Author: Kristen Callihan
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Series: Darkest London (Book 0.5)
Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Format: eBook, 92 Pages
ASIN: B006T2KUPI (Grand Central Publishing)
ISBN-13: 978-1455516551 (Grand Central Publishing)
Reviewed by: Kristie
After a fire consumes the Ellis family fortune, the beautiful and resourceful Miranda finds herself faced with an impossible dilemma: enter a life of petty crime or watch her family succumb to poverty. But once her fiancé learns of her descent into danger—and of the strange, new powers she’s discovered—saving her family may come at the high price of her heart.
When Lord Benjamin Archer’s one chance for redemption is destroyed by corrupt London antiquarian Hector Ellis, he vows to take what Ellis values most—his daughter Miranda. Forced to hide his face behind masks, Archer travels the world hoping to escape the curse that plagues him so that he can finally claim his prize.
But once Archer returns home to London, will it be revenge he seeks? Or will the flame-haired beauty ignite new, undeniable desires?
Quick & Dirty: This prequel novella helps set the dark tone to Firelight, but the events within may be better understood after reading the novel.
Opening Sentence: “This is the story of a beast, so great and fearsome that he was reviled by all. And of a merchant’s daughter, brave and beautiful, whose love for the beast redeemed his soul.”
First of all I have to say that I read Ember after reading Firelight. After seeing some of the reviews on Amazon saying not to read the novella until after Firelight I decided to wait and read it after. I would have to agree with that sentiment. Ember is, by all rights, a prequel novella to Firelight. All the events in Ember, except one, take place between the Prologue and Chapter One of Firelight. Every scene in the novella really does help explain the back story to Firelight that was mentioned in the novel but not explained.
Ember begins with the warehouse fire that starts the downfall of Miranda’s family. Then it skips to after Miranda and Archer met in the dark alley. Archer is searching for a cure to his mysterious appearance and Miranda is moving on with her life as a thief. The stories do intertwine. The only thing I found weird was the fact that Miranda’s story line was two years in the past from Archer’s story but a dream connected them together, like it was happening at the same time.
As a standalone novella, it is intriguing and makes me want to know more about the characters. The plot is mainly about Archer getting back to Miranda, but I think some of the mystery that I loved so much about Archer is removed if you read this first. I did like the fact that Miranda is not as strong as a heroine as she is in Firelight since these are the events that helped make her a well-developed woman, it makes perfect sense.
I would almost say that Ember is all the background that was taken out of Firelight for the sake of pacing and plot, even though I don’t think this was the case.
Ember is a perfect read after you have read Firelight. If you like the characters of Archer and Miranda it helps explain quite a bit of the background. Once again I will say I think it would take away some of the mystery if you read it first, but I would recommend reading the novella, if you liked Firelight.
His smiled curled. It was an ugly thing, that smile. He was almost within touching distance. “’Tis the way of the world, kitten.” Like a snake, he uncoiled, grabbing her by the elbow and yanking her close. The thick tang of unwashed male and street living filled her nostrils. “Come now,” he murmured, “be a good pussy, eh?”
Her stomach rolled but a sudden surge of defiance hit her. She was the monster here, not her stalker. Heat, need, and power surged within her. The fire wanted out. “I’ll give you one warning. I’m not like other girls. I will hurt you. Badly.”
He chuckled. “Promise?”
Before she could think, he slammed her against the wall, his forearm pressing into her throat, cutting off her air. Shock and pain rendered her immobile. Her mouth worked open and shut, trying to scream, searching for breath. Her gaze caught the tattered remnants of a poster advertisement for bath salts as he went for her skirts, jerking them up with eager fingers. Shame pulled at her insides. She ought to have run, this was her fault.
His damp breath panted over her neck. Another hard tug at her petticoat brought her hips against his, and his intentions. All at once, a sense of herself flooded back to the fore, and with it, her rage. Miranda clutched his coat sleeve. A pinch of something like pain but tinged with pleasure rippled down her fingers. Instantly, fire caught hold of the greasy wool of his sleeve. It licked up his coat with a hiss.
He jumped back with a screech, the frantic movement only making the flames grow. They liked to dance. It gave them power.
Pain seared her throat from where he’d pinned her. “I did warn you.” It worried her how flat her voice was, and something deep within her heart froze and turned black and pitiless.
The Darkest London Series:
FTC Advisory: Grand Central Publishing provided me with a copy of Ember. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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