Oh this is fun! Kerrelyn Sparks is on the blog today with the first in The Embraced contemporary fantasy romance series, narrated by Jill Tanner. Please read on for my review of the audio version of
How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days
The first and long awaited title I’ve been able to read and review from Kerrelyn Sparks, and I was not disappointed at all with the story, the world-building or the characters. I did not, unfortunately, get quite the buzz from the narrative performance from Jill Tanner, and there was one word, mispronounced and overused that made me grimace. Repeatedly. But, I digress.
A world that is comprised of five kingdoms that carries a feel of the medieval, with islands, competing factions, horrendous kings and a magical element, The Embraced, who are born under the night of the two moons, and all carry the weight of their special powers and a death sentence from the King. Right off, you can’t help but admire Sparks’ skill in building the world and settings without overwhelming readers with an infodump: and making you need to know more. But this is Leofric and Luciana’s story: full of all the drama, hope and understanding (not to mention dangers) that one could wish for.
Leofric is the Beast – able to contain and harness the power of lightning, the only reason he wasn’t killed at birth was his relationship to the King. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that anyone who touches him, when his powers are charged, will be struck down – even casual touches bring sparks. Poor thing: he’s never been held or touched, and is usually feared and set apart: all leading to his own feelings of unworthiness. But, he’s betrothed, and must marry (King’s rules) and appear in court. A man who is fiercely protective of those he cares for – he’s not going to misstep here.
Then there is Luciana: living on an island with her “sisters”, she believes herself an orphan without actual family: only the other children on an island that harbors Embraced children. But, when her father appears and requests she stand in for her now dead twin sister, marry the beast and come off the island: she acquiesces. Many changes for this one – and while at first she is quite biddable and unwilling to make waves to choose for herself, her strength and her innate sweetness do see her through when meeting the “beast”.
Oh these two were adorable together: Leofric’s innate protectiveness and Luciana’s heart do work wonders on them both, as each finds support, caring, understanding and yes, love, in the other. Secondary characters add to the story with humor, sad stories and possible potential for future matches, as this world where a very powerful yet mortal King is desperately seeking to hoarde power and allies that will make him invincible. A clever start for a new series that will have people (me included) anxious for the next.
Narration for this story is provided by Jill Tanner, and sadly she did not manage to rise to the occasion. With repeated mispronunciations (particularly with the word grimace – which repeats far too often and is thus highlighted in neon) the boilerplate ‘read to get through’ feeling left me disappointed. SO much could have been different had she used emotion, smiled occasionally while reading, or even managed to convey some of the wonder and danger that Sparks put into the text. But, it was a flat performance, feeling very much like a read this chapter moment in high school, where you read to get done – not to actually engage that I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the audio version – but have bought the paperback for my own library.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 1 Story 4
Title: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Also in this series: So I Married a Sorcerer, Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon
Genre: Historic Fantasy Romance
Narrator: Jill Tanner
Published by: Recorded Books, St. Martin's Press
Published on: 7 March, 2017
Source: Recorded Books
Audio Length: 14 Hours: 14 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.
Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?
If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?
A copy of this title was provided via Recorded Books for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.