Desprite Measures has been out for just over two weeks now, and has five reviews now, ALL FIVE STAR 😀
I’m thrilled that the latest reviews have come from experienced authors, and I’d like to share them with you so you’ll see why I’m so delighted.
The first is from MARK HENWICK, author of the popular Bite Back series of urban fantasies:
Cassie Lake is an immortal elemental, a water sprite. She is capable of holding a human appearance, and lives a dual life, human by day and water elemental by night. She has a selkie (Were-seal) lover, friends and a job. A comfortable life, that only exists before page 1 of the book, where we find her trapped by a human magician in a bubble that he is squeezing smaller and smaller. Unfortunately, also trapped in the same bubble is another elemental, the equal and opposite fire sprite. If they touch, ‘bye-bye Scotland’. A grand wee setup. 🙂
We go on from there, stirring a couple of covens, a druid and some familiars into a tale that reveals the magician’s purpose and greed. We get a cameo performance by a vampire, a couple of scenes with what might be a fairy or an elf, and one with what might be a devil, or an angel. Good is sort of triumphant and some massive hooks are left in for the next of what’s apparently planned to be a five part series.
It’s well done, with a light touch, appealing characters, and scenes that made me yell ‘Noooo!!! Cassie, don’t do that’ without making me think she was a twit / TSTL. The world building is light but well constructed and consistent. The villain has an ambiguity during the story, which Jay disassembles at the end. I’m not sure about that, but I certainly didn’t expect it, and I can understand it in light of the moral quandary of the denouement and Cassie’s internal journey.
All of which just makes it another good book. It’s the subtexts that raise it above that.
Appropriately enough for an elemental, a concern with the environment is woven through the book, and provides the structural support for the strong main plot line, but the real twister is Cassie’s journey. Acting human has started to develop Cassie’s soul. As an elemental, she doesn’t expect to have one. Others certainly don’t. And with the soul, of course, comes pain and grief as well as love.
To reveal more would be to give spoilers, and I won’t do that.
In my scoring, it’s normally difficult for book 1 of a series to get a five until I’ve seen book 2. I want to know that the mythic quality blossoms in this series, I want to see that dark underlying fairy tale, even if it means that the series is not a Disney HEA. Fairy tales have a taste of blood and iron, which are lurking beneath the surface in Desprite Measures. I’m looking forward to book 2.
While I normally don’t really enjoy first-person point-of-view, I think in this case it is well done, although graphic sex from a first-person pov puts me a little off, but there is not too much of that, and what there is does seem to advance the plot. Though this is a rather graphic romance, there is a lot of other action, and all the characters are well fleshed out. Unlike most romance novels, the plot moves quite quickly and does not rely on the sex to keep the readers attention.
The plot encompasses a great deal of urban mythology regarding vampires and the fae, modern witchcraft and the old-time selkie legends. The author blends them well and pits them against modern ecological issues, such as sustainable power. There is also the age old conflict of truth and trust, and how sins of omission can mess up a life, which makes for great drama. The magic is quite believable, as are the magical beings.
Liam, the evil magician, is your usual self-centered, amoral, malevolent bad dude, and his machinations drive the action in this tale. Cassie is not the only person who is not what they portray themselves as, and that leaves the door open for a sequel. The ending, while not exactly happy, is satisfactory. It does leave the door open to a sequel, which I will buy.