Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner

Title: Jack of Thorns
Author: Amelia Faulkner
Purchase or read on KU at Amazon
Cover Artist: Satyr Designs
Genre: paranormal
Length: 442 pages
Formats MOBI, Print

Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d'Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin's wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it's one Laurence just can't pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn't want any.

If they're to survive Jack's wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence's mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Jack of Thorns is the first book in the Inheritance series and contains mature themes and events which may be distressing to some readers. It has a low heat rating and an HFN ending.

Oh my goodness I loved this book and gulped it down, all 440 pages of it.

Laurence isn’t obviously a sympathetic character at first, but he grew on me. He’s an addict, going nowhere with his life. There is a reason for his need of oblivion, he’s warring with a power he doesn’t understand and can’t control. His meeting with Jack, a fertility god he’s accidentally summoned, is both rewarding for what he learns, and alarming for what Jack wants. Laurence steps and mis-steps, and I was biting my nails for him to get more right than he gets wrong. He has the potential for greatness and disaster.

Quentin, oh, poor Quentin. We get hints and glimpses of the torment that must have been his early life. He’s a member of the British aristocracy, heir to the stiff upper lip, and yet still a commoner with a courtesy title until the old man pops off. He’s what we in the West recognize as a remittance man, although he seems more terrified of being dragged back to the family seat than being bribed to keep his distance. Strange things happen around him, and to him. He has a wild power that he’s never mastered, and until he meets Laurence, doesn’t really believe in. He needs to keep the world at a distance, even with his speech. He refers to himself in the third person, “one does this, one does that”, and it’s only later, when he can trust Laurence, that he’ll use less formal language.

So while Laurence and Quentin are discovering each other, Jack discovers the two of them, and he wants what he needs to survive as a god no one believes in. He can get his worship/energy fix one way or another, and sharing his plans with his mortal tools would only make them balky.

All of this is woven together to create a crashing climax where Laurence and Quentin have to work together and even more importantly, hold it together, to avoid a terrible future that plays on both of their worst fears. This was incredibly done, and kept me glued to the Kindle when I really should have been elsewhere.

The low heat rating is fine, because Quentin is so damaged now that to ask him for physical intimacy would be a grave betrayal. He has the potential to blossom, and I hope he does, but he has a lot of healing to do before it’s reasonable or kind to ask him for more. Also, that means more books about them, which I am all in favor of! 5 marbles

This review was written with a lot of discussion about the book with P.D. Singer, because she loved it too, and because she wouldn’t write a guest review. Said she was finishing work on another book. Honestly. Priorities.

P.D.’s note: Yes, I loved this book, and was thoroughly impressed with the way the author twined the two characters’ flaws and strengths together. Masterfully done! Personal communication with the author: the very formal, referring-to-self-in-third-person speech is standard in social circles most of us will never enter. It also really suits the character.  (That's a review, but Crys the stinker wanted another 300 words, so I made her do it. It's good for you to organize your thoughts, dear.)

Crys's note: :P I used enough of our chat, you might as well have done it yourself.

P.D.'s note: Sigh.

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