10 years ago, Kaye barely survived a wraith attack. She was only 15, not yet in control of her power to wield fire. She had just broken off an arranged marriage to an ancient powerful mage lord, but what choice did she have once she discovered a nearly dead angel, chained in the basement? She wanted to save that beautiful being. She couldn't, but he knew her intentions and called his brethren to save her in her moment of need.
Now Kaye uses her fire to make a living, selling glimpses of the future in her flames. But everything changes when she is approached by an angel named Bastion. He wants her to help the angelic order infiltrate the Mage Council to find out how they're aligned with the soul-sucking wraiths. And he offers to pay her handsomely for the job. The money is a good incentive, but even more, Kaye sees a chance to rebuild her own house in the mage world and perhaps even get revenge on Ferro, her betrothed from all those years ago.
I was very intrigued by the world building here. It's dark and very cool. The mages and angels are enemies but the line between good and evil isn't as obvious as you would think. There is a fantastic cast of supporting characters, which serve to enrich the story. The writing is good and the plot pulled me in from the very beginning. Even though this story is set within the Shadow series, it's the first of the Shadow Kissed spinoff books, and it's very accessible to new readers.
But. I also had some problems. First of all, the development of the relationship between Bastion and Kaye was erratic. It went from an unspoken attraction, to *BAM* sex, and then *BAM* love. It was jerky and abrupt. And when the love was declared, I felt like I had whiplash. Too fast and too unexpected. Problem number two: Kaye's actions in the second half of the book. I don't want to spoil too much, but she essentially sacrifices her relationship for the greater good. The wrongs she commits against Bastion are egregious. Yet, they are glossed over more than I would have liked. Frankly, I hated her actions on principle, but if they were going to happen, I feel like it should have been laid out in all its sordid glory instead of mentioned after the fact. Then, there should have been more repercussions.
Other than those issues, I did like it. The very best things going for it are the world building and character development. I felt completely submersed in the world of the Order and the Mages. And I felt like Kaye, Bastion and even Ferro were fleshed out with motivations that made sense, even if I didn't always like how it all played out.
Rating: B-*ARC Provided by NetGalley