This review can also be found on my blog
Riagan Tenmen is an immortal druid, one of twelve warriors known as the Brotherhood of the Sacred Grove
. Each warrior was born and trained to protect the Murias Cauldron
, an ancient, magical artifact in the druid realm with the ability to heal and grant immortality to anyone who drinks from the waters it contains. Being the arrogant and lusty druid that he is, the promise of a quick tryst with a maiden causes him to sneak away from his post. But luck is not on his side, and he's caught by the Arch Druid who swiftly metes out Riagan's punishment. He is banned to the realm of spirit, and he is to remain there until he can find love and be loved in return. If he morphs into human form and doesn't find love, he will die as a mortal.
Twenty-one year old Wren O'Hara is a social worker. By day she helps strangers in need, and by night she takes care of her schizophrenic mother. Like her mother, she constantly hears voices in her head, and she thinks she's slowly succumbing to the same disorder as her mother. Her father left them after her mother's first mental break fifteen years ago. Her current boyfriend knows about her family's history, and she believes he'll be there to take care of her when she goes over the deep end. Her world gets turned upside down when one of her patients tries to kill her, but a mysterious savior comes to her aid.. Unfortunately, she becomes the prime suspect in her patient's death and her savior refuses to talk to the authorities. She has never felt an attraction like she does with Ray. But then her mother turns up dead, and Ray divulges his real identity as well as his mission. Wren will have to overcome her fears to embrace a new world and her new purpose.
I actually enjoyed this story, although I am not a huge fan of stories involving Fae folk. The story flowed smoothly and I had difficulty putting it down. The plot had me hooked – who was the Master and why did the Arch Druid give Riagan a seemingly impossible task as punishment. Of course the fun part was watching him try to find loopholes or bargain his way out. Between the two main characters, Riagan stole the show. I loved his (otherworldly) speech patterns and the brogue. He was impatient, cocky, and arrogant, and I applaud the author for keeping his character growth at a believable pace.
I looked up the symptoms of schizophrenia to get a better feel for Wren's character and for possible reasons behind the choices she made For example, falling in love/saying she was in love as quickly as she did. I couldn't decide if it was because a) Druid magic similar to faerie glamor b) because of her believed illness and the desire to give in to the explosive chemistry, c) was it as simple as Riagan's theory being correct that a woman would declare love if he just bedded her? Or d) that special connection that made it possible for him to hear her in the void in the beginning?
The key here is that Wren believed
she was suffering from the same disorder as her mother. If we took away the dark cloud of despair hanging over her head, I think my patience with her would have evaporated a lot faster. I guess what I am trying to say is that on the surface, I didn't like her all that much, but I gave her a free pass because honestly, I don't think she knew how to be any other way.
A few interesting (albeit predictable) twists tied up the loose ends, but the climax of the story was well written, and exciting enough to hold my attention. After this, I would pick up the next book from this author.
3.5 Stars rounded up to 4. I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.