Let me preface this review by saying that I am a fan of Kendra Leigh Castle’s Dark Dynasties books, and when I found out she was kicking off a new series, I was very excited to get started. But when I started reading, I kept finding all these references to prior events. As a longtime PNR reader, I recognized the signs of a series already in progress and I double and triple checked to see if there were earlier books. This is, indeed, the first book in the Hearts of the Fallen series. BUT my instincts were not wrong. This is a spinoff to her Harlequin Nocturne stories Renegade Angel and “Vivi and the Vampire.” Stories I haven’t read; stories where the events and characters are heavily referenced. Be warned.
Our hero, Phenix, is the fallen angel of song. He and a small band of his brothers spent some time in hell, but now they help guard the supernatural underworld called Terra Noctem and help maintain the balance between good and evil. He has turned off his emotions; cut himself off from humanity… until he meets Sofia. The fiery nurse gets a crash course in all things supernatural when she saves her friend from being killed by a vampire. The rouge vamp could be part of a larger problem threatening the Terra Noctem, which makes it Phenix’s problem… and to make a long story short, Sofia becomes bait to draw out the bad guys and Phenix becomes her bodyguard.
The book started out a little slow for me. Maybe it was because Phenix didn’t really light my fire (until later in the story.) Maybe it was all the references to the backstory that kept pulling me out of the book. Either way, it didn’t click for me at the beginning, but once things started heating up between Phenix and Sofia, it did take off.
As with all of Castle’s books, I really liked the dynamic between the hero and heroine, both emotionally and sexually. The tension is great and payoff is satisfying. Phenix isn’t quite as tortured as most of her heroes, but I did enjoy his journey to regaining his emotions. And I really liked two things about Sophie: 1) She is a grown woman who is comfortable and confident. She isn’t an ingenue virgin or a clinging vine. 2) She stands up for herself. She doesn’t sublimate her own life for one with Phenix. Both are a refreshing change of pace from most heroines in the genre.
The arc concerning the external conflict was fairly good, though it took a firm backseat to the romance. The ending wrapped things up rather quickly, but I was satisfied with how it all played out.
I’m definitely interested in continuing the series. But I really need to read the the previous stories first. The borderline OCD in me will have it no other way.
*ARC provided by Entangled
The Demon’s Songby Kendra Leigh CastleRelease Date: April 21, 2013Publisher: Entangled