So I had so much fun with this author’s Divinity Warriors series, and the two medieval romances that were stand alones that I was really excited to be offered the opportunity to start on the Realm Immortal Audio Book.
There are really four or five different stories that comprise this book, making it the perfect introduction to the series and providing the never ending conflict that has existed for eons. Set in the early 15th century, the medieval themes and references are beautifully integrated, showing the author’s true enjoyment of the fashion, customs and beliefs of the age.
The primary protagonists in this story are Lady Juliana, soon to be married and not relishing the decisions, but having no power to change her own destiny. Her life is reasonably carefree: she spends much time imagining and dreaming. Merrick is the King of the Unblessed: an elven man with the task of separating the evil from the good, and finding a balance in the world. He hears Juliana speaking of her desire for adventure, and is instantly obsessed with her. When he arranges to kidnap Juliana and make her his own, the characters start to arrive fast and furious, and the subplots and major conflicts start to appear,.
Merrick and Juliana have a chemistry that is palpable: while she laments her lack of self-control around Merrick, she cannot help but enjoy their more lustful and steamy interactions. While Merrick is not one for soft words and gentle ministrations, his tender and considerate care for her, despite his often harsh delivery make his own internal struggles even more poignant.
See, Merrick and his brothers Lucien and Ean rule the three realms of the Immortals, Unblessed, Damned and Blessed. The three have a familial connection that none has severed, and this allows them a sense of one another’s emotions, presence and struggles. Merrick was never meant to take his throne, and for him the struggle between his own personal preferences and the necessary evil that he must loose on the world are constantly battling within him. Lucien is deliciously and unapologetically evil: his delight in all things dark and deviant are readily apparent, and his lover Mia alternates in awe, fear and desire of him. Ean is the King of the Blessed, and as such he fights for all that is good and right. Yet even he understands the need for some darkness to creep into the light: allowing for the reset of both nature and the true appreciation.
Add to that a castle full of goblins who love to be told children’s stories, two sprites with a love-hate relationship, gnomes, fairies and even a few of Juliana’s brothers and the action is fast paced with characters providing tension, laughs and even steam. While it puts me in the mind of the film Labyrinth in the unique voicing and introduction of characters, the unique inclusions of ultra-alpha males, humor and historical references make it utterly fresh and individual.
Narration is provided by Ross Pendleton, and the review on his delivery is mixed. While I found his narration to move beautifully from one character to the next, with enunciation that was clear and precise, there was a great effort expended to ‘act’ voices of characters, some working better than others. It took some time to acclimate myself to his voicing choices, and were I not familiar with a similar delivery style from a weekly podcast that I listen to, I would have found many of the changes in pitch, tone and pacing to be distracting. What I can say is that as you listen more the choices start to make sense and do not distract from the writing and the flow of the story.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 3 Story 5
Title: King of the Unblessed
Author: Michelle M. Pillow
Genre: Historical Romance
Narrator: Ross Pendleton
Published by: The Raven Books
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 44 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Tantor Audio ♦Direct from Publisher
The choice is simple: go with him or die.
Realm Immortal, Book One
Merrick, dark elfin King of Valdis, had once been heir to all that was good--happiness and pleasure his domain. Now, trapped as the ruler of mischief, king of necessary evil, he stands on a precipice of choice. On one side, his estranged brother, now ruler of what should have been Merrick's and, on the other, King Lucien of the Damned. Both would sway him. Damnation is winning.
Lady Juliana of Bellemare is from a human family, protected by the Blessed, coveted by the Damned. Betrothed to an old friend of her father's, Juliana is resigned to living out her days close to her childhood home, longing for an adventure, never dreaming she'd get what she wished for. When her fiance is murdered and the children of Bellemare are stolen, Juliana is sent on a quest in a strange realm where appearances are deceiving.
Merrick brings more adventure and passion than any woman could want. Can she withstand the temptations of the Unblessed king? The spell she weaves over him is more than he can resist and, desperate to be the one to rule her, Merrick offers her a choice; either come with him until he tires of her...or die.
A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.