Carina Press is publishing a steady diet of interesting fantasy titles like this one, and I’m really glad to see them in print. What I like about these books is that they don’t rely heavily on their romantic element to succeed. They have good plots and plenty of action to hold the novels together so the romance/sex isn’t too in-your-face, thus they can appeal to readers not usually into the romance genre.
The only place left to hide was in the past.
Fire Elemental Leda and her plainfolk companion, Grey, are running from a demented time traveler, a man obsessed with creating a creature who can read thoughts. Convinced that Leda can produce this unnatural child, he has threatened to hunt her down to the ends of the earth-and he has kept his word. Their only escape is a one-way trip through the time portal.
With death on their heels, salvation appears in the form of two strangers. Seemingly ordinary people, assure Leda and Grey that they are here to help. They claim they are repaying a debt-Leda and Grey helped them once, 1200 years ago.
The trip through the portal offers no escape, as Leda and Grey discover that evil transcends time. Can their presence in the past stop the eventual apocalypse that forms their future?
This is what I’d call a time twister with individual time-lines moving between times and our usual concepts of how our future might be turned upside down.
Tom and Cassandra know Grey and Leda from a previous time, but Grey and Leda don’t know them, because they haven’t met them yet. How much can you tell someone about their future which is your past? The same quandary occurs when Grey and Leda go back in time to before Tom and Cassandra have met them. Thought provoking or confusing? A bit of both. Can knowing the future change the past if you go back there? If changing the past, changes the future, then what happens to the future that you’ve already experienced? These are the sort of questions this book raises and they do wonderful things to your mind.
The characters were well drawn and likable, except for the bad guys, of course. They were cold, sadistic and creepy. I particularly liked Grey, a big guy, too ready with his punches but faithful, loving and protective. The perception of our modern world through the eyes of someone from a future where magic has replaced technology was fascinating and extremely well done.
We didn’t see much of the future world, but Leda and Grey’s thoughts and actions expressed this future culture clearly and consistently, for example, they referred to Christian priests and nuns as ‘Cross Lovers’. It was an interesting turn-about to think of the future as being so like our past in its lack of technology and reliance on horse transport, natural remedies and materials.
The story had plenty to keep you interested and it was different to anything I’ve read before, which was great, however I found the demon’s actions when he accosted Leda on her way back in time shocking and disturbing. I was grateful that it was the only episode like that in the book. It was there for a valid reason but I think it could have been a little less disgusting. Just get rid of the blood.
Leda’s insistence on sticking to her cultural norms in her ideas of the importance of childbearing and it’s affect on her relationship with Grey didn’t sit well with me. I thought it was a bit wimpish for a fire elemental, but in terms of the world she’d come from and the expectations of that society it was a reasonable action for her to take. I’m just glad that Grey wasn’t too quick to move on the idea.
The end was satisfying and left me wondering about the repercussions of the age of a certain object. A nice touch.
It was a good book, but not one I’d get excited about, though for purely personal and rather vague reasons, so I give it 4 stars.
If Carina Press made some of the covers for these more-than-just-a-romance-books less obviously romance, would it encouraged readers from outside the romance readership to pick them up? I know that many people won’t buy a book with an obviously romance cover on it.
What do you think?