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So we all know that Kristen Ashley can write sensational romance stories. The question is – can she write paranormal romance? I am happy to report that the answer to that question is a resounding HELL YEAH!!!
6 huge starts!
I FREAKING LOVE THIS BOOK!! Seriously, it was insta-love from chapter 1, and I was hooked the whole way through. It’s quite long, but at no point did it drag, or did I skip over anything – if anything, it’s the opposite!! I went back to read bits of it a second time so I could squee all over again. The story is mainly told from the point of view of the heroine, Leah, but we also get some chapters from Lucien’s point of view, which I loved because he’s a complex character, and it was great to be able to get into his head.
Anyway, on with the gushing…
Leah is an amazing heroine and a lot of fun. She wants nothing to do with the vampire world, but is drawn into it without a choice as part of her family heritage to be a Concubine (essentially, a blood source for vampires). She is ‘selected’ by Lucien to belong to him alone, and from the first meeting she fights him with everything she has. She is strong, opinionated and stubborn, and at 40 years old, is ridiculously juvenile. But I found the fact that she behaves like a petulant teenager at times endearing. And it made her tousles with Lucien that much funnier.
“Mine, he declared.
Never, she returned.
His mouth moved to her ear and he murmured, “We’ll see.”
Lucien is INCREDIBLE! Yes, he’s an entitled, controlling, possessive, arrogant ass – but hey, he’s a Vampire, and these things go with the territory. He has been watching Leah for 20 years, waiting for his chance to claim her as his own, and when the opportunity finally arises, he doesn’t mess around. Although he is secretive about his past, and about some aspects of vampire culture (there are reasons for this, which we find out later in the story), he is honest with Leah in educating her about his world and her role in it, and in telling her straight out what he wants, and making no apologies for it.
“I’ve been waiting to have you since I knew you existed. But I’ve been waiting for someone like you for five fucking centuries”
I can appreciate that at first many readers may think that Lucien is a complete jerk for the things he says and the way he behaves towards Leah, but as you come to understand him, his past and the world he comes from, you can appreciate why he is the way he is. As for me… I loved him from the start, and I’m adding him to ‘AJ’s Vampire Hall of Fame’ along with Bones, Vlad and the majority of the BDB crew.
I love the paranormal world that has been created. It’s actually not so much a ‘world’, because the vampires very much exist in and interact with the human world (they eat food, no problems with sunshine, they go shopping , etc.), it’s more the culture and traditions that play a big part. The back story was really interesting, especially how it all tied in to events taking place in the book. There’s also a great cast of supporting characters. But it’s the relationship between Lucien and Leah that is the absolute focus of the story.
As with any Kristen Ashley book, there is the usual back-and-forth between Lucien and Leah, as well as INSANE sexual tension and some wicked banter as Lucien tries to ‘Tame’ her (it’s not as bad as it sounds), and Leah comes to accept him for what he is. Actually, Leah coming to understand Lucien and his nature, and the fact that this is the world she now lived in reminded me of Bones’ epic “I am a Master Bloody Vampire” smackdown speech to Cat in the Night Huntress series (she totally deserved that speech by the way…). I loved watching her come to her realisation, and then start to open up to him.
“You live your day-to-day life hiding the essence of who you are; you don’t want to let someone into that life who won’t accept you for that same thing.”
And when she accepts him and he lets himself go with her, they finally come together… and HOT DAMN!! There is so much hotness and many swoon-worthy moments (who knew that that arrogant ass from the beginning of the book could pour on the romance!). In fact, the further the book went on, the more I swooned. I was flat out on the floor by the end of it!
“I’m in love with you, sweetheart.”
“…You love me, I love you, we’re connected, what we have is beautiful and that’s all it’ll ever be. For eternity. Until the end of days. Until the sun falls from the sky, all you and I will share is beauty.”
“I love you, Leah. I’ve loved you for twenty years and I’ll love you for eternity.”
And it goes on like this!!!
The best news is, this is only book 1 in the ‘Three’ trilogy, and the ending of this book sets up the next two books brilliantly, so there is more awesomeness to come (although we do have to wait until later in the year for the next instalment).
I recommend this book to any PNR fan. The fact that it is Kristen Ashley writing it just makes it so much better!
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Update 29/06 – 4 days and 3 books later and I still cannot stop thinking about this book, have upgraded from 5 to 6 stars. Yes I know there’s no ‘real’ 6 stars, but I award the extra star to books that are beyond awesome. And this totally is!
The Three Series
For more KA awesomeness, check out our Kristen Ashley Author Spotlight