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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Drink of Me

Drink of MeTitle: Drink of Me
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Page Count: 354 pages
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Reule is the Prime of the Sange people, the leader of his Pack of warriors, and the defender of his territory against brutal climate changes and freaky empathic enemies. The last thing he ever wanted to do was settle down and commit to one person, but when he finds a mysterious woman, beaten and dying, in a attic while trying to rescue a Packmate, he sets a whole boodle of events in motion, and even he wasn't prepared for the outcome.

I remember seeing this book come up as a related search result on Amazon awhile ago and for the longest time, I couldn't find out anything else about it (the same thing that's going on with this author's next release, Seduce me in Dreams, actually- there's a preorder page and nothing else.)  This is a real shame, because Drink of Me seems to have flown pretty much under the radar as a result (despite getting to #19 on the NY Times bestseller list- woohoo!)  I'm happy to do my part here to get the word out about this book, though, as it's excellent, fun, detailed, and romantic, with a heroine that makes me want to stand up and shout hooray.

Drink of Me is the story of the Sange people and their leader, Reule.  Reule has led his people back from the brink of extinction to settle in the Jeth valley, a cold and snowy contrast to the sunny tropical paradise they were all used to.  The Sange are reviled by other tribes and communities because of the fact that they drink blood during sex or during times of extreme physical stress, but closer examination reveals that they have a sophisticated culture and want to take a place among the other peoples for trade and other forms of cultural advancement.  There has never been a day when Reule, as Prime, did not put the needs of his people ahead of his own, so when he's out with his Pack trying to find a fellow Packmate who's been captured by the enemy, he's floored to discover another victim, a mysterious woman with amnesia who's knocking on death's door herself.

The woman is nameless for the first couple of scenes in which she appears; she has no memory of her past, how she came to be in such dire straits or anything else.  She literally starts building a new life for herself from the moment she regains consciousness, and that includes taking on a new name: Mystique.  The chemistry between Mystique and Reule is instantaneous and explosive; the fact that Mystique is an outsider is definitely cause for concern, especially among the Pack, who've never seen Reule act like this about anyone.

Mystique is no weakling or wilting blossom, though, and she has some serious skills that quickly make her a valued ally for the Pack.  When she saves the wounded warrior Chayne from the brink of death at the hands of a crooked doctor, she cements her place among the Pack and begins to build a reputation as a gifted healer.

Reule doesn't take long to figure out that Mystique is the queen he'd always hoped for but never really thought he'd find, and even in the face of tragedy, he works to cement Mystique's place in his life.  I really enjoyed reading about how they grew as a couple and became allies against pretty much overwhelming odds, and Reule's devotion in the face of finally uncovering the truth about her past was nice as well, and that devotion ends up paying off in spades for the Sange people.

Probably my favorite element of this story, though, was the interesting world in which it was set.  There was a neat fusing of modern elements (the Sange keep has electricity, for example) with the feeling of a fantasy type setting (castles and warriors and all that jazz.)  I was happy reading about the Sange trade routes and about their culture; the author created a world with plenty of juicy details for me as a reader to gobble up, but not so many that the pace of the story bogged down.

Although this book is presented as a stand alone book, the opportunity is definitely there for future stories if the author feels so inclined.  As much as I would love more books set in this world, I think it's cool that this book was intended as a one shot deal, something you don't see a lot of in the book world.  Either way, this is an excellent book with a sweet happily ever after, a fun setting, and characters that grabbed my interest on the first page and didn't let go until the end.  This is one for the keeper shelf, folks!

Overall Grade: A

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