Grace Draven has got one hell of an imaginative mind.
I am not an avid fantasy romance reader, but occassionally I could work with magic and other-worldly sort of stuff. I have read Draven before and despite my initial reseravtion I really came to become interested in the characters and new worlds she created in her books. This book is no exception. The world she created, "Ketach Tor", is charming and she made it come to live in the book. The characters with the magical flair are as real as they could ever be in a fantasy novel. For that alone, she has my respect.
Other reviewers said that this book has a "beauty and the beast" theme going on. I have to disagree. There is no beauty. What this book has going on is a "shrew and the beast" thing. And this made it a difficult experience for me. I really had trouble connecting with Louvaen (I think this is how her name is spelled).
Off topic: I wonder whether Draven has any affinity to the Hungarians/Romanians/Slovaks, exactly what I cannot say. But it seems to me that her characters and fantasy worlds have a distinct Slavic kind of flair to them, occasionally German, but I have to say more prominently Slavic.
Back on topic, I like the hero Ballard (I really struggle with her names. I always feel that they got their last names and first names mixed up. But I suppose it will always be like this when you "borrow" from other languages. Imagine a hero named Zhang or Suzuki? hahaha man do I digress.) and his son Gavin A LOT better than the heroine Louvaen. Her sister, who is the love interest for Gavin is ok but she really is rather unimportant in this book.
And I do take issues with the heroine archtype for Louvaen. Any GR friends who have read some of my reviews know that I can not tolerate a shrew for a heroine. I also detest overly motherly heroines whose entire existence seems to center on taking care of other people. Being understanding and sensible is one (admirable) thing. Being overbearingly motherly is quite another. And that pretty much summed up who Louvaen was: she is a motherly figure whose formidable existence presided over the book. I never like such females in my life. I have no problems with a woman who knows what she wants, as long as she minds her own business and leave others well enough be. And Louvaen, would not let people be. It does not matter how much she loved, not to me.
I have to say I struggled quite a bit with the magic bit too. I did not really understand how the "curse" worked, but since it did not really bother me I just took it as it was without asking further questions (See? I am really not a picky reader).
All the secondary characters are rather uninteresting, but I could tell that they were necessary for Draven to build the story. Technically speaking this is not a romance novel. This is a fantasy novel with graphic descriptions of the bedroom activity (or am I being too much of a prude by limiting the activity to the bedroom? The romance genre seems to be a lot more adventrous than me. Oh man do I digress!) of 2 rather mature adults. I think I would continue reading Draven but approach her books slighly differently, as in I am reading a fantasy novel, not a romance novel.