Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How To Tame A Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 7, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.
Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?
If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?
The paperback ARC came in the mail to me as a surprise. I’ve always wanted to read this author so I was happy to read it. This was quite fun. I am seeing more of the genre of fantasy romance. How does this differ from paranormal romance? Well, there are similarities but fantasy tends to include both historical and paranormal aspects. I don’t know if it is in most fantasy romance but in all the ones I have read the women are strong and brave, often functioning or even recognized as equals to their men.
The Embraced are born on one of two nights per year when the two moons align. These children have supernatural powers. The kings of the different lands don’t like the children because they have powers they don’t. So they try to kill them all.
Our heroine, Luciana, is hidden away on an island at a convent with other Embraced girls, all believing they are orphans. They have each other and are close as sisters. They have a good life and are raised to be decent folk.
Our hero, Leo, has crazy strong powers and is the nephew of one of the kings. His parents were killed and the king keeps trying to murder him. Leo is in the army using his skills since all the four kingdoms seem to always be at war. The king gives him many orders in an attempt to have him disobey so he can execute him for treason. The latest order is he is to marry the daughter of the duke of the wealthiest region in the kingdom. That way the king can bring the duke and his daughter to the court to assassinate them more easily and take their land and wealth for himself.
How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days was fun with quirky characters, humor, military strategy and action, a historical setting with some characters having paranormal abilities. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more. The next one is So I Married A Sorcerer to be release August 29, 2017.
As Leo and his companions rode north, the rain began, and the rolling green landscape gave way to increasingly taller hills. Their horses went at full gallop, eating up the miles before the rain could turn the dirt road into a sea of mud.
By the time they passed the second beacon, the rain was pounding on them. Their uniforms were drenched, their hair plastered to their heads. The hills had become moun- tains, and flocks of sheep huddled in the narrow glens where a few trees could give them shelter.
Thunder clapped overhead, and Leo spotted the first flash of lightning to the west. Good. He was going to need all the power he could get. Normal people didn’t stand a chance against the winged creatures that breathed fire. People like his father.
Leo had heard the story many times over a campfire. His father’s last battle had been against the Norveshki. Cedric had plowed through a dozen of their fierce warriors, but when a dragon had attacked, all his bravery and expertise had been in vain.
Another flash of lightning, this one a little closer. Leo would need to break off from the group soon. As they neared the village, a mountain loomed to the right, topped with craggy cliffs and a beacon tower. It was Mount Bae- dan, which the village was named after. He spotted a cliff that overlooked the village. That was the perfect place.
“My lord.” Nevis drew his attention to a horseman charg- ing toward them. A scout.
Leo and his companions slowed to a stop. “Report,” he said, loud enough to be heard over the pouring rain.
The scout bowed his head, causing a puddle of rain to slosh off the brim of his cap onto his chest. “Four drag- ons from Norveshka have attacked the village of Mount Baedan.”
“No warriors?” Leo asked.
“None, my lord. Just the dragons. They swooped into the valley and set the village ablaze to force the people from their homes. While the villagers ran to a nearby cave, two of the dragons captured two small children and flew away.”
Leo stiffened, his hands tightening on the reins, as the men around him cursed under their breaths. Ten years ago, the dragons had started snatching sheep. Now they were nabbing small children.
He glanced westward, hoping to see another flash of lightning streak across the sky. He needed the power now. “The rain put out the fires,” the scout continued. “The villagers are starting to leave the cave. A group of men rode out, hoping to rescue the two children.”
Leo swallowed hard as bile rose up his throat. The res- cue attempt would be in vain. Men on horseback could not cross the mountains as fast as a dragon could fly.
Thunder cracked overhead so loud, the men flinched. “Ride on to the village,” Leo shouted at them. “The last two dragons could still be close by. I’ll take care of them. You protect the people.” He turned his horse and started up the slope of Mount Baedan.
Higher and higher his horse climbed, but eventually the path became too muddy. Leo dismounted and patted the horse, the quilted material now drenched through.
“Go join the others.” He gave the horse a slap on the rump, and it started down the mountain.
Leo abandoned the muddy path that snaked back and forth up the mountainside. Instead, he scrambled straight up the rocky slope. He was halfway up when a bolt of lightning shot from the sky and struck the ground thirty yards away, blasting a boulder into bits.
Yes! The lightning had found him and was zeroing in. Energy from the blast rolled toward him, seeking him out in waves he couldn’t see, but could feel. His skin tingled. His hair, which had been plastered to his head, now crack- led as it lifted into the air.
Thunder boomed overhead, sending another wave of energy toward him. It slithered under his damp clothes, giving him a slight shock. Then an increase in power. And speed. He charged up the mountainside faster than any human could go.
Anticipation swelled inside him as he reached the first set of cliffs. Another lightning bolt ripped through the sky, this one hitting only fifteen yards away. It blasted through the rocks, causing the cliff to crumble away. As the ledge beneath his feet trembled, he ran and leaped.
He landed on the next cliff six feet away as thunder cracked and the first cliff tumbled down the mountainside. More energy surged into him, and he scrambled higher up the mountain. Faster. In a race against the next strike.
He reached the highest cliff. Nearby on the mountain summit, the beacon tower stood, deserted in the storm, its flame long smothered by the rain. The village lay nestled in the valley far below. He spotted houses built of stone with their thatched roofs burned away. The chapel of En- lightenment partially destroyed. The village lookout tower stood as high as the chapel bell tower and was manned by a lone villager. No doubt, he was keeping an eye out for the last two dragons.
Nevis and his troop arrived, and the villagers poured from their homes to welcome them. Leo winced at the sight of small children running about. Dammit, Nevis, get them back into the cave.
A rumbling noise echoed through the valley, sounding much like thunder, but Leo knew better. It was the beat- ing of dragon wings. The last two dragons had waited for the people to reappear.
Leo ripped off his gloves and threw them down, along with his bow and quiver. Then he drew his sword and pointed it to the sky. “Now!”
Lightning broke through the dark clouds, racing toward him. He widened his stance and braced for impact. It struck his sword, fracturing so that a dozen smaller streaks shot off in a circle around him.
The major portion of the lightning sizzled down his sword, eager to reach his flesh. It hit his bare hand and jolted him so hard he fell to his knees and dropped the sword. The dozen fractured shards rebounded, drawn to him like a magnet. They pounded into him, jerking him back and forth. Thunder cracked over him so loud his ears rang.
Power surged through him, so fierce and scorching he thought his skin would melt, his guts would boil, and his head burst like a kernel of corn dropped into a fire. Pain and power, power and pain, he could no longer tell the dif- ference. He only knew he wanted it, wanted to drink it in, soak it up, and claim it all.
The fiery torture eased to a warm, buzzing sensation, and he found himself on all fours, gasping for air. How many times had he endured this? And it still hurt like hell. He rested back on his knees and splayed his hands in front of him. Sparks skittered around his fingers like a host of fireflies.
Good, but not enough. The Beast wanted more.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Anne: 2017 New Release Challenge
- Anne: COYER Winter Storm