Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Flame and the Shadow by Denise Rossetti

Publisher: Ace Trade
Date published: November 2008
ISBN: 9780441016341
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Book format Trade Paperback
Reviewed by Lil

A witch whose gift of flame is born from heartbreaking loss. A man whose burden is carried from innocent boyhood, through desperate youth, to besmirched adult. These people come together for very different reasons.

For Cenda it is a step towards living again after an illness leaves her with very little for which to live. But Cenda is a means to an end for Grayson. He has agreed to kidnap the fire witch for something dearer to him than money. And though he abhors what he must do to reach his goal, he begins with perfidious intent. This man comes with more than his share of baggage. There is, you see, the not so small matter of Shad, an entity more substantial than a mere shadow and yet as thoroughly attached.

With each encounter, Grayson falls more deeply under the spell of a woman who could be his salvation…if he betrays her. Will he be able to give up someone who is becoming a brighter part of his soul in order to rid himself of another, darker part of it?

Ms Rossetti opens her fantasy series with a fascinating story. Set on a pleasure planet called Sybaris, it is a world where magic and technology both exist but not contentedly. Readers will delight in the author’s rich imagination as they are caught up between the dilemmas of the main characters, the fight for power between the magic wielding Pures and the Technomages, and a thorough fall into love.

One of the pleasures of reading is to find characters that so completely capture our attention. These are people who have known happiness, suffered greatly and now have some chance of joy in their lives, again. They are emotionally wounded, imperfect, and are lovable in spite of that. This is as you may have guessed, not a romance of two, but of three. I doubt that readers will ever meet such an amusing, scene stealer of a shadow again. All one can say is that he is an intrinsic part of what makes their relationship work, to reveal more would give the fun of discovery away.

Action and intrigue keep us at a steady clip as Cenda, Gray and Shad find themselves not knowing who to trust. They must navigate their way to safety even as they are in the throes of coming to terms with themselves and each other.

As book one in the Four Sided Pentacle series, our appetite for more is piqued. We leave the story well satisfied with the culmination of the relationship for our main characters but also with questions over the larger picture. The groundwork is laid and we look forward to seeing how the entirety will take shape with each successive story.


Estella said...

Sounds like the start of a great series.

Denise Rossetti said...

Thanks, Estella. Oooh, I hope so! :-)