Author: H. P. Mallory
Publication: Bantam (February 28, 2012)
Description: From H. P. Mallory—the exciting author of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble—comes her new paranormal romance featuring the sassy, self-deprecating witch Jolie Wilkins.
Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned Queen of the Underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.
First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yet magnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’t take jack.
My Thoughts: I got to the end of this one and said "Huh?" I soldiered through 312 repetitious pages of Jolie dithering and second guessing and third guessing herself only to reach a very inconclusive conclusion. This one had so many possibilities. The setting was great. The characters were varied and represented a wide-variety of paranormal species. The potential for a romantic triangle was there. But, ultimately, this one left me feeling flat.
Part of the problem for me was the first person narration by Jolie. I just couldn't empathize with her indecisiveness. She made so many bad decisions that I just hung in there to see if she would ever manage to straighten out her very complicated life. She was so self-deprecating that I couldn't understand why one hot man...err, warlock...would ever fall for her let alone why two would.
While Rand and Sinjin were both pretty, neither was my idea of a romantic hero. Rand was portrayed as over-analytical. So much so that he came across as wishy-washy and constantly blowing hot and cold. Sinjin, the beautiful vampire, was almost completely opaque to us. Jolie persisted in seeing him through rose-colored glasses and refused to accept what he actually said about his motivations. Why he wanted her for more than sex and lunch was completely beyond me. Maybe he didn't .... but the ending?
Ultimately, I couldn't figure out what the story was about other than Jolie's complicated relationships with Rand and Sinjin. There was no other conflict in this one. I did have some hopes the Mercedes - the prophetess - had some sort of agenda but nothing ever happened. All she did was act as a puppet master railroading Jolie into becoming the Queen of the Underworld which put her more into conflict with republican Rand but seemed to have no other effect.
All in all, I can't recommend this story. I got to the last chapter and just about threw the book across the room because it looked like it was going to be an "it was all a dream" ending only to throw in a plot twist that was absolutely unexpected and mind-boggling. It looks like more books are planned for this series but I will never know how it all works out, I give up.
I am going to focus all my energies, all my attentions on my kingdom, and I'm going to become the best Queen I can be.I received the ARC through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.
Who knows, maybe I'll even end up on the cover of a Wheaties box someday.