Having never read the first book in the series, Wicked Enchantment, I went into CRUEL ENCHANTMENT, a bit wary. This is a habit I have done in the past, where I pick up a book that isn't the first in a series. This is usually a good indicator on how a book can stand on its own. Thankfully, CRUEL ENCHANTMENT is one of the books where you aren't lost if you skipped book one like me.
The book opens in a very dramatic fashion with our first glimpse of the lead male in the story, Aeric O'Malley. He is an Unseelie fae with the gift of bestowing the power to kill other fae through the forging of his weapons. On his mind is one name; Emmaline Siobhan Keara Gallagher, the former assain of the Summer Queen and the person who killed his mate. So consumed with his hatred, Aeric does little but imagine what he would do if he ever got his hands on the person who killed his true love. Unfortunatly, he along with his fellow brethren are effectively locked in a compound to prevent them from wrecking havoc in the human world. Emmaline is on the otherside, living as a free fae in the human world.....up until now
Now here comes the complicated bit and it took me a little while to get my head around what was actually going on with Emmaline. She is a fae working for an organization called the Humans for the Freedom of the Fae - or the HFF for short, but she is pretnending to be a human sympathizer to the Phaendir who are responsible for the imprisonment of the fae.
Emmaline is going into this compound to get Aeric to make a key to open a box that contains some magical object of fae power, on the pretence of giving it to the Phaendir, while really she is going to give it the HFF. All while in disguise so that, hopefully Aeric won't recoginse her. Oh, and did I mention that she is going to be pretending to be part of some film crew for a show called Faemous which reports on the Summer Court? Confused? Yeah, me too!
Thankfully the whole plot falls apart since Aeric had some sort of alarm set for when Emmaline set foot in the compound. He therefor kidnaps her and holds her hostage with intent to enact his revenge for the death of his beloved.
It's at this point I lost some sympathy and respect for Aeric. I got that he was hurt deeply and that he would want vengeance for his beloveds death. I understood that this would cause him to want to do terrible things to Emmaline and yes, I know that this is a known plot device used in fantasy novels where the leads end up falling helplessly in love by the end of it (Sorry if this spoils the ending, but it is a Paranormal Romance), but one scene had me really despising him.
After Emmaline explains what happened the night she killed his beloved, something snaps within Aeric. An internal switch flips and he goes from wanting to kill her into something that is almost villainous. All I will say is that Aeric uses Emmaline is such a way that it almost seems like she is nothing but some sort of harlot. By taking advantage of the fact that Emmaline's known feelings and attraction to him, he twists it into something that is perverse.
Before this, Emmaline protests constantly that he is a good man. That he won't harm her. Yet, Aeric hurts her in a way which is much deeper than just physical wounds. For a hero, he went down a lot of points in my esteem.
What I did like was the development of Emmaline as a character. To me she was the saving grace of the book and her complex background was the most interesting part. Watching as you saw her deconstruct what she was, who she is and what she wants to be was great to read. Emmaline knows that she is not innocent, but Bast has fleshed out a backstory that shows how she was and still is a pawn in a larger game. Emmaline manages to overcome so much by the end of the book. If it hadn't been for Emmaline, then i don't think I would have enjoyed the book so much.
The supporting characters also were well thought out. A few that stood out for me were; David, a fellow mortal member of the HFF who has a history with Emmaline; Calum, a free fae and member of the HFF who has information that led to finding the artifact and Gideon, an ambitious member of the Phaendir who has feelings for Emmalines alter-ego.
These three characters made the plot much deeper that just what was going on in the compound. I especially liked Gideon's storyline. He is an interesting villain and you never knew what the truth was and what fiction with him was.
The political plotlines were written in a way that kept you on your toes. You were never sure who was double crossing who and by the end of the book I wasn't sure where the main plot was going.
For a book pegged as Paranormal Romance, the more steamy scenes are written really well. Eventually we do see a softer side to Aeric, but how he thaws towards Emmaline is nothing new and it is only when Emmaline is tortured by her former tormentor does Aeric really believe her and sees that she was used as a tool by the Summer Queen.
I look forward to reading the other books in the series, if only for the promise for the strong female characters and further developments in finding the other parts needed to complete the quest to open the back page of the Book of Bindings in order to bring down the wards.
This is a book that you could pick up easily, even if you hadn't read the first one. There is some brilliant world building and some really great characters in the book; however the male lead was almost at the tipping point where I didn't want the heroine to end up with him.
One of the few free Fae in the mortal world, Emmeline plays a dangerous game. She's a founding member of the HFF (Humans for the Freedom of the Fae) working undercover as a devotee of their evil counterpart the Phaendir. The Phaendir work a group magick to confine all Fae to the realm of Piefferburg, yet they do not consider this isolation a solution; instead it is a stepping stone to their goal of exterminating all Fae races.
Emmeline has a mission which unfortunately means re-entering Piefferburg after centuries of self-imposed exile. Pure Seelie she may be, as her powerful Glamour magick is unable to hurt or kill; yet centuries before Emmeline was once the Rose Queen's most treasured weapon; an assassin of unparalleled skill before fleeing into the human realm. Her reason for her flight? A big case of mistaken identity and pure ill luck, as Emmeline accidently killed the beautiful Aileen and broke the heart of her fiancé Aeric the Blacksmith.
Over 360 years have passed since Emmeline murdered Aileen, yet still Aeric stokes the fire of revenge and waits for her return. It doesn't matter if she's one of the good guys and working to free the Fae, it certainly doesn't matter that she's pretty with innocent eyes even when shed of every bit of Glamour, but Aeric will have his revenge before several hundred of the Unseelie who also lost friends and family to Emmeline's crossbow hear she's back in town.
The sequel to "Wicked Enchantment", this book has an exciting adventure packed storyline with a heated romance. Familiar faces from book one, such as Aislinn, Gabriel and the Rose Queen all play important parts, whilst in the human realm the search is on for the second part of a magical artefact that can free the Fae. With so much going on in the plot, you could think that Emmeline and Aeric's blossoming relationship would take a back seat, but it doesn't. It's hot stuff between them, yet their future looks bleak. Emmeline has a mission to complete, she also has enemies everywhere plus the Rose Queen wants her pet assassin back.
This is the sequel to Wicked Enchantment and as sequels go, is seamless going from one book to the next fluidly.
Emmaline is a Free Fae who has the ability to cast very strong personal glamour. This is extremely useful as she works undercover for the odious Phaendir a group of Druids who want to see the world rid of all the Fae.
She has to enter Piefferburg undercover with a set of blueprints for a key which will open a magickal box which contains a piece of the Bosca Fadbh. This is something the Phaendir covet because if they can regain all the pieces then the Fae cannot open the Book of Bindings which will then free them from their imprisonment.
Emmalines problem is that there is only one person who can work with charmed iron and that is Aeric O'Malley The Blacksmith whose lover was assasinated by Emmaline when she worked for the Summer Queen. (Emmaline has secretly loved Aeric since they were children). Aeric has been waiting and festering for centuries for revenge against Emmaline and it seems his luck is about to change when she walks through the gates into Piefferburg certain in the knowledge that her glamour will stop anyone recognising her..............how wrong of her! Before she knows what has hit her, a bag is placed over her head with a Fae poison in it and the next thing she sees when she wakes up is Aerics hate contorted face, hellbent on killing her. She tries to explain but to no avail. The nasty piece of work that is the Summer Queen also wants her Assassin back so sets about it using the hateful Lars once again. Emmaline is nearly broken by this but help comes from an unexpected quarter.
Things however, take a different turn when the truth about Aeric's lover comes to light and how and why she was killed. Can Aeric and Emmaline come to some kind of a truce?
A race is then on to forge the key, get to the box and release the piece of Bosca Fadbh. Nothing of course could be that easy.
This is a great book which I recommend highly and followed by the equally as good Dark Enchantment.