Thursday, May 24, 2012

Storm's Heart (Elder Races, #2)Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Dragon Bound was an extremely hard act to follow, but I think Thea Harrison did a good job with her second book in the Elder Races series.  I wondered how she could top Dragos, because he is so VERY!  I am glad she didn't try to do that. She gave us a distinct hero with Tiago, and I like his differences, although he had the crazy/dangerous/possessive/jealous/fierce vibe of Dragos. Honestly, I would have missed that part...a lot.  Tiago held his own as a hero, but not quite as compelling as Dragos.  Having that, how many heroes would be?  Overall, I felt that he had some nice layers to his character.  Lethal but also very caring and loving.  The best kind of PNR hero! He reminded me of a mix of a Mack truck and a Golden Retriever.

Niniane, I liked her a lot. She was sort of the anti-urban fantasy heroine in all the best ways. She was soft and needy and vulnerable in a realistic way. But she was also very strong-minded, determined, in her force of will, which speaks to me more. Considering what happened with her family and her exile from the world of the Dark Fae, she definitely put on her big girl panties to go back to reclaim her throne. And that took some serious chutzpah.  I liked that along the way, I was able to see an organic reaction to this process.  Who wouldn't be scared to death, uncertain, and conflicted? I know I've felt that way even in much less dangerous situations. I could identify with her insecurities in that way, and it made her more lovable and admirable to me. I loved her warm, friendly way with people. I was glad that the betrayal she faced early in her life didn't destroy her capacity for that. I can see her being a very effective, beloved ruler.

Niniane and Tiago as a couple was something I couldn't quite get my mind around after I read Dragon Bound and knew they were next. But they worked together very well.  Tiago is at heart a male who needs someone to fight for, someone to protect.  Niniane has that softness to her personality that is a very good contrast to Tiago, and they complement each other very well.  I would have enjoyed a bit longer book for their courtship in all honesty.  But what I got was very enjoyable.  Definitely some hot, sexy loving times for this couple! Talking about lightning striking, the earth moving, and seeing stars!  I loved that they worked past the issues in their relationship and faced some serious obstacles as a united front.

The storyline was interesting, focused on Niniane's process of assuming the throne of the Dark Fae.  A mix of fae politics, but a focus on the main characters and a few intriguing secondary characters.  So far, I love me Aryl, the harpy sentinel. I know I said it in my Dragon Bound review, but she reminds me of Xhex from the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward in the best ways.  Looking forward to more of her. Some interesting chemistry between Rune and Carling, the Queen of the Vampyres.

Ms. Harrison is a very good writer. She provides a compelling story that kept me reading, with some sexy, swoonworthy romance that keeps a PNR fan more than happy.  I feel her world-building is a star element in this series, so along with the aspects of PNR I can't resist, it makes her a safe bet for this fan.  I do have to say I was a little disappointed at the very rapid climax and denouement, and not too happy about the fate of a character I liked and hoped to see more of.  I wasn't as satisfied with the ending because of those issues.  That's why I couldn't quite give this five stars, although it is very close.

Overall, a very satisfying follow up to Dragon Bound, and more validation that Thea Harrison is a PNR author to follow.  4.5/5.0 stars

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