Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Series: Darkest London #1
Published by Forever
Published on: February 1, 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Steampunk
Amazon | Book Depo
Once the flames are ignited…
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family’s fortune decimated and forced her to wed London’s most nefarious nobleman.
They will burn for eternity…
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it’s selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can’t help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn’t felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
I was a paranormal historical romance virgin before Firelight and I couldn’t have picked a better book to pop my cherry with. The story is a darker more gothic version of Beauty and the Beast mixed in with some Phantom of the Opera elements. I was quickly hypnotized by Kristen Callihan’s writing style and remarkably, the spell still wasn’t broken days after I’d finished reading her novel. The love story is timeless, the characters are endearing and the countless mysteries will have you scouring the pages for clues.
This book came highly recommended by several fellow reviewers and now I’m kicking myself for not having listened to them sooner! It is truly one of the better, if not the best book of 2012 written by a debut author. Callihan’s writing is descriptive, artful and just plain addictive. I will never again hesitate before reading one of her novels! I loved the slow burn perfection of the romantic tale; it’s deliciously flirty but not in a frustrating, teasing kind of way. The progression and chemistry between Miranda and Archer made it feel like they were made for each other.
Benjamin is a very enigmatic character and I spent a good part of this book trying to discover his secrets. However, by the end of this novel I felt oddly protective of him and was questioning whether I really wanted to know what he hid behind his mask. He shares so much with readers that asking him to reveal this last, closely guarded mystery almost felt like a betrayal. If the truth hadn’t been essential to the progression of the plot I honestly would have been ok with not knowing. Miranda is a strong heroine who’s not afraid of a challenge; she did agree to marry Archer after all. I enjoyed her fearlessness, sharp tongue and independent nature but she didn’t succeed in captivating me quite like Benjamin did. I’m a little sad that he eclipsed her and I’m hoping that Ember, the novella, will help to rectify that.
The romantic relationship between the main characters was perfection. Normally the anticipation would have driven me bananas but in this case, the journey was actually the best part. The wait for Archer and Miranda’s first kiss was excruciating, never have I wanted protagonists to lock lips as much as these two. The sexual tension is so thick throughout this book that I feared that the pages might actually ignite. I spent a good chunk of this novel thinking “just do it already!!”
It’s now been a week since I finished this book and I’m still thinking about it thanks to Kristen Callihan’s engrossing way with words. Firelight should be savored not rushed but, one this is for certain, it should definitely be read.