Series: The Embraced #1
Published by st. martin's on March 7th, 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Sexual Content: Explicit sex scenes.
Reviewed by: Kim
Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.
Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?
If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?
When I saw Kerrelyn Sparks’ name pop up, I instantly wanted to read this book; her Love At Stake is one of my guilty pleasures. Imagine by surprise when this book featured a meatier fantasy setting than her other vampire/urban fantasy series, and was funny and touching to boot! It was an enchanting book with fabulously loveable characters and both humour and tragedy throughout.
Part of the charm is the world itself: the island-dwelling moon worshippers are female-led and accepting of magic users, and the male-dominated sun worshipping society tries to kill suspected magic users as soon as they are born. Somehow it doesn’t feel clichė’d; the mythology is well established and interesting, and not everything is black and white.
One example of a magic user who lives on the mainland is Lord Leofric, whose lightning imbued body kills all who touch him. This makes him a great weapon in the King’s army, but also an aberration who is feared across the land. He has a few friends, but even they are careful when dealing with him. He also has the misfortune of being the mad King’s nephew, making him a target for assassins whenever his power levels get low. He defends a country who hates and fears him, but still tries to do what is best whenever he can. He knows that he can never touch Luciana, his decreed betrothed, but he still vows to protect her and her father from the King’s machinations.
Luciana was everything I love in an heroine: she’s brave, she doesn’t let Leofric or any other man walk all over her, makes mistakes sometimes but is devoted to her family and her new country, despite having grown up apart from them because of her powers. Oh yeah, she can talk to the dead, too, which at first thought would be weird, but is used in really clever ways throughout the whole book.
My only issue with HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS is the terrible title and cover. Spark’s previous books were a bit cheesy, and the chest/cheese combo worked. This book is so much better than that, and I’m so worried that it won’t get into the right hands. This is a proper fantasy novel. Yes, it has some PNR tropes, and it has a sexy love story, but it’s so much more than that. I really wish they had gone with a more serious cover - this atrocity will turn off so many people and makes reading it in public difficult. It doesn’t match the quality and tone of the book at all.
It looks like The Embraced series will have at least 5 books in it, and I can’t wait to discover more of the mainland countries who have been at war with each other as long as anyone can remember. The mix of political intrigue, magic and romance is such a perfect balance that I can’t wait for the next book, SO I MARRIED A SORCERER… I can only hope the sorcerer has a shirt on the cover.Series Titles:
- How To Tame a Beast In Seven Days
- So I Married A Sorcerer
For more books where magic users are persecuted, try Poison Study by Maria V Snyder and Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst.