I received this book for free from The Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by CreateSpace on November 5th, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Fae, Romance, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal
Source: The Author
For fans of Labyrinth, Sarah J. Maas, and Laini Taylor.
There are three rules to surviving the Fae—and I’m about to break every single one.
Rule #1. Never cross into Faerie.
When I’m chased across the enchanted border and caught by its sinister ruler of the sky, the pretty trickster with a clever tongue offers me a deal.
Rule #2: Never bargain with a Fae.
But I don’t have a choice. For thirteen days, I have to survive in his mountainous maze of crooked bridges, deceptive stairways, and devious inhabitants. Refuse, and my sisters will suffer as punishment.
Rule #3: Never fall for the enemy.
I should have known my sexy captor wouldn’t play fair. The deeper I plunge into this dangerous world of Solitary Fae, the more I’m entangled in their ruler’s seductive web of desire—and the forbidden temptations he offers.
The price of losing this wicked game is everything I love. But winning might just cost me my heart.
I am always anxious when I start a new series by an author I love. I worry about whether I will enjoy it as much as their other works, whether or not it will speak to me and capture my imagination. Going into Kiss the Fae I had a certain amount of trepidation. I have read many books about Fae (or Faeries) and have loved some and positively loathed others. So this, the first book in a new series Vicious Faeries, would either leave me cold or with warm squishy feelings.
I shouldn’t have worried. I loved this book!
Full disclosure: I am part of the author’s ARC team but this in no way influences my rating. This book was everything I wanted it to be and more besides. First, a little bit of background. Yes this book is about Faeries (Vicious Faeries if we are being technical) but it is set in a different world to our own so doesn’t fall under the urban fantasy label.
One of the main themes in this book is the notion of found family. Lark (our main character) was taken in as a youngster by a kindly man Papa Thorne after she runs away from the toil and danger of her life as a child chimney sweep. Not long after, two other girls, Juniper and Cove, become additions to the family and Lark is raised with and thinks of them as her sisters.
Lark, Juniper and Cove live a mostly peaceful life with their adoptive father, except for the odd bit of animal rescuing from hunters and poachers. The only pall over their village is its proximity to the Faerie lands.
A terrible uprising occurred about a decade prior where the humans, fed up with being subjected to the whims of the denizens of the Faerie lands, mounted an uprising which saw many young Fae and their fauna kidnapped, captured and killed.
Lark is a spitfire of a young woman, who craves excitement and often finds it in young men who come visiting their little village. However, when she accidently takes to her bed a poacher (and thief), she gets more than she bargained for when it turns out he was using her for his own nefarious means and plans to rob the family of their prized possessions and the animals they have cared for in their own private animal sanctuary.
Forced to flee when the poacher’s fellows show up, Lark has no choice but to take cover over the Faerie border. Her sisters, always ready to back her up, follow her there. This sets of a chain reaction of events that could have catastrophic repercussions for each sister.
After giving the poachers the slip, the three sisters return home but they are soon compelled to answer a summons and upon their arrival into the Faeries lands are immediately split up, much to their horror. Lark is summoned by the ruler of the sky named Cerulean – a solitary Fae who is both wickedly handsome, and treacherously devious.
Lark is given a task – she must summit their mountain lands within thirteen days, all the while dodging dangers such as disappearing staircases where one wrong foot could mean certain death, and a twisted labyrinth full of wild and untamed creatures. However, the biggest threat is Cerulean himself, the elegant trickster who is watching her every step. Not to mention the strange bond that seems to thrum between them, dismaying them both in equal measures.
Nothing is as it seems in Faerie – and Lark will have her work cut out for her…
Wow. Wow. Wow. Seriously, this book packed a wallop of a punch. I think Lark might just be my favourite heroine that Natalia has conjured up. She is strong-willed and stubborn but also kind and loving at the same time. Her bond with her sisters is lovely, despite the fact that they have little in the way of page-time together. You can feel the love and deep appreciation they have for each other jumping off the pages.
Lark also has a deep affinity for the suffering of animals. She favours all creatures that fly but cares deeply about a myriad of animals under her care. She also develops bonds with some unlikely fauna in the Faerie lands.
What an amazing journey she has.
Cerulean is everything that a love interest should be. Like all of the Fae, he has a deep mistrust of humans, yet Lark is able to slither her way into his heart anyway. He is sexy and mysterious and more than a match for headstrong Lark! I loved them both separately and together.
I also really liked Moth, a young Faerie who helps Lark, despite her many protestations. Also I would be remiss not the mention the fauna, that is, the animals that play a huge role in this story. They are amazing and fully-realized characters in their own right, from the wise owl who raised Cerulean to the menagerie of animals that have been provided a sanctuary by this supposed fierce Faerie leader (after they were captured and tortured by the humans from Lark’s village).
Lark soon begins to fall in love with these animals, and soon thereafter Cerulean himself. However, the task that she has been given cannot be forgotten, and threatens not only her life but her newfound bond with Cerulean too.
Torn between the love for her family, her duty to them, and her feelings for Cerulean and those he holds dear, Lark has a no choice but to continue on her set path even if she breaks her own heart and Cerulean’s in the process. Will she succeed? Well, you’ll have to read to find out!!
Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this book. The setting and world-building are top-notch (as is usual from this author). The characters are equal part intriguing and endearing and the story is fantastic. Books about the Fae can go either way for me as mentioned before, and I’m happy to report this book did not disappoint. I absolutely cannot wait for Juniper’s story next (and then Cove’s thereafter). This world has hooked me in its claws (see what I did there?) and it will not let go.
to sum up
I have a very strong feeling that this is going to the top of my best books read this year pile! I would even go as far to say as it might just be my favourite Natalia Jaster book yet (and that’s saying something because I adored her Foolish Kingdoms and Selfish Myths series so much).
The romance is written so well but it never overshadows the plot. I read for the characters (I have always been a character-driven reader) and this book certainly delivers on that front. Cerulean is right up their with Poet (from the Foolish Kingdoms series) and Malice (from the Selfish Myths series) as my kind of swoony romance lead. He is sexy and mysterious but with a hidden vulnerability that is like catnip to me. A new ‘book boyfriend’ for sure!
Lark, I love just as much. She is an awesome badass female character who makes things happen and isn’t in the least bit passive which makes it a joy to be in her head. She is just the right mix of mouthy and wild, but with hidden depths that really round out her character.
This book is really everything you want in a book about Faeries. It’s fabulous – so what are you waiting for? Read it already! I cannot recommend this enough, especially if you are anything like me and need to fill the hole left by the Folk of the Air series. A well-deserved 5/5 stars.