Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Title: Firelight (Darkest London #1)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Romance, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance
Rating: 5/5
Release Date: January 31, 2012

Synopsis: London, 1881
Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . . Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

Review: I am completely floored. After just finishing the last page of this book on my Kindle, I am still reeling from the effect it had on me. What a thoroughly amazing and unexpected read!

"Firelight" takes place in 1880's London - a dark, Gothic place brimming with supernatural elements and dark forces. For me, it was very much steampunk, "Phantom of the Opera," "Beauty and the Beast," as well as historical and romance. Kristen Callihan's descriptive writing really sucked me and I was truly transported into the magical world she built around the main characters, Miranda and Lord Archer.

Miranda is the perfect heroine - beautiful and sharp (with a cutting tongue). I loved that she was curious, bold, and strong - not at all a wilting waif ready to be taken by a handsome male. Lord Archer...well, he was probably one of the best written male leads I have ever encountered in a romance novel. Though mostly hidden behind a mask, he was so dashing and handsome that I could completely see how Miranda fell for this tragic hero, even with his oddities.

Watching the relationship build between these two strangers was so sweet. I loved their back-and-forth banter, as well as reading how tortured each of them was with their own secret buried deep within. As much as Miranda anticipates knowing what lies beyond Archer's mask, I did too! As much as she kept digging to uncover the truth, I was there with her, devouring every page.

The story itself was so engrossing that to me, the love scenes were really secondary. I really feel that this book could stand alone without any of the more risky scenes and be just as wonderful. When they did happen, they were sweet and filled with so much desire and longing that I felt just as frustrated as the characters did!

Overall, I greatly enjoy this book. I would strongly recommend it to fans of any romance sub-genre. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the second book in the series to come out!

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