A Novel of the Elder Races #9
Available December 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
For Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr, even the slightest desire for each other is forbidden. But two hundred years ago, after a desperate play to save Beluviel’s stepson left them indebted to the cruel Djinn Malphas, they found their fates inexorably linked together—and the hunger between them growing too strong to ignore…
Two centuries later, with their debt to Malphas coming due, Beluviel and Graydon realize that, if they are to stand any chance of saving their souls, they must once again work together—this time more closely than ever before. But every moment they spend with each other brings them nearer to losing something even more vital—their hearts…
For lovers of the Elder Races series like myself, the wait for Graydon's story has tested the boundaries of our patience as we've watched everyone around him pair off book after book. He won many a reader’s heart in the first book even when pitted against the sheer immensity of Dragos’s personality and his role as hero, and we’ve since waited and wondered when Ms. Harrison would gift us with his turn at leading man. One of the main concerns when cracking the spine of a romance like this that features a beloved secondary character finally granted their time in the spotlight is that their story won’t quite meet the absurdly high expectations a long wait creates, something that was sadly the case in this ninth installment.
The first third of Graydon and Bel’s story is told in one long flashback, sending us two hundred years into the past so that we may bear witness to the beginning of their courtship and the steps that led to their bargain with pariah Djinn, Malphas. Part of the problem with flashbacks (for me personally) is the feeling of missing out on something in the present, and while the events leading up to Gray and Bel’s deal with the devil are intrinsic to the story as a whole, their romance during that time feels rushed and lacking in the spark we’ve come to expect from Ms. Harrison’s couples. We then fast forward to the present and begin gearing up for the big showdown, but between one chapter and the next we've missed out on two hundred years of emotional fallout.
Because of their deal with Malphas, Gray and Bel have a forbidden relationship, one that was poised to give us all the feels as they struggled against Malphas’s invisible shackles, but the split timeline gives us the formation of a relationship at novella-length speed before breaking for two centuries and then resuming that love as though no time had passed. All the tension, need, and thwarted desire is left somewhere in the 200 years we missed out on, and their interactions in the present, while enjoyable, are missing the banter, antagonism, and–most of all–the heat that characterized the previous romances.
Ms. Harrison does pack an emotional wallop outside the romance at the end of this story, and it’s sure to be nothing short of ugly-cry inducing for Elder Races fans. That said however, Gray and Bel do get their happily ever after and we also get a sneak peek at some interesting things to come for Dragos, Pia and Liam. Though this was perhaps not the strongest installment despite Gray being an Elder Races favorite, this series is still one not to be missed.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.