STORM'S HEART (Elder Races #2)
Available August 2nd
Received from publisher for review
Warning: Contains mild spoilers from Dragon Bound, but no spoiler's from Storm's Heart.
With the death of her uncle, Tricks (also known as Niniane) is now the rightful heir to the Dark Fae throne. She escaped from a life of politics over two hundred years ago when her entire family was slaughtered, seeking sanctuary with the Wyr and their leader Dragos. Now, she has to return to that life she ran from and be the person she's not entirely sure survived that tragedy.
When Tricks goes missing after a scheduled meeting with Dark Fae representatives, Tiago, as one of the best trackers Dragos has, is sent to find her and ensure her safety. Though he's immeasurably powerful, battle-scarred, and possesses control over lightning and thunder, he finds himself vulnerable to the petite-sized Niniane, and he discovers his need to protect her extends beyond a mere desire to follow orders.
Both Tricks and Tiago knew there would be many who were not happy with her placing a legitimate claim on the throne in the wake of her uncle's death, but they quickly realize the real threat is coming from someone close to her, someone in their small group of people traveling to Niniane's former home. Battling passion and politics, Niniane and Tiago leap into the fray together, hoping their combined emotional and physical strength will restore both order and leadership to the Dark Fae.
The world of Storm's Heart is one that rejuvenates the paranormal romance genre, infusing it with new breeds of hero and heroine who delight us with their charismatic personalities and enthrall us with the newness of their supernatural abilities. Fairly unknown entities such as dragons, thunderbirds, and gryphons dominate the novels of the Elder Races, and we can't help but smile gleefully as these new additions join familiar vampire and faerie favorites to create stories that allow us to revel in what we love most about the genre as a whole while also providing us with new experiences and new characters with whom to fall in love.
Ms. Harrison is a master at creating extraordinarily alpha-male heroes–men who are unapologetically protective and possessive, but who also acknowledge that the need for their women goes far beyond the physical and into a true and believable partnership. Tiago is typically rough on the exterior, strength and dominance oozing from his black-clad physique in staggering waves, but his tenderness and sensitivity when it comes to diminutive Niniane guarantees himself a treasured place in our hearts as we secretly wish for him to step from the pages and turn that slightly intimidating and focused attention our way. He is literally a raging storm encased in flesh, his temper impressive but never overwhelming, and his aggressiveness just enough to remind us what he's capable of as we melt with the knowledge of just how much he tempers that power with his mate.
Niniane is strong in her own right, her power lying in the force of her infectious personality and her ability to diffuse tension with soothing words and genuine compliments when those around her would resort to more violent means of communicating. Though her relationship with Tiago is a bit of a push and pull in the beginning–her sense of royal responsibility outweighing her desire to pursue a relationship–once the decision to move forward is made, both parties throw their full weight behind the effort to present a unified front to all those who seek to do them harm. Little flashbacks to her gruesome past make us fully appreciate the safety she finds in Tiago's embrace, and we easily root for a woman of intelligence and wit who constantly seeks to put the well-being of others before her own.
Though not quite as strong as its predecessor, Storm's Heart is still an intensely satisfying addition to this series. The political maneuvering, conniving, and corruption make for a slightly quieter read in comparison to Dragos's explosive and combative nature, but Ms. Harrison's characters are written in such rich and lush detail that they exist fully formed in our minds; their features, personalities, strengths and weaknesses etched crystal clear into our memories where they will remain indefinitely no matter how many books we pick up following their stories.