ARC Review: East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye

ARC Review: East of Ecstasy by Laura KayeEast of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye

Series: #4 Hearts of the Anemoi
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Entangled Select on April 22, 2014
Length: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

And it all comes down to this.  I have followed this series from the beginning with Owen and Megan’s story that introduced the Anemoi- Greek gods who control the winds and the seasons.  Each succeeding story has built on the last offering another romance and leading up to the show down with the bitter and angry Anemoi, Eurus of the East.  I closed the last book with tears still streaming down my face for what the war has cost the family, but I was eager to press on for the exciting conclusion that I just knew would top everything.  And let me tell you people, It. Did.

The Anemoi gods and minor gods were hit hard by the evil betrayal of one of their own and are on the ropes.  They not only have to fight for their own lives and those they love, but the fate of all humanity.  Eurus, God of the East Wind and Caretaker of Autumn, has grown in his evil crazed state willing to wipe out anyone and everyone in his path.  No longer content to continue his tyrannous rule in his own territory, he will make a power grab for them all now that he has stolen the powerful ring of the Supreme god of Winds and Storms that controls all the winds.

There is still hope that he will fail.  Eurus’ son, Devlin, has taken into himself a form of powerful and unstable magic that he works to harness so he can match his sadistic father’s added power and take him down before he can do more harm.  Unfortunately, Devlin has to work alone because he is tainted by association with Eurus and the rest of his Anemoi family treats him with strong suspicion that he was part of the plot that got Boreas, the previous god of the North wind, killed and the others injured.  Being alone and unwanted is the story of Devlin’s life.  The others withdrew from Eurus and leave him to his own devices.  Devlin is resentful of this withdrawal that left him and his brother’s unprotected from a cruel parent who treats them like possessions to be used for his own purposes instead of children.  Devlin’s one bid for freedom got one brother killed by their father’s hand and the other imprisoned and tortured.  Devlin wants revenge for all this, freedom for his brother and a small part of him wants to earn acceptance from the other Anemoi if he succeeds.

Devlin finds an empty warehouse to practice, but soon learns that it isn’t an empty warehouse, but a human woman’s artist studio.  He doesn’t have much use for humans, but this human has a gift that shows she has the blood of a god running through her veins.  She is able to paint scenes of the future.  Not just any scenes, but scenes involving Eurus and Devlin.  He wants answers and he wants them now.

Anna Fallston is terrified when the dark man of her paintings shows up real and in the flesh as a god.  He is brooding and prickly.  She can sense his pain.  He doesn’t know how to treat people or interact.  He tends to slap her away with his words and stiff body if she gets close to him or forces him to feel new and uncomfortable emotions and thoughts.

A bad incident near Anna’s home leaves Devlin depleted of power and injured so he finally breaks his silence at his last point of consciousness and calls out to the other Anemoi to help even as Anna works to get him human medical attention.  Devlin is back in the midst of his suspicious and slightly hostile family finding that he must prove himself, but this time he has Anna at his side.  It is confusing, but she is a balm to him and settles him.  He doesn’t known what to do with this overload of sensations and pushes her away several times, but she welcomes him back each time.

Anna is hurt by Devlin’s actions, but is determined to make him see himself clearly.  He doesn’t withdraw entirely though.  Anna slowly and carefully makes an impression on Devlin.  She sees under all the darkness that there is a desire to be a good person and a gentle guy who just needs a chance.  Anna’s influence helps him harness his gift and allows him to accept her touch.  He hesitantly reaches out to her like he doesn’t think he’s good enough.  Anna wants this scarred and dark man and tells him so before its too late because she can see that he’ll be going into danger and he may not come back.

“I want this and I want you.  Let yourself be loved.  Let me love you.”

Devlin wasn’t deluded enough to think she was saying she loved him, but it was still the first time he could remember someone offering him love in any form so freely and without demands for anything in return.   Loc 1948  Devlin and Anna from East of Ecstasy

I’m going to stop there with the summary because there are some exciting and startling scenes beginning around the halfway point both in the action plot and the romance that I don’t want to spoil for others.

As I read this, I was struck by how much I enjoyed the way the author tackled the writing of a series finale.  She didn’t start the ‘wrap-up’ too soon.  She let the story work through its powerful points climbing higher and higher with the tense climax peaks before the nostalgia set in for the denouement and the epilogue.  There was an intro of a new couple and their story and even a few other new characters at various twists in the story.  Devlin and Anna’s story is not buried under all the other things that are going on and I was so glad that it got to develop and play out.  All the former characters from the other books are very much in this one.  All my emotions were engaged and again the cost of battle for these people is steep.  I cried yet again and felt so badly for several of the characters who sustained losses.  Not that there was a slaughter or that the romance of the story and series is destroyed, but the reader is very much brought low before being allowed to climb up to the light again.

Devlin is the perfect final hero.  He embodies many things that I love in my heroes.  He’s the underdog for certain.  He’s the tortured, lonely, misunderstood, angry, bitter and yet loving, fiercely protective, gentle male who finally gets his chance.  He is terrified when Anna accepts him as is, wants to be with him and even loves him.  It’s okay for him to dream of wanting her, but in his mind, he can’t possibly see what she would want with him.

I love how gentle and good Anna is the perfect heroine for Devlin.  She is kind and seemingly frail compared to him, but she has a backbone of steel.  She gets up in his grill when she figures out that his snarling words and actions are defense mechanisms.  She calls BS and shocks him out of his fears and moods.  He puts himself down and won’t accept that he has worth.  She fought for him when he wouldn’t fight for himself.

I hate saying good-bye to this series, but I love where it left things with all the Anemoi.  It wrapped up nicely.  I would definitely recommend this series to those who enjoy a strong blend of Greek mythology to their paranormal romance.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • ki pha

    Fabulous!

  • dang it…I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

    • Each book brings a different tone following the personalities of each of the wind gods and then the last two really build up the conflict with the villainous god. Really good!