Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: "Lust" by Charlotte Featherstone

LustLust by Charlotte Featherstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't judge books for their covers, but I have to want to start this review saying that I think the cover of this book is beau-ti-ful and fits the title perfectly. Having said that, I'm shallow enough to point out that the male model on the cover isn't exactly my type and I replaced him with someone else. Here's "my" Thane:



It is said that the fey have always lived amongst mortals, their world lying parallel to ours. They live in two courts; the good faeries belong to the Seelie Court, where gaiety and light reign. Opposite to the Seelie Fey are the Dark Fey, those who live in the Unseelie Court, or the unholy court as it is known. These dark faeries are mysterious and sensual, well versed in pleasures of the flesh. It is said that to look upon them and their beauty is to be drawn into their erotic, voluptuous world, and once there, your fate is sealed, your body and will no longer your own.

And this is precisely what happened once, long, long ago, to a beautiful queen of the Seelie Court, who had the misfortune to catch the eye of the Dark Fey king.

Immediately, the king was besotted with the queen, driven to possess her at all costs. Queen Aine was all the king could think about, but Aine spurned him, forcing King Duir to steal her away from her golden court as she slept. Like Persephone taken to the underworld, Duir brought Aine to his dark court, plying her with his erotic skills. The Unseelie king was certain he could win Aine, but the queen despised Duir. Long had she plotted against her captor, vowing to leave the king and his court behind, but Duir kept her prisoner, a concubine for his dark pleasures.

The queen’s loathing of the king festered, until she could think of nothing but revenge. Fueled by hatred, Aine searched for a way to break free — all to no avail. Until one day, she was delivered of the king’s twin sons. Enraptured by his progeny, and grateful to the queen for giving him such a gift, Duir became less watchful, allowing the queen new freedoms, and it was then that Aine found a way to leave his court.

One night she stole away, taking with her one of her sons, the golden-haired child who was the image of her Seelie self, leaving behind his dark-haired brother who bore his father’s resemblance. As she fled, Aine placed a spell on the Unseelie Court, that it whither away, never to thrive again until the Dark Fey could make a woman give herself to him of her own free will. As well, she cursed the sons of Duir’s siblings — and any future male children of the king — with each cardinal sin, further destroying her own dark son’s chances of finding a virtuous woman who would give herself willingly.

To this day, the queen’s spell holds strong. The Unseelie Court is dying. There is but one hope for the court — to find the seven women who represent the virtuous aspects of humanity. Seven women who embody chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility. Women whose very being calls to the sins deeply buried in each prince, sins that are eager to corrupt, through erotic pleasure, their virtues.

If the court is to survive, the fey princes will have to find a way to make the virtues follow them willingly, while satisfying the basic needs of their sins. Sins, of which perhaps, each virtue is ready for a taste.

Unlike most mortal men, the Duke of Lennox is more than aware that faeries exist and knows how powerful they are. The birth of his four twin daughters (Mary, Prudence, Chastity and Mercy) was foretold by the faery queen, who infused within him the virtues to be passed on to each one of them. And so, each daughter was born possessing the moralities that would define her - humility, temperance, chastity and kindness. They've been raised to believe that their purpose in life lies in the fey world and know that they were created for some mystical, and maybe sinister, reason.

Thane is the Dark Fey prince cursed with the sin of Lust and his intended virtue is pure and righteous Chastity Lennox. When he meets her, the sin in him wants to pounce and take her, but Thane knows that he has to woo Chastity carefully before he can corrupt her and convince her to follow him to his dark court willingly. But how will Thane be able to keep his sin under control when everything about Chastity tempts him beyond reason?

Wow, this was a very hot read! As a man (or fey?) driven by lust, Thane oozed sex appeal and was as wicked as he could be. I really liked him and wouldn't mind following him to the Unseelie Court willingly, LOL. Chastity was likeable enough, but her self-righteousness bothered me. I know she was supposed to be a paragon of virtue and all that, but she still annoyed me a couple of times. The sexual chemistry between Thane and Chastity was off the charts and their interactions (in and outside the bedroom) were deliciously sinful, thanks to Ms. Featherstone's sensuous writing. I especially liked the scenes where Thane went to Chastity as mist, surrounding her with his scent.

Now, as much as I liked this book, I have to say that I finished it without being 100% sure that Chastity loved Thane. I have no doubt that she was in lust with him, but love? I don't know. He had the opportunity to spend time with her unnoticed - you have to read the book to understand that - and thus got to know her, making his falling in love with her believable. She never got to know him that well, because he hid his true self from her for the most part of the story. How can you fall in love with someone you don't really know?

All in all, this was a very enjoyable read. The beginning was a little slow and a bit confusing with the introduction of several characters all at once - I had a hard time remembering who was who and associating each character to his/her sin or virtue - but once the focus was directed to Thane and Chastity, the story picked up the pace. Being the first book in the series, Lust was a bit bogged down by the need to set up the background of the series, but that was more than worth it because I can't wait for the next book. Is it out yet? ;P

Note: I received this eARC from Harlequin via NetGalley. That had no influence on my review/rating.

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