Reviewed: March 5, 2010
Genre: Gothic Paranormal Romance
Series: Strangely Beautiful, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 322 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
I'm not a fan of historical romances (I used to be, but they fell out of my favor years ago). In fact, I almost exclusively read urban fantasy and paranormal romance - and Gothic romance? Never. But something about this book, whether it was the introduction to the paranormal Gothic romance or the title or whatever, caught my eye.
I am so glad it did.
I couldn't put it down. I just couldn't tear my eyes away from the story, and I can not remember the last time I read a book in which the romance between the leads, Percy and Alexi, provided me such a roller coaster ride of emotions. Hope and frustration, love and bitter disappointment, disbelief and disdain, agony and pleasure, all encompassed the ride that was the coming together of the sheltered Miss Percy and her forbidding and commanding Professor. And around this sweet, sweet romance is the ingenious and original story of six people chosen to fight the darkness and maintain the balance between the living and the dead, releasing the souls of the wicked from their taunting and capture of the souls of light. Six people with their own hopes, dreams, fears, and passions who work together despite class and circumstance, chosen and filled with the gifts of once immortals. And the mix of historical England and Greek mythology - which could have been so discordant - was seamless and flawlessly executed.
I loved it - even when the story was frustrating me to no end, for the blind faith in the faithless and the rigid code of propriety so far beyond the ken of a progressive, modern woman. I loved it even when I wanted to stomp on the delicates of the professor himself for his cutting words. I loved it even when I yearned to see a more steely, worldly spine supporting the all too self-effacing Percy. I loved it for its depth of character and sweeping romance, for the taut wending of a notorious killer into a mythos of evil and potential world-ending damnation. I loved it for the glimmer of brilliance in the conception of secondary and ancillary characters whose lines may have been brief, but whose presence were intrinsically valuable. This was a book that I shouldn't have been able to stomach, and yet, in large part due to the expansive, intelligent writing and sheer commitment of the author, I found myself captivated by this exceedingly strange and hauntingly beautiful tale.
I'm looking forward to the sequel, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. In it I hope to see a further strengthening of one Percy Parker, and further hope to see more story development for the five friends of Alexi that make up the rest of his coterie.
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