My review for today is for an ARC reading of Anya Bast's latest novel in her Dark Magick series, Cruel Enchantment. This book is number 2 in the series. Book 1 is Wicked Enchantment. Before I begin my review, I want to give a special shout out to Rex Robot Reviews. Thanks for including me in this ARC tour, REX. Like I’ve said before…you ROCK!
Emmaline Gallagher is fae, living free in a human’s world. She has a special power called glamour. This power allows her to appear like any person or species, (male, female, human, fae...). With a power like that, no doubt she has a history. Before she became to live with humans (hundreds of years ago), this awe-aspiring fae female was once a deadly assassin; one who was a master at slipping in, catching her unsuspecting target and killing them instantly with her crossbow. That part of her has been long gone but its memory of ill times haunts her daily, especially him – the blacksmith, Aeric O’Malley.
Aeric’s sworn an eternal oath to kill the murderer who killed his angel and woman, Aileen. She died over three hundred years ago but for Aeric and his vendetta, it was just only yesterday. The one woman he’s fixated on now is the one responsible, Emmaline. Aeric’s mind rotates constantly on when and how he will maim, torture and mutilate her – all in the memory of Aileen. Poor Aeric. Things are never as they seem. Once Emmaline steps foot in the contained city of fae (St. Piefferberg), Aeric's in for a rude awakening, especially when he unmasks Emmaline and also the truth.
Emmaline swore she’d never go back St. Piefferberg. Not after killing Aileen. You see, all those years ago, Emmaline was infatuated with Aeric. But after killing Aileen – Aeric’s first love – Emmaline knew she was as good as dead and would never have a chance at winning Aeric’s heart.
Fast forward to three hundred years later, Emmaline now lives with the humans, working as a spy for the HFF (Humans for Freedom of the Fae). She’s been assigned to an undercover operation where she pretends to be Emily, a human working for the Phaendir (a race of druids who fight to contain the fae).
There’s much more to the plot than this and if you’re not familiar with the series, I’d recommend either starting with Book 1 or taking time to familiarize yourself with Bast’s glossary. There are several players within this book, each with their own back story.
What I think I liked best about this story was first the relationship between Emmaline and Aeric. Basically, it was doomed. I mean what are the chances for Emmaline to gain Aeric’s heart let alone trust after she killed of his lover, Aileen? Pretty slim, I assure you. Still, Bast does a great job at unfolding their history with one another, explaining how the gut-wrenching reality to Aeric when the time comes. As a reader, I liked Emmaline’s character. Her unsightly past gave her much credence in my opinion. The notion about her glamour was intriguing as well. Using it her entire existence and then all of a sudden revealing her true form was without a doubt liberating. The only question I have was why the book’s cover art featured a glamour image of her and not her real one. I don’t understand it. That, I thought, was a miss. Ah…marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing.
On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give Anya Bast’s Cruel Enchantment at 3.5.
Until next time…read some wicked and cruel, try Anya Bast’s Dark Magick Novels.