Monday, January 29, 2018

Master of Crows by Grace Draven

I'm a hopeless romantic at heart; I admit it freely. The moment I read Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights at age 13, I had a thing for brooding, tormented heroes. I first encountered Grace Draven's writing when I ran across Radiance, so despite my horrendous reading piles, I still aim to read her older writing: Case in point – Master of Crows, which is book one (yay!) featuring the sorcerer Silhara, who is the ahem, archetype of Heathcliffian well ... attractiveness.

We encounter the slave Martise, who's the property of the bishop of Cumbria. He promises her her freedom if she can dig up enough dirt to condemn Silhara, who's pretty much been banished to a crumbling mansion. Silhara has had a bit of a rough start in life, and as we discover, he has a reason to have a fair amount of beef with the bishop.

Yet Martise finds herself irrevocably fascinated by Silhara as they try to discover how the ancient god Corruption (who's pretty much gasping to possess Silhara as his new avatar) may be defeated.

What I love about Grace's writing is that it's easy on the eye, and the story drags you in. If I have to compare, she's got the sweet sincerity of Anne McCaffrey's writing style but the gothic setting so beloved of Tanith Lee, with a hint of Storm Constantine for flavour. Some may find this a wee bit too sentimental, but there are times when I just need a slow burn romance in a dark fantasy setting that slowly unpeels with sensual delights. And Grace has a lovely way of describing her surroundings, the tastes, the colours, that appeals to me.

I'm not a huge romance fan, but aesthetically Grace does it for me, and does it well, with more than enough plot to support the erotic elements (which are just right, and not overdone at all). The dialogue between characters also sparkles, and she pays attention to her secondary characters too, so that they're well rounded.

So anyhow, these gothic fantasy romances just work for me, even if I'll make a big deal about reading heavier literature, and I thoroughly enjoyed Master of Crows, which I admit sat in my Kobo app for far too long before I pulled it up onto the screen. The fact that I have to rein myself in from immediately rushing off to purchase the next book says something (I'm still desperately trying to read more of the books that have been lurking in my apps for goodness know how long).

If Grace does by any small chance end up reading this review, do realise you have a serious fangrrrrl sitting right here fanning herself.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the review and the shout-out! I had a lot of fun writing Silhara and Martise, especially Silhara. So glad you liked them.