Heroine Action/ Adventure Romance
Kick-assery My Rating
Rated 4 stars on Amazon and Goodreads
Are they cursed as well as Chosen?
Ishtaer is a mystery. A blind slave, beaten and broken by her sadistic mistress, with no memory of a time before her enslavement.
Kael Vapensigsson is one of the elite Chosen – a warlord whose strength comes from the gods themselves. But despite all his power and prestige, he is plagued by a prophecy that threatens to destroy everything he loves. When Kael summons Ishtaer to his room and discovers the marks of the Chosen on her body, including the revered mark of the Warrior, both warlord and slave seem to have met their match.
But as their lives become increasingly entangled and endangered, Ishtaer is forced to test whether the Chosen have the ability to choose their own fate.
I’d like to start this review by pointing out that this book is both similar and incredibly different to how the blurb makes it seem. To be honest, I think I put it down and picked it up about 3 times before deciding to read it (I thought the cover was too pretty for it to be too bad), but I’m glad I did, because this is one of my favourite books. This is probably my fourth time reading it, and I decided it was high time to write a review.
This book encouraged a lot of mixed feelings in me, and I’ll try to explain why that is whilst trying to keep any spoilers under wraps.
So, lets start with the first chapter. Kael meets Ishtaer, starved, blind slave, blah blah, who is brought to his room to be his SEX SLAVE for the night. Yuckola. A few paragraphs down, Kael mentions that he’s never taken and unwilling woman in his life, and was, in fact, infamous for it (something about whipping a guy who tried to rape a girl on his ship)… Cue internal sigh of relief that our main homie is not a waste of sexy man space.
BUT (and of course, there is a but), after asking a few questions and getting frustrated at her non-committal answers, he decides, out of the greatness of his heart, that her mistress would be more upset if she goes back untouched (Ish agrees, of course, she’s petrified of saying no) AND TRIES TO HAVE SEXY TIME WITH HER ANYWAY. Bless his little heart. Needless to say, she knees him in the crown jewels, he sends her naked ass out of his room and then grabs a few other (far more willing) ladies to warm his bed. Lights fade, curtains fall and the scene ends.
Fast forward, he saves her life, takes her from her mistress and brings her to a special academy for the Chosen. All is well and good, except he’s still a massive, womanising tool slice who keeps trying to seduce Ish until she fights back and tells him that she would never be with him, etc. etc.
I’m not going to lie, I really didn’t like Kael for the first half of the book, and I know most of that ^ was about him, but I had an issue with Ishtaer too. She was so shy and placid and she just let people walk all over her. I guess that was a product of being tortured and abused for her whole life, so that wasn’t too huge of a deal.
As the story progresses though, and the two (separately- which I liked) warm up, Ishtaer grows into her freedom and becomes a bad-ass, independent woman, and as a result Kael falls into place as well. It hit me about half way through that the reason I fell so deeply in love with this book and its characters and story is BECAUSE of those first few chapters when they both bugged the jeebies out of me. And I appreciate them for their flaws- it makes them seem more human and less “everything I do is perfect” like some authors go for.
I won’t wreck the rest of the book, but I’ll tell you that this is one of those books that make my knees weak and my heart ache. I found it easy to read despite the occasional urge to whack them both, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also appreciated the fact that there wasn’t a love triangle- sure, there were a few guys who had a crush on her, but there was never any mutual connection. It was always just Ish and Kael, or nothing.
“You’re not in that world any more,” he said hoarsely.
“Part of me always will be…”
Kael couldn’t think of anything to say to that.
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Choc Lit
Publication Date: 2014
Cover Photo here