By: Jeaniene Frost
Published By: Pocket Star
Publish Date: November 13, 2012
Format: ebook, 100 pages
Series: None. Originally appeared in the Haunted By Your Touch anthology.
Recommendation: Yes! For fans of demons/fallen angels, fate, and feisty heroine's that don't hold back.
Enter the dark realm of Nocturna in Jeaniene Frost’s redhot tale, where blisteringly sexy Raphael dominates the demons of a lawless dimension and tries to help a beautiful young woman avenge her cousin’s disappearance.
"The sun's rays slipped further behind the Bed Bath & Beyond sign across the parking lot."
We're catapulted right into the action in this short story as the main character, Mara, bound for revenge for the abduction (and worse) of her best friend Gloria. Mara waits patiently for the right moment to, um, run straight for a garbage dumpster that will take her to Nocturna, a parallel world accessed through portals such as these. Frost makes this time constraint so tight that you feel the trepidation of missing it by a fraction of a second and ending up with a raging headache.
Fortunately, Mara doesn't miss and we get to see this other world, home to demons, either half blood, Purebloods, and if we're unlucky enough, some of the Fallen too. This is what left the biggest impression on me throughout the story; the world building here was very well done. The author describes Nocturna as "a cross between the Victorian era and the Wild West." This was enhanced by the fact that the world is shrouded in darkness and had no electricity, setting the mode for a rough and tumble society with a dash of romance from all the candles needed. What a cool mix!
Aptly blended with the setting was Mara's vigilante mindset. She'd had to wait years to come back to Nocturna to see if she could find out what happened. That's bound to give her an itchy trigger finger (no pun intended here; this girl wears a gun belt!) The thing is, Mara has her suspicions about who the guilty party is: Raphael. This is where we see just how far Mara is willing to go to exact her revenge. From a very steamy scene in the back of a horse drawn carriage to the what happens shortly after at Raphael's castle, the story has enough twists to keep you reading from beginning to end....in one sitting.
I really enjoyed the back story in this tale and would love to see more interactions with Mara and Raphael in the future (if he makes it to the end of the story ;) ) Mara was a good, strong character that let her heart lead her on the task at hand. But, like all good heroines, sometimes head and heart get mixed signals and it's the road to clarity that makes the story so interesting.
The world building here was different from any I'd encountered before, starting with our own, then working through different dimensions that had unbreakable rules about who could traverse through them. I'm always a sucker for Victorian settings, even if, in this case, it's full of demons, so this was a great starter book for me to read about these creatures (more like humans, apart from the Purebloods eating habits *shudders*) that I didn't think could be more than just 'the bad guys'.
I enjoyed Frost's writing so much that I'll definitely be reading more of her work now!
Reviewed by Jackie
*Received as a review copy from Simon & Schuster