Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: The Deepest Well by Juliette Cross

The Deepest Well 
by Juliette Cross
Series:  Age of Gray #1
Pub. Date:  Feb. 2, 2016
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Pages:  327
Format:  eARC
Source:  NetGalley


My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Love can stand the test of time. Can it rise above the taint of Hell?

Lady Katherine Blakely is married to a monster. On the same night she witnesses how low her husband can sink, she meets a charming stranger, a gentleman from top to toe. Yet even her gallant rescuer is possessed of a dark side.

Lord George Draconis Thornton, commander of the Dominus Daemonum, is on a mission to expel the demon prince Damas back to the underworld. But a golden-haired beauty derails his plans and stirs an attraction he s never felt before, not even for his centuries-dead wife.

Discovering Lord Blakely is in league with Damas, George sweeps Katherine away from the chaos and devilry threatening her life. With every touch, their love grows by joyful leaps and bounds.

Sensing his enemy s vulnerability, Damas kidnaps Katherine to his hellish lair, where he wages a sensual assault on her defenses. As George tears at heaven and earth to find her, he is painfully aware of only one way to save her soul. The cost will break her heart and destroy his own.

"Warning: Contains wolves in gentlemen's clothing, a precipitous descent into Hell, and a frightening glimpse of a post-apocalyptic world where angels and demons wage war for dominion on earth."


So it's my understanding that The Deepest Well is a prequel spinoff to The Vessel Trilogy, which I have not yet read. For once my procrastination is paying off, because I usually like to start with the prequel if given the chance. So now that I have read this one, I am all geared up to start Forged in Fire soon.

I heard lots of chatter about this book from blogger and Goodreads friends before I started reading, so I kinda knew what to expect going in. My friend Deanna told me not to read it until I had the tissues ready. So I knew this one had to be a weekend read instead of my usual lunchtime office reading. She was right in that regard - this was not a happy read. George and Katherine's story is heartwrenching and sad. There was so much DOOM! I despaired a lot as I read this book.

Let me start with the hero, because he stood out to me a little more than the heroine. But what do you expect of St. George the Dragon Slayer?!?  Seriously - freaking George Draconis, slayer of dragons, is actually a demon slayer.  And that dragon he slayed? It was a demon's pet. How fun is that? So Georgie boy is sort of a solider for the Flamma of Light (angels) fighting against the Flamma of Dark (fallen angels and demons). George is actually the commander of the army, the soldiers who are called Dominus Daemonum (Master of Demons). In the early 19th Century, George meets the beautiful Katherine at a ball, and its pretty much love at first sight. Only Kate is already married to a horrible man. When George steals Katherine for a waltz, it sets a heart-rending chain of events into motion. George was a great hero, a big auburn-haired warrior with a huge sword, he brought visions of Sam Heughan to mind. His love and devotion for Katherine leapt off the page.

Lady Katherine Blakely was charmed into marriage as her father lay dying, only to learn her husband's true nature soon after. Having endured her brutish husband for two years, Katherine seems somewhat despondent until she meets George and that spark starts to come back. I loved Katherine and George together... but I already told you this was not a happy story. So you know there are some major trials and tribulations for this couple to face. I have no complaints about Katherine - other than she did not listen to me when I told her not to run off because there was DOOM impending. They never listen, do they? Given what Katherine went through, I understood most of her actions so I found her to be a relatable heroine.

I enjoyed the story and the world building, but I have come to expect that from Juliette. She builds unique paranormal worlds that you can easily envision as you are reading. I also liked that we got both the hero's and heroine's points of view. This always helps me establish a stronger emotional connection to the character. I think I had a stronger emotional connection to George in this book - I just really felt his love, hope and despair for Katherine. I wish we could have had more happy together time for our couple, but perhaps we will get to peek into their HEA in future books in the series. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews


About the Author

Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

Juliette is a multi-published author, including her Nightwing series with Kensington Publishing and The Vessel Trilogy with Samhain Publishing.


Author Links:  Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Website

Giveaway


Excerpt


“How do you know about the world of demons, George? How did you move as they did? I thought I had fainted by the pond and awakened beside the barn, but I didn’t, did I?”

Had she imagined being transported from the horses to the barn in a long blink?

“No, you didn’t faint. It’s called sifting. A power of the angels, to move from place to place at will.”

“But they weren’t angels.”

“They were once.”

Fallen angels. Could this be possible? What did that make the man standing before her? He inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Perhaps I should define the two realms for you.”

“That would be lovely.”

His mouth quirked at her sarcasm, though he chose not to comment. “There is the Flamma of Light and the Flamma of Dark.”

“Flamma?”

“Fire, in Latin, which is the common tongue between the heavenly and demonic hosts.”

She pulled her hand from his and stood, staring into the flames. “Why fire?”

He joined her and removed his wet coat. “I asked the same question once.” He winced as he peeled the coat off his right arm. A pool of red had soaked through his undershirt.

“Oh God, your arm, George. You’re bleeding.”

“It’s nothing.”

“It’s not nothing.”

Just as he had unbuttoned her jacket, she swiftly unfastened his waistcoat, then his shirt and peeled them off him. Steering her gaze away from his finely sculpted chest and broad shoulders, she examined the cut more closely. She bent over and, with a quick rip, tore a long strip from her shift.

“You needn’t do that, Katherine.”

“Be still and let me mend you as best I can.”

He held his arm straight so that she could wrap the fabric around his arm.

“Why fire?” she asked again, busying herself with the makeshift bandage.

“Flamma are all touched by fire, an otherworldly power given to each of us.”

She remembered the way he moved, the way the demons moved, with supernatural speed and agility. A drop of rain dripped from his tousled hair, landing on his shoulder before rolling forward. She followed its path as it slid down and over his pectoral. Trying to regain her composure, she inhaled a deep breath, which was a mistake. She breathed in the heady scent of rain and beautiful man, her agitation amplified by his proximity and the undeniable power surging through his body. She longed to touch him, to know what all that strength would feel like under her fingertips, but she was paralyzed by her own desire and wavered on a dangerous precipice. When she’d cinched the bandage into a neat knot and finally chanced a glance at him, his smile nearly buckled her knees.

“There,” she whispered. “That will stop the bleeding.”

“I’m not so sure.”

“What do you mean?”

His shoulders went rigid as if he were holding himself in tight control. Katherine knew his thoughts had wandered away from the wound in his arm. She asked again, “What do you mean, George?”

His eyes slid closed. “I love to hear my name on your lips.” He opened his eyes again, his jaw set in grave lines. “What I mean, my lady, is that I am bleeding inwardly, and I know of only one way to stop it.”

Katherine was well aware of the tension filling the room, of the rise of her heart rate, of the longing in his gaze, which surely matched her own. She realized she was tumbling over that cliff. And she didn’t care, quite content to drown in his aquamarine gaze.

“How can I stop it, George? Tell me.”

“I’d rather show you.”