I'm just going to say that this is a hard review to write. And I can't put my finger on why. I thoroughly enjoyed the world of the battling Seelie and Unseelie. I enjoyed our main characters immensely. And after a small case of info-dumping in the beginning, the story hits it's stride. So what gives? I have no idea. So I'm simply going to share with you some of what I enjoyed and some of what i didn't.
The world Bast has created in Wicked Enchantment is carefully crafted and well thought-out. And has to be appreciated. I got the impression that in this case the world came before the characters. Every piece fits. And she brings new ideas to the table; which are always a treat for me. The idea of the "wild hunt" has to be my favorite.
"All of them had been handpicked by unknown forces to be his posse, the Furious Host. Every night they formed the Wild Hunt, the group that tales had been told of in almost every culture of almost every land since time had begun. Every night they met here and did their sacred duty. Every night, they rode." The host is responsible for ushering souls to the every-after, and even though it's a rather dark subject matter I found it riveting.
Our main characters Aislinn and Gabriel are great leads. They're imperfect and each have a past that must be dealt with. They're strong minded but warmhearted. And the chemistry between them is arousing. One of their first encounters sums of each of them nicely.
"...What movie about me have you made in your head, sweet Aislinn? And without even knowing me."
"That you're a dangerous, arrogant, superficial man with piles of discarded, heartbroken female bodies on each side of the path you tread."
He studied her with hard, glittering, dark blue eyes. "Your honesty is very refreshing. Im sorry that's your first impression of me. Perhaps I can change it."
"Maybe you can."
"A little too honest that's my first impression of you."...
Can you feel the steam rising? ...and that was in the first chapter.
Having a tiny little sub-story pop up every 75 pages or so is one of my least favorite methods of creating a climax. It's hard for me to ever really connect with the characters involved, even if they're only meant to be the bad guys. As the story went on each time this came along it felt more like an annoyance rather than an important part of the plot. Almost as though I wanted to just skip over those few pages and get back to the "real" story.
Typically in a series with a pack of interesting secondary characters, the author has plans for a long running series where each new volume covers a different characters. Throughout Wicked Enchantment we get to know Bella and Ronan, and I truly enjoyed them. That was the problem. Their story was already complete. And even though we're given the gist of it I felt robbed of a great adventure. I even went back to make sure that this was in fact the first of the series. It is.
Like I mentioned before, the author has a small case of info-dumping. I understand that this is a first book in a brand new world, but there was something about the way it's all delivered that didn't connect with me. It all came off feeling like a history lesson more than it should have. The world is interesting to be clear, but at times I wanted to say "enough, there's too much going on." In my opinion, a PNR is suppose to be about the romance, and that didn't feel like the author's focus here.
Bottom Line: Aislinn and Gabriel are great together, and this new series warrants another look.