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.
The raves from trusted book bloggers surrounding Firelight, the first in a new series called Darkest London by Kristen Callihan, is what led me to purchase and read it. I did not read the blurb, I had just heard something along the lines of “It’s a take on Beauty and the Beast.” Well, sign me up then! And I’m glad that I listened to the raves.
From the get-go I enjoyed the narration and dialog. Lord Archer first runs across the young Miranda and immediately is drawn to her fire and moxy. I myself was drawn in immediately to their flirtatious banter. And let me not forget to mention how enthralled I was with the beautiful gothic setting, the vivid descriptive settings and dark and romantic atmosphere. I was sucked in and didn’t want to get out of this world.
The things that I enjoyed most about this book is the fearless way Miranda approached everything. Yet she maintains a vulnerability hidden behind her mask of beauty, behind her fierce tongue and wicked intelligence. Archer immediately identifies with her as he has suffered a great curse that has led to his deformity and feels compelled to hide behind a mask as well. I liked how instantly the two connected, there was no forced tension between the two which so often happens sometimes. But Miranda is also hiding a truth about herself that brings about shame and doubt. Still, she continues to take leap after leap of faith and I enjoyed that about her. I also thoroughly enjoyed the secondary characters, particularly Miranda’s sisters and a shady friend from her past as a thief on the streets.
There were times where the story dragged a bit for me in the middle. I felt like there was a lot of running going on, and I grew tired of the secrets that were being kept just a bit too long for my taste. I wanted to know more than the pace at which things were slowly being revealed. My feelings changed completely though by the time we approached the end. Miranda says to hell with the highhanded men and their betrayals, and goes and saves her man. She not only kicks some serious ass, she is so beyond brave. I freaking LOVED THE END OF THIS BOOK. Loved it! So whatever issues I had somewhat in the middle with pacing became moot.
Unique and fresh, this is nothing like any other Paranormal Romance out there right now. The mythology is complex and the back stories rich. And I love it when one of the hero’s nemesis becomes one of my favorite characters. A total scoundrel, and I loved it, and wanted more of him. McKinnis. I definitely want more of him!
I am now off to read Ember, the prequel, to hold me over until the next book in the Darkest London series, Moonglow, is released this August!