Author: Robin D. Owens
Publisher: LUNA Books (Harlequin)
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (Adult)
Author's Website: http://www.robindowens.com/
Jenni has made a normal life for herself. After the disaster that killed her parents and most of her siblings, on a mission from the Eight Kings and Queens of the four elements, a mission to which Jenni was late and continues to blame herself for, Jenni wants nothing to do with the magical community. But when magical creatures show up on her doorstep asking for her help in a mission, and when Aric, her former lover, comes to tell her that her brother is in need of her help, Jenni agrees to help the Eight complete the mission. Besides for facing dangers of increased power in Dark ones, Jenni has to face herself and her grief and guilt, and her blame for Aric, to come to terms with what happened then in order to move on now.
I am a little conflicted as to what I think of this book. For the most part, I really really like it. But I can't not mention the things that bother me about it, because they did affect my reading of the book. So I'm going to write what I didn't like, get it out of the way, and then tell you what I did like.
The main thing that bothered me throughout the book is actually not related to the story - it's grammar. There were lots and lots of comma splices - two separate sentences joined together only by a comma. After I came across more than a few of them, I realized that the author was trying to create a feeling of immediacy, of one event happening right on the heels of another. But for me, it just jarred.
A more major point that bothered me is the guilt that Jenni feels. I felt that her guilt and blame for herself and others was not very well described. I kept hearing about them, but I never really saw them in action. The way they disappear is also not shown very well. I felt like if these were such major points, they should have been developed and shown more clearly.
That said - the style of the writing is really amazing. There's a perfect blend of magical and real elements, and the tone of the tale fits into this, to meld the two and make magic of the four elements sound natural. I was drawn into the world as soon as I was introduced to it, and the way the world is introduced is also great - with bits and pieces of how everything works revealed over time. Jenni herself knows some of it, but as she learns about the changes that happened since she cut off contact with the magical world, we get to see both how it was and how it is now. Everything just sounds so magical.
And the characters. Every single character, no matter how little page space they take up, has a very distinctive personality. Aric and Jenni, the two main characters, really jump off the page. But even the minor characters, the brownies and naiads who appear only to serve and help Jenni, are so individual and unique in their personalities. I love how all the actions fit seamlessly together because each character does only what makes sense for him or her to do. Especially in the last battle - the way the Eight behave, the way Synicess does, it all makes perfect sense. And the way Aric behaves. That is so perfectly developed over their renewed relationship throughout the book, that by the time he does what he does, I think the only one who is surprised is Jenni - definitely I wasn't!
On the whole, this book is a great book to sink into. The magicality, the characters, the mystic style of writing - it all creates a believable world, with emotion and heart, that stays with you a while after you finish the book.
Thanks to LUNA Books and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review!