Series: The Hellraisers #3
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Zebra on April 2, 2013
Reviewed by: Kate
Several sex scenes
DEMONS OF THE PAST
Abraham Stirling, Lord Rothwell, was a fighter once, a soldier in the Colonies. But Bram returned to London with more nightmares than tales of glory. Now he drowns his senses in the arms of countless women, while his friends, the Hellraisers, ensure he needn't sin alone.
Until, that is, the Devil himself grants them each a wish, undoing their camaraderie as they explore their wicked powers. Bram finds himself magically bound to Valeria Livia Corva, the sensuous priestess who raised the Devil the first time—and died to send the demon back.
She may be a ghost, but Livia is no angel. The raw passion she witnesses in Bram's memories isn't much different from her behavior when she had a body to enjoy. But it doesn't make it any easier to convince Bram to become a warrior again, lest all London burn. And the fierce desires reawakening within her might just start the blaze...
SINNER’S HEART, the third installment in The Hellraisers series, has one of the most unique heroines I have ever read in a romance novel- a ghost. While this gave the book an original feel, it didn't help the rather lackluster romance plot line. Readers who are familiar with The Hellraisers will most likely be satisfied with this book, because it offers a very clear and gratifying conclusion to the trilogy. Ends are tied up, bad guys are vanquished, and all of the couples are left to live happily ever after. However, if you have not read the first two books, and are looking for a straight up paranormal romance, SINNER’S HEART may be a bit of a disappointment.
The premise of SINNER’S HEART is that Livia is a ghost who has some sort of tie to Bram, and therefore, the two are forced together. I am still not entirely clear on the connection, because it was formed in a previous novel, but it wasn't completely necessary to understand how it happened, just that it did. However, because of this already formed, rather unnatural connection, Bram and Livia were unable to get rid of each other. This contrived situation didn't offer much space for the relationship to slowly grow, so the two of them became very close, very quickly.
Now, let’s just pause a moment to remember: Livia is a ghost. She had no physical form for at least half the novel. So if you’re looking for any hot and heavy moments...well. Don’t get me wrong, Livia was an awesome character, despite being incorporeal. She had a great sense of humor, was very confident in herself, and felt very real. While there were moments when she was tempted by the power and bright future the devil offered her, she managed to stick to her guns, proving her courage in the face of the unknown. And aside from the fact that Bram had already sold his soul to the devil (it is really hard to redeem yourself from that, in my opinion), he was actually a rather deep character, who changed quite a bit over the course of the novel. His shift from being a rake who used magic to convince women to sleep with him to a general in the fight against the devil involves a lot of introspection and growth along the way.
My biggest complaint about SINNER’S HEART was that the main focus was less on Livia and Bram’s relationship and more on the conclusion of the story about all the Hellraisers. Both couples from the previous books were included, and the book culminated in a giant battle- no hard earned realizations of love here. Normally, this would have been just fine. The plot was interesting, and the pacing was such that I always wanted to know what was coming next. But since I went in expecting a romance, I was a bit frustrated that it ended up taking a back seat, especially because I liked Livia and Bram so much.
With strong main characters, and a story unlike other historical paranormals I’ve read, SINNER’S HEART is a good, fun read. I liked it enough that I will be going back and reading DEVIL’S KISS, because I am curious about the story between Whit and Zora based on their cameo in this book. If you’re already a fan of The Hellraisers, I would say SINNER’S HEART is not one to miss- and even if you aren't already, and just considering starting the series, you can start reading confident that you’ll be looking forward to a great conclusion.
The Blades of the Rose series by Zoe Archer
Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan