuring Sagan and Act II featuring Guin and Malaya. The stories happen concurrently, but are not separate from each other.
If you’re interested in reading Pleasure, I highly recommend starting with the beginning of the series, which starts in Ecstasy. I really don’t think the series will make much sense or be much fun if you start with the third installment. The end of Pleasure made it seem like future installments were a possibility; I’d definitely read them if they did happen.
Overall Grade: A-