Genre: Paranormal RomanceThoughts:
After reading one of Bast's other books, Witch Blood (Elemental Witches, book 2) I had my doubts about trying this one. Witch Blood wasn't for me. Great idea, but smothered in too much sex. After reading some good reviews about the second book, Cruel Enchantment, I couldn't stop my curiosity reading the first one was my only option.
Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised. It's been hard finding good Fayre PNR. Laurel K. Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series—while I still liked it—is too sexed up to be enjoyable. Jennifer Armintrout's Lightworld/Darkworld series is just all kinds of messed-up—again still enjoyable. This had everything I was looking in a Faye themed paranormal romance that I just couldn't fine anywhere else.
Bast's world takes place where the Faye have been imprisoned for well over 300 years. The Phaendir, a race of humans that mixed blood with the Faye, imprisoned them and intend to keep them that way. The Faye are well treated and are given all of the benefits of the modern world, but they reside within a prison none the less. The humans are divided into factions that want the Faye free, are in support of the Phaendir keeping them imprisoned, or just don't care one way or the other. The Faye are working on a way to free themselves with our with out the support of humans.
The love story in this book takes place between Aishlinn of the Seelie court (basically the “good” faye court) and Gabriel of the Unseelie court. Aishlinn was publicly used and dumped by her last boyfriend because of her high status in the Seelie court. So when Gabriel comes to the Seelie court to join them, she's ready to leave him to the other females of the court. She doesn't need to tangle herself up with a incubus womanizer. Gabriel of course is there specifically targeting her. He doesn't want anything to do with the boring Seelie court. He needs to use his wiles to get Aishlinn to come over to the Unseelie side. Clearly a very standard romantic setup. Bast's excellent writing and attention to detail of her characters really makes a standard love story come to life. I felt invested in both of the lovers, and I felt like I knew both of them. In PNR that's saying something, especially for the male leads. Usually PNR male leads are just a hot body with a name and that's all we get. I loved the fact that I felt like I new Gabriel. So when eventual betrayal takes the happy lovers on a ride, I feel even more invested wanting them to succeed. That's not saying that Aishlinn didn't put up a good resistance too Gabriel. She was a very strong lead, sure she couldn't kick butt until the end of the book, but she knew what was good for her. So it's safe to say that Aishlinn and Gabriel fell in love first, before they fell in bed.
Even though I loved the couple I still felt like something was lacking between them. Some vital ingredient to their chemistry. Bast kept me happy with good lines like these:
“You're so fucking beautiful.”
She gave a short laugh an gazed down into the empty glass. “I'm sure you've said that to all the women you've tried to seduce.”
He tilted her chin up so she was forced to look at him. “I am trying to seduce you, Aishlinn, but I don't mean you're beautiful in the ordinary sense. You are beautiful inside and out, upside and down, straight into your soul.”
The plot for this book just blew me away. The court politics between the Seelie and UnSeelie are deviant. It's even more chilling what occurs within the courts, instead of court against court. This is probably one of the best PNR Faye worlds I have read. Where others seem to be squeezing in as many myths as possible Wicked Enchantment moves at it's own pace and doesn't try to overwhelm the reader with all the different kinds of Faye. Don't get me wrong we get quite a few here, but you can remember which race is which.
Phaendir are another fun part. The reader gets to infiltrate the enemy lines in the head of one messed up Phaendir, Gideon, who wants all Faye wiped away. Which is a really interesting topic considering that a huge majority of Phaendir blood is mixed with Faye. Plus the Phaendir are divided into factions. Currently they are being lead by a man who doesn't think that the Faye need to be eradicated, just contained. The plot thickens when Gideon finds out that pieces to the Fayes escape are falling into the Faye hands. A spell that can only be obtained using a book and a key broken up into three pieces. So far the Faye have the book and one piece of the key.
The cast of characters in this book is fantastic. If your not interested in the Faye escaping and the political intrigue, then this intense cast of characters will keep you crawling back for more. The little tidbits of information we get on the characters in the Wild Hunt, which happens to be led by Gabriel, lingers in my mind. I want more of these side characters! They all interact so well pulling off dramatic hold-your-breath scenes, to laugh out load humor.Bottom Line:
This turned into a fantastic read. Sure I felt like a key point in the chemistry in the love story was missing, but Bast makes up for it in realistic characters. The political agendas keep you guessing and Phaendir's clutch through the prison walls of the Faye really adds a dangerous edge. So don't worry about this being the same old PNR tale. Bast makes this stand out in the genre and I'll be back for more. More Faye intrigue, more Phaendir agendas, and more of these fantastic characters. Sexual Content:
Graphic sex scenes. 4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.