Dec 13, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Devil’s Kiss by Zoe Archer (The Hellraisers #1)

Paranormal Romance
December 1 2011
Mass Market Paperback
370 pages
Zebra Books

Yummy Man – James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney (Whit)
Kick Ass Chick – Zora Grey

From Goodreads –
1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger—and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.

Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands—watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind…

Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him…

———-

Devil’s Kiss is the first book in Zoe Archer’s newest series, The Hellraisers.  I read the blurb for this book and assumed the series would be about five gentlemen friends in the late 1700’s who happen to enjoy life a little too much.  I figured that each book would focus on how one friend finds love and happiness yet would still include the other friends.  I love books like that.  But once I started reading Devil’s Kiss, I realised that there is so much more to this series than I had assumed!  I mean, a lot more to it.

Seeing that this is the first book, it sets up the whole main story arc.  Basically, the five friends end up at a Gypsy camp to enjoy themselves for a while when they learn of some Ruins nearby.  Of course, seeing that these men are always up for an adventure, they decide to check them out.  Well, while they are there, they open a door and a box and those happen to contain the devil.  Yup, THE devil.  I liked how the devil was portrayed in this book.  He’s looks like he’s in his late twenties but has pure white hair and is dressed in a dapper black suit.  He speaks like a smooth gentleman too, as he should since his purpose is to trick you into giving him your soul.  And that is what he does with these men.

First of all, I have to say that I was amazed that these five men didn’t even blink when the DEVIL offered them gifts that would answer their heart’s desires.  Yes, the big evil dude is selling it as a thank you for setting him free, but come on.  It’s The Devil!  But they don’t question as the man gives the guys gifts like their one true love or the power of persuasion or even control over the odds.  That last one is for the gambler in the group, Whit.

I have to say that I didn’t much care for Whit in the beginning.  I didn’t really dislike him; I just didn’t care for him.  He gambles for fun all the time – that’s his vice.  He meets a Gypsy girl and plays cards with her.  He is really drawn to her – partly because she’s beautiful and partly because she is winning and he wants to know her secret with the cards.  He sort of but not really kidnaps the girl without really seeing the fault in it.  Yes, he is under the devil’s influence seeing that it happens after receiving the ‘gift’ from the dark-one, but still.  Taking someone against their will, even if it’s not your idea to begin with, not cool.  And you would think that it would be enough to douse any romantic feelings the woman would have had towards the man.  But apparently not.  Not for Zora anyway.

I liked Zora – even though she’s in lust with a man who is holding her captive.  She does not like how women are treated in her time.  She is an independent spirit and doesn’t like feeling trapped or tied down.  The freedom that a gypsy life suits her fine, yet she still have to deal with the men and what is expected of her in that respect.  She likes that Whit treats her as an equal.  That is until he sort of takes her away and traps her.  She is a little pissered (understatement) but still wants Whit.  Um…okay…  She sees the ‘old’ Whit trapped in the ‘new’ Whit and wants to help him get free from the devil’s hold.  But Whit doesn’t see the problem.  He loves how his life is now and thinks Zora is crazy for thinking there is fault with what he was given.  Eventually, Whit sees the truth behind his ‘gift’ and thinks that maybe he and his friends have made a terrible mistake.

Really?!  You think?!  *heads desk*

From the beginning until that part of the book, I was scratching my head a lot and even smacking my forehead off and on.  I didn’t understand why Zora would want Whit or how Whit and the other Hellraisers could not see that maybe what they did was wrong and maybe even a little bit stupid.  But from the moment where Whit notices that he’s a bit of an idiot, the story got more interesting.

I didn’t feel a crazy amount of chemistry between Whit and Zora, but their scenes together were good.  And the smokin’ scenes were…smokin’.  And I am curious to see how they truly end up seeing that he’s a gentleman and she’s a gypsy.  I’m assuming we’ll find out all about that in the next books.  I found the other Hellraisers were fine.  I didn’t feel much for them.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  There was one who intrigued me enough for me to go and see when his book was coming out.

Livia is introduced a little bit into the book and she adds a new dimension to the story.  And let’s not forget the geminus.  Creepy!  He also added to the story and really he becomes the main villain in this book.  The devil is still there, but Whit and Zora mostly deal with the geminus.  I enjoyed how he was thrown in and I really liked the final showdown at the end. Those were some exciting scenes!

As with her Blades of the Rose books, Zoe managed to write an incredibly detailed world.  I believe she is the research queen!  She writes in a way that you swear she either experienced firsthand what she is writing about or that she lived in that time.  Impossible for the most part, so it’s all research for her.  The gypsy life, gambling in those times, the customs and the clubs…all of it believable and really well written.

Overall, while I didn’t feel the immediate pull into this series as I did the Blades books, it has intrigued me enough to want to check out the next book, Demon’s Bride, due out in May of 2012.

Devil’s Kiss is a solid book and a good introduction to this new series.  It sets it up very well and I am curious to see how everything will play out.  I may not have connected with the characters as much as I would have liked, but that is something I am sure will be rectified in the second book seeing that the Hellraiser that I was most curious about, Leo, happens to be the main hero in the next book.  Yippee.

3 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’How disappointing that you have clothed again.’

‘Naked horseback riding is much less appealing than it sounds.’”

Books in The Hellraisers series –
Devil’s Kiss
Demon’s Bride (2012)
Sinner’s Heart (2013)

  1. I have been seeing this book everywhere lately, oh yes everywhere. Still it fails to entice me

  2. Nice review, I do look forward to reading it myself.

  3. blodeuedd – Maybe this series will be more enticing for you after reading reviews for the second book…

    aurian – 🙂

  4. I’m not so sure about this book. I think I’ll wait to see what you think about book two.

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