Review: Hatshepsut’s Collar (Artifact Hunters #2) by A. W. Exley

December 13, 2013 Review 0

Review: Hatshepsut’s Collar (Artifact Hunters #2) by A. W. ExleyHatshepsut's Collar by A. W. Exley
Series: Artifact Hunters #2
Published by Curiousity Quills Press on November 13, 2013
Genres: Historical, Steampunk
Format: Paperback
Pages: 280
Source: Publisher
Sexual Content: Scenes of explicit sex
3 Stars

"Loving you is easy, it's living with you that's killing me."

An ancient Egyptian artifact is driving Queen Victoria insane, and that's not top of Cara Devon's growing list of problems.

Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is a man of numerous secrets, but there is one in particular that threatens his fledgling relationship with Cara. Stunned by Nate's revelation, and before she can absorb the ramifications of his actions, he is arrested, charged with treason and imprisoned in the grim Tower of London. He stole something the mad queen wants, and only has days to deliver, before his date with the executioner.

Although sorely tempted, Cara can't let him die on Tower Green, not when their connection means she would share his fate.

Only together can Cara and Nate figure out how to wrestle Hatshepsut's Collar from around the queen's neck, before she plunges Britain into a world war. The search for answers sends Cara to the opulent Winter Palace of St Petersburg and the frozen depths of Siberia, with every step shadowed by an enemy with his own dark plans.

In HATSHEPSUT’S COLLAR by A.W. Exley, sequel to NEFERTITI’S HEART,  a traitor to the crown forces Cara Devon and Nathaniel Lyons to St. Petersburg in order to clear the Lyons name, and along the way they encounter airships, pirates, Russian prostitutes, and even dragons. In addition to supernatural adventure, the book wants to be erotic romance, but in this case the two genres don’t blend together. The latter isn’t my scene, so I found the second half of the story, where the international espionage intrigue comes to the front, a lot more entertaining.

Explicit sex aside, I get the impression that the author wants the reader to see Nathaniel Lyons as dashing, brooding, sexy, and dangerous – a non-vampiric Edward Cullen. For me he simply comes across as moody, jealous, manipulative, and controlling. Dangerous, absolutely, but not in a remotely charming way, and Cara’s continued protestations and excuses for his behavior only weaken her character. Despite the fact that Nate tells her he makes no demands of her, their entire relationship is based around his purposeful seduction of Cara, a rape survivor, in order to possess her. The author explains that as a result of the first novel, Cara and Nate’s lives are literally connected through the mysterious object called Nefertiti’s Heart, so any threat to Nate is a real threat to Cara’s life as well. She can never escape him, and, in fact, he can track her down through the bond - something he threatens to do more than once.

For some, the intensity of their lust and Cara’s repeated expressions of her own uncontrollable desire may excuse the unbalanced relationship, but it was a definite turn-off for me. It wasn’t until the world went to hell and there wasn’t time for animal sex that I picked up the rhythm of the story. Then it became a tale of spies, Cara made a fun female friend with a similar history of abuse, and the titular artifact attempted to plunge England into war with China. I wish the focus of the narrative had been there all along, but if you’re looking for a romance novel with a dash of steampunkish mystery, then you’ll probably be satisfied with HATSHEPSUT’S COLLAR.

Series Titles:
  1. Nefertiti's Heart
  2. Hatshepsut's Collar
  3. Nero's Fiddle
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