AUTHOR: Lexxie Couper
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 50k)
GENRE: Futuristic erotic romance
Torin Kerridon has one mission – to find The One Who Burns. As the last Sol warrior, it’s his responsibility to train The One Who Burns to wield the Sun Sword, the weapon destined to fulfill an age-old prophecy. He just never expected The One Who Burns to be a woman. Or that his desire for her would eclipse all the power of the suns…
As much as I love finding original voices, sometimes prose tries too hard and ends up distracting from the story itself. This novel had a lot going for it, but it fell short, mired in overdescription. I still enjoyed it, but I can’t help but think how phenomenal it would have been if I hadn’t fought with the prose as much as I did.
The action starts immediately, with Torin searching a dangerous Earth for The One Who Burns, and is shocked to discover it’s a small scrap of a woman. Jump forward six months, six months of intensive training and few answers. Kala Rei is burning all right, with lust for Torin, with desire for answers, with anger and hatred and emotions she can barely keep in check. The chemistry between the two is combustible, and it doesn’t take long at all for it to ignite. It does backslide – though the circumstances felt so contrived, it annoyed me – but there’s enough there to build a passionate relationship on. Unfortunately, they’re caught up in the circumstances of the prophecy, and the dark danger that takes over their lives also takes over the plot.
In some ways, it’s good. The suspense that gets built with the cutaway scenes to the antagonists is gruesome and intense. There is no mollycoddling here. The bad guy uses the blood of women for his nefarious deeds, and his sidekick gets the privilege of using and abusing those women first. For readers who are sensitive to that kind of violence, it’s very likely too much. However, for me, it added an intriguing layer to the situation with the Sun Sword, and sucked me in to wanting to know more.
Where it fails is in the florid prose. As unique as it is, it always seemed very overwritten. Paragraphs like this proliferate the entire story:
An acrid chill slithered through her. Someone he needed to save when she shouldn’t need saving, that was who. Someone to be defended when she shouldn’t be defenseless. He was every woman’s fantasy—a hero, a rescuer, a man of smoldering passion and incomparable strength, and she was not worthy of him. She was damaged goods. Soiled by a life she’d never wanted. After six months of being molded by him, trained by him, forged to become the savior of the worlds of man, she was nothing he believed her to be.
On its own, it wouldn’t be so bad. But it’s throughout the whole novel, with no reprieve. This unrelenting description just overloaded me until I was blurring right past it. It ended up losing its impact as a result. The author also loved this particular construct: True pleasure in physical connection. True connection in physical pleasure. I did, too, the first time I noticed it. By the third, it, just like with the overwriting, had lost its power.
Between the strong characters and taut suspense, this story does manage to succeed at entertaining. It simply falls short of fulfilling the tantalizing promise it offers.
7/10 – The prose tries too hard, but at least it’s descriptive
7/10 – A rough beginning smoothes out into a hero I could really root for
8/10 – Gutsy, sharp, and admirable
7/10 – Overwriting holds this back from being phenomenal
8/10 – A ton of original ideas, not always very well conveyed