Monday, 16 August 2010

Review – Elven Lords series Bk1: The Fire Lord’s Lover © Kathryne Kennedy

The Fire Lord's Lover (Elven Lords series Bk1)

Author: Kathryne Kennedy

Publisher: Source books

Genre: Fantasy

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Fighting for control of a kingdom that is split into seven domains, Elven warlords use their human slaves to breed an endless supply of soldiers for their armies. Dominic Raikes, the half-blood son of the Elven Lord himself is one such warrior.

Betrothed to Lady Cassandra, who has been raised in a convent to keep her pure, he little suspects that she's been secretly trained as an assassin to murder his father…and him.

Dominic and Cassandra soon discover that each one is not what they seem, but the price of trust may be their very lives, and the destruction of the magical realm each is desperately trying to save…

The people lining the streets of London cheered while General Dominic Raikes rode to his doom. Not that they had any idea what awaited him at Firehame palace, and if they did, he doubted they would care. He resembled the elven lord too much for that. Yet he had won the final battle and they hailed him as their champion despite his elven white hair and pointed ears.

Young women threw flowers from upper-story windows, the petals flickering through the air like snow and coating the dusty streets with color. Gray skies covered the sun and in some places the buildings nearly met above the streets, further shadowing the rider’s passage with gloom. The glass-fronted shops had been locked up as their owners joined the throng in the streets: painted harlots, street urchins, costermongers, servants, and the occasional prosperous Cit, distinguishable by his white wig. The fishy smell of the Thames overlay the stench of the streets as his troops approached Westminster Bridge.

Over the murky waters the flaming turrets of Firehame palace beckoned Dominic onward.

He shook back his war braids and straightened his spine and glanced back at his men. They had cleaned their red woolen coats as best they could, and lacking wigs, had powdered their hair to resemble the elven silver white. They had polished their boots and buttons, brushed their cocked hats. Despite their stern faces, Dominic could see the glitter of pride in their eyes and nodded his approval at them. They returned his gesture with wary respect.

Dominic turned and sighed. They were brave, good men, every one. Some he owed his victory and life to. He would like to oversee their promotions himself but it would be too dangerous. He didn’t know the personal life of a single man, nor did they know of his. Dominic had grown used to his solitary existence, yet sometimes he regretted the necessity of it.

© Kathryne Kennedy

My thoughts

I am a huge fantasy fan and as soon as I saw the cover of this book – I was hooked, literally. The blurb further confirm that that this is a book I really wanted to read and then the last reason is the plotline reads like something from one of my favourite anime book/show – so I was half sold before I even started the book...

The plot is really simply all things considered, A little more than a handful of magical  Elven Lords have taken over England in this world that Ms. Kennedy has created  - not only have they brought their own brand of glamour to the city but they have intertwined their very being into the populace of the time and as such children and their parents and the very Lords own offspring are sometimes gifted with more than just the average amount of magic.

The times are lavish and ostentatious for the have’s and the hangers on of the Elven Lord court but for the average peasant it is a harsh time and as such every child born to them is scrutinise for a little glimmer of the magic that will get them out of the poverty that riddles the near environs of the dwellings of the Lords.

Things are not right in the land however and something has to be done. Not right as in too much power has gone to the head of these Lords and something nasty is happening within the courts that no one can rightly put their finger on or even want to acknowledge if truth be told.

As is human nature a band of people are willing to sacrifice their all and themselves to take down the powers that be. They have been trying for years and for years they have not succeeded, now one young  lady has been trained, she has been patient and she is now in the perfect position to get close not only to the inner workings of the court but the very lord himself and her name is Cassandra.

Dominic Raikes the son of the Elven Lord himself is Cassandra‘s pathway into the court, through the holy union of marriage. Being sheltered from birth Dominic is more then Cassandra ever even imagined and before long passion burns between them to the point where lust rules their nights and their days. With their guards down around each other, secrets are found out and a pack is form to help each other and the country in turn – to kill the Elven lord, Dominic’s father.

What I like.

The characters – They were a full pack. Kings, Lords, Lovers, Champions and Assassins and people willing to lay low and take that one chance when it comes about. With each person introduced, Kennedy build them up and before long I was literally invested in each character - even old “Mr nasty boots” got his page time as well.

I really love a well crafted nasty and the bad guy in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER was well presented. He has a mean streak a mile wide and he treaded as he meant to go and no evil was beyond him. Loved him…

The world: For a fantasy novel I don't ask for much, but definately one of the deal breaker is the world building. I love Kennedy’s world, I loved the fact that she left enough tangible stuff mixed into her imaginary stuff for me to hold onto. Her world is rich, colourful and ultimately a facade - as beneath all that lovely shimmering colour is something unspeakable and that is where Kennedy's world actually begins…

The plotline.  It has legs, it really does. I love info dump and I was a bit surprised that Kennedy kept the first book as contained as she did. I got enough about the Lord’s and how they ended up in the position that they are in without the author tossing out bulky info to get that info out.  Ultimately I knew more about the characters in this book than the world itself – for the second book I am hoping for a bit of build up on the surrounding and how the other Lords fit into the “big picture”.

I thought Ms. Kennedy got the balance between romance and plot twist and turn just right. Romance lover will love Dominic and Cassandra up and down moments of trying to make their relationship work, while mystery readers like myself will certainly appreciate the twist and turns and the multiply plotline that are running through THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER.

With fantasy it’s nice to have something different when it comes to the magic, as that is what may determine if someone lives or die. I expected magic and I was not  disappointed with Kennedys brand. It  was awesome…  

THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER has a rich historical feel to it, alot of the things you would see in a historical is there. The fact that Kennedy’s world is overlaid on top of London probably played into this – but the elaborate court setting, the desperation of so many living so close to the riches of so few and the church at the heart of alot of the sneakiness certainly gave me that impression..

Niggles

I know this might be petty, but the cover changed somewhere between ARC and release and I am so not liking it. It’s in essence the same cover but the new cover shows Dominic face and I hate that… The first cover has that little bit of mystic to it..

Bottom Line

I love THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, Ms. Kennedy is onto a winner. With characters that played and played hard to win not only the love of a county but the love of each other all while embroiled in a world that is not yet free to be all it can be – it was a ride. I am looking forward to the next adventure Ms. Kennedy takes me on.. 

 

Other thoughts…

The prose of Kathryne Kennedy speaks to me as I envision her world in my mind’s eye. The romance was something I reveled in, it was both charming, sweeping-of-your-feet romantic and toe-curling sensuous ©

See Leontine review HERE

I’m skimming the surface here on this book. So much happens, and Ms. Kennedy’s writing is as magical as her story, that you won’t put it down once you begin reading. The characters draw you in immediately; you root for them to end the tyranny and to find their hearts along the way. And the magic. Well, it’s just…..magic. ©

See Sandy M’s review HERE

The characters in The Fire Lord’s Lover were pretty awesome. Dominic, in spite of his prettiness, was quite gruff and stoic. I loved that he was not the typical “sweep off of feet” type of hero ©

See Grace review HERE

12 Speak To Me:

Vegetarian Cannibal on 16 August 2010 at 23:10 said...

Looks intriguing! I'm a fantasy buff too. :D

Chris on 16 August 2010 at 23:11 said...

It is a striking cover that you've posted.

And is A Red-Tainted Silence up next? I just finished that one. Powerful stuff.

VampFanGirl on 16 August 2010 at 23:23 said...

Great review!

I won this book and I can't wait to read it.

I noticed the cover change too but I'm still lovin' it.

:) VFG

Erotic Horizon on 17 August 2010 at 01:00 said...

@VC

Good evening...

This one was really good, Love the magic stuff and I was left with a nice feeling going into the follow up books...

:)

Erotic Horizon on 17 August 2010 at 01:01 said...

@Chris..

I agree, that covers is just WOW....

I literally just started that Gray book - I am hoping I will like it just as everybody seems to do...

:)

Erotic Horizon on 17 August 2010 at 01:02 said...

@VFG...

The world building will suck you in...

I look forward to hearing what you think of it....

:)

Amy C on 17 August 2010 at 02:41 said...

I was hooked on Kathryne Kennedy's books when I read her first one in her Merlin series, Enchanting the Lady. I've really enjoyed everything by her so far. I have this one and am I think I will read it really soon, or as soon as my lack of reading allows :). Perhaps before the end of the year?

firepages on 17 August 2010 at 03:56 said...

Oh this looks amazing! I don't mind a simple plot as long as the characters are life-like and three dimensional, which seems the case in this title. The intrigue is luring me to pick this up! Thanks for the great review E.H!

Blodeuedd on 17 August 2010 at 13:51 said...

I am with you on the cover, the ARC was cool, now he just looks so so..nice? Not at all the kind of scary warrior he is.

loved the world

Erotic Horizon on 21 August 2010 at 11:46 said...

@Amy..

I didn't read her first set of books - but after this one I am very keen to to try them..

You will get back on the reading horse soon- just you being around is enough for now...

:)

Erotic Horizon on 21 August 2010 at 11:47 said...

@Blodeuedd

now he just looks so so..nice? Not at all the kind of scary

nuff said!!

:)

Erotic Horizon on 21 August 2010 at 11:49 said...

@Zee..

If you are looking for a story that does just what it says on the tin - entertain, you will love this one..

The characters were really fabulous...

:)