Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Audible Studios
Released on August 6, 2013
After enjoying Storm Crossed, the fourth book in the Grim series, a chance to return to Dani Harper’s fae world was not to be missed. I hadn’t read/listened to the earlier books, but after completing book four, it was not an if, but a when.
I was tickled to see that Storm Warrior was offered as one of the Amazon Prime member loan books, oh, but I did that one better. I borrowed the book in electronic print version and then paid the slight additional fee to add the Audible edition which is now mine to keep since I love the narrator’s work.
Storm Warrior begins with a prologue set two thousand years before and tells the bittersweet tale of a Celtic Warrior determined to drive the Romans out of his little corner of Britain. He is captured, made to become a gladiator, escapes, and then is cursed by the fae to become a grim- a harbinger of death. Then, the story leaps forward to contemporary times and an American veterinarian, Morgan, is on vacation in Wales to draw comfort after her grandmother’s death in the country and culture of her gran. She encounters a grim, a huge dog that legend says heralds death to the one who sees it. And later, she accidentally frees the grim dog from his curse.
I was delighted by this story of skeptical Morgan (at first) and honorable yet befuddled Rhys who has to get used to the modern human world. He might have been a tad confused about the whole clothing (not) optional in public part or why wielding weapons of war is reduced to games at a Ren Faire. I enjoyed all of the engaging and fun side characters including Morgan’s vet friend, Jay and his wife, Star, and Rhys’ newfound elderly friend, Leo, the animals, Rhys’ warrior action at the Renaissance Faire and the adorable way Rhys takes Leo’s advice about women and sets out to court the stubborn and willfully blind Morgan.
The fly in the ointment hit about half-way for me. It was Morgan’s unbending stubbornness about not even giving Rhys a chance. Oh, I get that it shouldn’t be instant that an intellectual science-type believes in fairy wings and unicorns, but days and weeks go by with more and more inexplicable evidence piling up that can only be explained if Rhys told her the truth. Her friends and coworkers believe in him, but of course they’ll believe anything, she convinces herself. I got the impression that even if she didn’t think he was a crazy liar, she had abandonment issues and would have pushed him away all those times anyway which, again, was frustrating because she’s attracted and likes him and he has done all he could to show he cares for her and she sees it- gifts, fixing up her farm, and standing by her when she keeps shoving him away (and then gets hopping mad or wistful when she thinks he actually left).
I loved this story, don’t get me wrong, especially when the fae made it interesting, but the romance element was pretty much a bust for me because it was all one-sided. In fact, Morgan’s issues made the whole middle of this book slog by as she had the heart vs. mind mental battle every few pages, it seemed. She just put it off too long and then came surging forward in the end when a certain full on fae spectacle finally forced her. And, then, I had to laugh because she went from completely stubborn about their non-existence to completely Xena Iron wielding princess to the rescue against a bunch of magic wielding fae. That ending was definitely the most exciting and page-turning part of the book and balanced things out after the middle slow parts.
The narration was in the hands of the fabulous Justine Eyre. I’ve enjoyed other books she has narrated and this one was just as well done. She does male and female, accents, timing, and emotion quiet well. There is a real sense of the fae as separate from the human and she makes it easy to hear the Welsh and the fae words.
So, all in all, I was glad to have gone back to the beginning to get Morgan and Rhys’ story and meet several of who would become series side characters like Leo and Ranyon. Those who enjoy a good solid backstory and legend of faerie in their paranormal romance should definitely pick this series up.
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Books N Tunes #14 Celtic Thunder’s Heartland Tune: