Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Size: 448 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in the Fairwick Chronicles
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. This was a wonderful paranormal romance/mystery with a dark and gothic feel to it. A great book to read over the holidays, as it takes place during the winter months and really has a wintery vibe to it.
Callie McFay has been visited by a dark prince in her dreams since she was a child. When she moves to upstate New York to teach at a college there she is again visited by her dark prince, but this time the dreams are incredibly erotic (and disturbing) in nature. Still Callie is drawn to this sleepy town of Fairwick and soon finds herself buying a house there (without her boyfriend’s knowlege). Callie soon finds out that there is more to Fairwick than she could have ever imagined and her dark prince is tied up to the other mysterious events that happen in this town.
This book is not really paranormal romance, it is more of a contemporary fantasy with a lot of mystery and some erotic scenes in it….it also has a very gothic overtone to it. The mystery is set up very slowly and the pace of the story is fairly deliberate.
I loved the writing style of this book; everything is described so beautifully that it is easy to imagine the scenery and to follow the mystery being woven. I loved the interesting characters and the way that the world of fairy was woven mysteriously throughout Fairwick’s history.
I am going to be honest initially I was very turned off by the numerous erotic scenes in the beginning of the book; I was thinking seriously is this was the book is about?! But as the mystery started to unravel I was more and more intrigued by the world built here, was curious to unravel the mystery of the Honeysuckle House, and I fell in love with the Gothic wintery setting. I also really enjoyed all of the literary references throughout and the snippets of poetry woven through the story.
This is a deliberately paced book, if you don’t like that then this isn’t the book for you. The book starts with quite a bit of action and then goes through a tense lull where nothing much happens but, as the reader, you are just waiting for the next shoe to drop… I enjoyed it and thought it was well done, but I could see readers who like action-based novels being very frustrated with the pace. One of the “mysteries” in the story is very transparent…I was a bit disappointed that it took Callie so long to figure this out; still I think her blindness to this mystery was intentional and told the reader a lot about Callie’s feelings and needs.
The book ends without much resolved, this is the first in a series so there is more to come. This is also not a happy, happy book….think Gothic romance…so things end as you might expect them to in that sort of genre. Additionally there are also some very graphic sex scenes in this book…so definitely for adults only.
Overall I ended up in love with this book. The beautiful writing and descriptions, the Gothic and wintry small town setting, and the wonderful weaving of fairy magic throughout all of this absolutely captured my imagination. I loved the literature references throughout as well. This is a very deliberately paced book, there are lulls while the tension builds but not much happens. One of the mysteries is also very transparent…so not the most surprising plot. Still I loved the writing and loved how it captured my imagination; I loved the dark and Gothic feel to it…it was very different from most of the paranormal that is out there. If you love dark Gothic romance with a touch of supernatural then this is the book for you. If you have trouble with very deliberately paced books then you may want to look elsewhere. I will definitely be reading future books in this series.