There is a tale to accompany this story because I don’t think believe I’d have ever picked it up willingly if I’d have seen it. One day I may have read it, but I couldn’t say definitively that I would. Anyway… the story. I was wandering around my library browsing for books to see if they had anything interesting in, then my librarian came up to me and asked if I read paranormal-romance. I nodded, and she scurried off and brought back this book. She shoved it into my hand and told me it was one of her favourite books. I nodded again and took it to the desk to take it out.
So I’m not really sure what I expected from this book. It turned out to be more fantasy than paranormal-romance, but that didn’t change a thing for me because it was still a very enjoyable read.
This book took a while to get into and I wouldn’t class it as a short read at over 400 pages long, it was quite a hefty paperback to carry around. Then it took around 100 pages to get into and I really had to focus on reading this book because there was lots of complex ideas and multiple plots threading through the story. This made for an intriguing read and I found myself being constantly buffered around the world into a new place. Bishop didn’t like to keep things dull and dismal. However it did take me at least a week to get through the first one hundred pages. I suggest you don’t allow that to deter you because once past those first hundred pages I began to eat up the novel.
For me, I’d probably lay blame to finding the first one hundred pages slightly drab because it was background building and setting the scene very much. We didn’t witness much action, but more of an introduction to the characters and their life. I found this important to the story because with the idea of multiple landscapes to make up Ephemera and the many leading characters it worked to make the later chapters easier to understand. However at times I found it to be a slightly information overload that could lead to confusion. Even when I’d finished the book, I found aspects of the novel extremely confusing and secrets not really unravelled. I shall have to hope that in the sequel to this two part series everything is explained.
The characters were certainly interesting. Sebastian was a tormented man and the protagonist of the tale who grew into a strong character with a heart of gold, in my opinion. We witnessed a journey for his character and this held strongly throughout the novel. This certainly added strength to Bishop’s story. He’s an incubus with morals and certainly not quite what I was expecting. Then we meet the love interest Lyenna, who he calls his “little rabbit” and I found that irresistibly cute. I think in many novels we lay names to women as “babe”, “baby”, “sweetheart” they all seem to follow the same thread of thought, but Bishop fit the name to the character. This also brought a smile to my face every time I read it. Not only did we witness Sebastian’s journey, but Lyenna developed from rather a push-over character into a strong, independent and wilful character. I like to see a strong women and I think a journey is incredibly important, so this was great to witness.
Besides our two ‘lovers’ we witness family with Nadia, Lee, Belladonna and Teaser. Then we have the background characters to those of the Wizards and the men of the Den of Iniquity. I felt like Bishop had really put a lot of work into creating her characters and they are defining aspects of the novel.
The world… what can I say? It’s just a fabulous idea. The building of different landscapes particularly the School of landscapes, the wizards domain and the Den of Iniquity, along with all the other little landscapes. The Den of Iniquity is a fabulous place and I really felt the essence of it being built up into the novel and that I could visualise the place. This was certainly important and I felt like Bishop didn’t neglect her world building at all. For those of you that like particularly strong visual worlds and characters, Bishop has got to be an author for you.
I was pleasantly surprised by the romance, if not a tad disappointed too. The front cover declared this a “erotic romance” but I don’t think it really fits into that category for me. This certainly isn’t a young-adult novel, but we didn’t go into depth of their intimate relations. However, I don’t think we really lost anything because of that, I just felt that with Sebastian as an incubus, I kind of expected it. Otherwise there was no insta-love, overdone soppiness to the romance, it all fit perfectly into place.
Overall, I found this an enjoyable read, but it took a little too long for me to get into it and at times it was a tad confusing. I’d recommend this to fantasy and romance lovers alike because it’s certainly a different book to what I usually read.
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