Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Book Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Romance Heat Level: Habanero–pretty hot!
One part Beauty and the Beast, one part historical romance, and one part superhero tale, Firelight was … unexpected. It kept mainly to the tried and true arranged marriage Beauty and the Beast plot, but our Beauty (Miranda) had troublesome supernatural powers and our Beast’s (Lord Archer) secrets were particularly intriguing.
The story was woven through a believable Victorian London, with enough of the paranormal in it to make any historical inaccuracies feel inconsequential given the strangeness of this world. I would have liked a bit more discussion of the magic system that gave Miranda her powers, but I suspect that is coming in the next installments in the series.
The characters had good chemistry and enough individual development that they came together nicely as a well balanced couple despite large differences in age and experience. At times I worried that Archer might overshadow Miranda, but eventually she made a strong comeback and developed into an interesting character in her own right.
Lord Archer’s beastliness turned out to be more along the lines of sparkling vampires than true ugliness, but I liked that his curse came from his own bad choices, and though the conclusion was slightly convoluted, the resolution felt complete by the end of the book.
The revenge-murder-mystery plotline held the story together, and the romance mostly developed without hitches or snags– though I felt some of the more intimate scenes, especially one that took place in public, to be a bit unbelievable.
The writing style was a bit too cagey for my liking, delaying delivering information to build tension or suspense. This technique doesn’t work for me and only makes me frustrated as a reader. Fortunately, all was revealed in the end, so by the time I was done, my curiosity was satisfied.
I think this book is a solid contribution to the genre, and I went on to read a few more books in the series.