Sunday, March 1, 2009

Denise Rosetti, The Flame and the Shadow

Denise Rossetti
The Flame and the Shadow
Book One in the Four-Sided Pentacle Series
Publisher - Ace Penguin Group
Erotic Fantasy Romance

A sizzling new fantasy series from a hot new talent.

Some are drawn to the light. Some are drawn to the dark. Some desire both . . . Grayson of Concordia, known on countless worlds as the Duke of Ombra, is a mercenary, a sorcerer of shadows-a man whose soul is consumed by darkness. For Gray, the bleak savagery in his heart is manifest in an entity he calls Shad. He has long resisted Shad's enticements, but when he is hired to kidnap a fire witch, he seizes the chance to restore his soul-no matter the cost. Cenda's heart is ash. Since the death of her precious baby daughter, life has lost all meaning for the fire witch. Slowly, she has worked to master her powers and go on living. But when she encounters Gray, her will is no match for her desire. But her love may not survive the terrible discovery of Gray's betrayal . . .
Wow...This was quite a unique fantasy romance, but then again most fantasies are quite unique. Another author with an amazing way with words.

Cenda, the leading female protagonist finds herself mourning the loss of her baby, but with that loss she was given a most unique "gift"...the gift of fire. Once a witch who possessed nothing but a tall skinny form, a plain and forgettable woman, now she finds herself fleeing from people who want her so they can control her gift of fire, an extremely rare talent among witches.

Grayson, also known as the Duke of Ombra, has a secret. His shadow, otherwise known as Shad, is alive and of a separate mind from him. Once a mercenary, Gray is now a musician with the Unearthly Oprah. He sings most seductively, entrancing his audience. Hired by a technomage, his mission is to abduct Cenda and hand her over to her. But a wizard promises Gray that if he brings the fire witch to him he can restore his soul, relieving him of Shad, his once best friend, now his most hated, disgusting secret. Gray will do anything to eliminate the abomination that is Shad. His plan...seduce Cenda, hopefully to cause her to willingly accompany him to the wizard.

But what Gray does not realize is that Cenda holds the power to heal him in a way none other ever could. As his seduction of her intensifies he realizes that she is more to him than he ever bargained for.

Gray is a most complex character. His past, his relationship with Shad and the heartache and shame it has caused him, is gripping and engrossing. Denise Rossetti put together a fascinating story, rich with detail and well developed, multifaceted characters.

Speaking of characters. There is a boy, Slop is his name. He's maybe ten. Dirty, a beggar. His favorite thing to say is, "Fookin' 'ell". It's rather comical. Cenda asks him to come and stay with her. He asks if he would have to stay clean. She says yes and of course his reply is "Fookin' 'ell". It was a nice little touch of lightness to mix in with all the darkness of Cenda's and Gray's past.

The scenes were incredibly well written between Cenda and Gray. The role that Shad plays was an added bonus to the uniqueness of this story. The world had kind of a futuristic feel with mentions of otherworldly traveling but also had a historical feel as well. The two blended together, creating a fresh new world.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely keep my eye on the lookout for the next books to follow. An intense and well satisfying read! A for sure keeper. If I were to do a grading system, I'd give it an A!

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