Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reread on Audible in May 2020
So I decided to go back and re-read this one via audiobook, since I got so sucked back into this series after reading Serpent's Kiss. I reread Dragon Bound, and that inspired me to reread this one as well.
I have to say that I liked this a lot more on the reread. With hindsight, I am able to appreciate it more. I appreciate that each book is different, because the characters are different. With that perspective, there is a lot to love about this book.
I have always loved faerie themed stories, and Niniane's backstory as the lost Dark Fae heir is super intriguing. She comes off as very contemporary and trendy, very human in her values, but it is clear that this is just one aspect of her personality. Beneath is a troubled young woman who lost everything that she loved, and became a refugee from her homeland. There is an interesting metaphor in our society for many who share that commonality with Niniane. How becoming American does require that one adopt Americanness and in some ways shed one's true heritage. But many manage to keep that part of themselves and also integrate those uniquely American traits. With Niniane, it's not just adopting a certain level of human-ness, but also due to being part of the Wyr society, she in some ways adopts some of their values. This is understandable, considering she was very young when she sought refuge with Dragos from her murderous uncle and usurper Urian.
Harrison takes the bright, breezy, coquettish young public relations expert and reveals the traumatized, yet determined Dark Fae Queen who must step into her true destiny. She is paired to a taciturn, regimented, seasoned military commander with a unique heritage as the only thunderbird Wyr shifter. It seems extremely unlikely that these two would fall in love and make a connection. And all of the sudden after a peripheral acquaintanceship of many years, although Tiago is said to have mainly been stationed in South America on campaign for most of that period. Things seem to change fairly quickly right before Niniane prepares to take up the crown. Tiago finds the mating urge awakening in him. He can't keep his mind off of Niniane, and he is driven to protect her. Even to the point that he refuses to let her out of his sight when it becomes apparent that she is being stalked by an assassin. And the blazing attraction they feel for each other flares up very rapidly.
I guess one could say that the believability of their sudden attraction/love connection is questionable. But this is paranormal romance, and that's such a staple that I was okay with it. I have to say that the relationship was good, but I actually appreciated the storyline and the plot, along with the unfolding mystery about who was targeting Niniane. I forgot how that ended, so it was satisfying even on reread. I didn't like what happened with a certain character who I had grown to like quite a bit. It sucked. It was interesting seeing Carling when she's introduced versus in her own book. She's such an intriguing and compelling character.
Thea Harrison is really good with characters. I think that she does deliver what paranormal romance enthusiasts crave in heroes: ultra-possessive, highly sexed, very powerful. I would like to see just a little more depth in Tiago's character, but he does have some layers and textures that are pleasantly surprising beyond being an ancient warrior and powerful mythical beast.
I'm glad I did a reread of this book. I enjoyed it so much more this time around. I think the 4.5 star rating is still fair.