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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Firelight

Title: Firelight
Author: Kristen Callihan
Page Count: 610 KB Kindle format, 400 pages
Publisher: Forever
Genre: historical paranormal romance, first in a series
Copy for review was purchased by me

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 . . . 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.

Have you ever read a book that you wish you could read for the first time all over again?   That totally sums up the experience of reading Firelight.  As a debut book it's a fantastic addition to the world of paranormal romance; add in the elements of historical romance and suspense and you get a creation that's super fun to read and enjoy.

I wasn't even aware of this book until I read a bunch of really excellent reviews from blogs that I follow- yay for book bloggers! It was from those reviews collectively that I learned that Firelight is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast- double yay!  The familiar elements of the story are certainly there, and the details are reworked in a way that renders the story endearing and fresh.

Miranda Ellis is a kick-ass lady.  She's had to deal with an epic amount of crap in her life so far and it doesn't look like the storm is letting up any time soon.  Her dad is a douche, and a destitute one at that; when his nemesis, Lord Benjamin Archer, says that he wants to marry her, she figures that the devil you don't know might be the better bet this time around.

Archer would certainly agree with the description of him as a devil; it seems that he's cursed, and the curse is only getting worse.  His whole life has been dedicated to trying to find a way to reverse the curse until now; he never planned on honestly falling head over heels in love with Miranda, and doesn't really expect her to ever love him back or even like him.

She does, though! And therein lies the gem of this story- the blossoming love between these two in the face of adversity from all sides.  Archer is being blamed for a series of grisly murders among his circle of former friends and acquaintances and all of society thinks he's a beast in every sense; Miranda doesn't believe him to be responsible for the murders and has every vested interest in finding out who is.  As she's in possession of her own secrets, she understands wanting to just be left alone- she and Archer are kindred spirits in a variety of ways.

The story cooks along at a good pace, and there's plenty of drama and a sense of the macabre; when Archer and Miranda finally realize that they really and truly are in love, it's a wash of brightness and hope against what seem to be long odds.  I also was really intrigued by the explanation of why and how Archer came to be cursed, and those elements are not ones that I recall seeing in any other paranormal book or series.

The next book, Moonglow, is due out in August, and I am beyond excited.  This is one series that is going on the automatic pre-order list, right quick.

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