Genres: Paranormal Romance
As a second daughter, Grace Andreas never had to worry about the intrigues of the Elder Races. But when her sister, Petra, and Petra’s husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister’s two young children – neither of which she is prepared for.
Yet, she is not alone. Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn prince of House Marid – driven by his genuine caring for the children – has decided to make himself a part of the household both as their guardian and as an exasperating counterpoint to Grace’s impudence toward the Elder Races.
But when an attempt is made on Grace’s life, she realizes that Khalil is the only one who can protect her – and offer her more than a mortal man…
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel. It picks up where Serpent’s Kiss left off (I believe it’s the morning after the events that transpired at the end of the book). I don’t think it’s necessary to read the other books first. While the events from the previous books are touched on, this novel is focused mostly on Grace and Kahlil.
This novel is much more internally focused than the previous books were. While there is outside conflict, it doesn’t come to play until later in the book. Mostly we see Grace and Kahlil interacting with each other on a daily basis, in a relatively quiet setting. I really enjoyed the slow pace of the novel (it wasn’t a slow read, just a slow-paced romance). We really saw them fall in love, which is refreshing from the romances that only tell us a couple has fallen.
Kahlil has little interest in humans or human emotions. As a Djinn, he deals in bargains. A Djinn is considered a pariah if he makes a bargain and doesn’t keep his end of it. The concept of friendship is foreign to him. Yet Grace calls him a friend. He’s surprised to find he likes being called friend. He also likes Grace and her children.
“You cannot take it back, ” he said. His voice was muffled against her skin.
“Take what back?” she asked
Their bargain. The truths they’d exchanged. Her angry, funny quips. The gift of food, drink, laughter and compassion. Her permission to visit the children. Her promise to call him so he could watch over them. Her claim to friendship.
He raised his head. He said, “Any of it.”
Grace was a strong character and a great counter for Kahlil with his arrogance. Kahlil softens toward Grace and her children as the novel wears on, and his compassion and tenderness worked to underscore his alpha-ness. Harrison writes great strong male characters who are well balanced with the softer emotions. In the beginning he’s a bored immortal who is mildly interested in Grace and her family. The progression of his involvement with them also bring a deeper set of feelings for them.
He had been at war with Lethe for longer than some civilizations had existed. Often he had taken years to decide where he might go on vacation. When he had met Leo Tolstoy in 1906, the Russian novelist had intrigued him so much, Kahlil decided he would consider reading War and Peace, and he had still not yet made up his mind. It wasn’t that he was indecisive, he simply had no reason to rush anything.
He had never bothered to count time before, but he started to now, and it began with counting each breath she took.
With the amount of crap Grace had dumped on her at once – her sister and brother-in-law dying, her leg injuries, gaining custody of the kids and the power of the Oracle, bills piling up, poor medical insurance, needing to finish college and find a job, etc – she could easily have become a martyr. She wasn’t. She occasionally fell, but she’d dust herself off and move on. Her wit and humor, not to mention her sarcasm, really saved her from crossing a line. She’s just a woman trying to make the best of a bad situation. I thing Grace was so easy to relate to because she was real. Yes she stepped up to care for her sister’s kids, but sometimes she was pissed as hell that she had to do it. She always did what was right, but she didn’t always do it with a smile on her face. I think this made her so much more realistic.
There is an external mystery. Though the villain is obvious from the outset, I think it worked in context with the overall story-arc.
Harrison has written another winner. The strong characters and unexpected humor make this a must read. I’ve already re-read it several times.
4.75 out of 5