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View our feature on Anya Bast s Cruel EnchantmentThe Dark Magick series continues from this New York Times bestselling author To keep her fae race from being eradicated, Emmaline Gallagher must retrieve an object of fae power from a locked ancient box Only Aeric O Malley has the forging skills to create a key But will their tumultuous past stand in the way This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I gave this 4.5 stars.Originally posted at Smexy books Quote How many times had he planned her death How many weapons now hung in his forge that he d crafted with the intention of using them on her Mercy He d thought he had none for her Danger Will Robinson This does contain some light spoilers.To help her race from being eradicated, Emmaline Gallagher must retrieve an object of fae power from a locked ancient box Only Aeric O Malley has I gave this 4.5 stars.Originally posted at Smexy books Quote How many times had he planned her death How many weapons now hung in his forge that he d crafted with the intention of using them on her Mercy He d thought he had none for her Danger Will Robinson This does contain some light spoilers.To help her race from being eradicated, Emmaline Gallagher must retrieve an object of fae power from a locked ancient box Only Aeric O Malley has the forging skills to create a key But will their tumultuous past stand in the way Cruel Enchantment is an dark, exhilarating, sensual delight Once again we are submerged into the beautiful devious world of the Seelie and Unseelie courts Well plotted and cast with characters that are strong and personable, Cruel Enchantment is filled with tense suspense, delicious betrayal, and dangerous antagonists A fascinating read that captured me at page one.In Cruel Enchantment, we are introduced to Emmaline Gallagher of the Seelie Court Emmaline spent her younger years as the most feared assassin of the Summer Queen When she escapes the great sweep that imprisoned the courts and most fae in Piefferberg, she walked away from her past life and began to work with the HFF Her mission To convince Aeric O Malley, the Blacksmith, to forge a magical key that will open an ancient box containing a fae artifact The Problem Emmaline killed his fiance and Aeric has vowed revenge When Emmaline enters Piefferberg, Aeric is lying in wait for her He ambushes her and spirits her off to his home Emmaline s mission must be completed but Aeric has dreamed of having her in his power for hundreds of years and nothing will convince him to set her free As Emmaline and Aeric begin their battle, striking blows with words as sharp as the finest crafted blade, you hear their memories and see that both were victims of extremely sadistic and selfish people When old and new feelings emerge between them, Aeric and Emmaline must look to the past if they are ever to have a future But Aeric isn t the only one who wants Emmaline dead Most of the Unseelie court has suffered in some way due to her dubious past and the Summer Queen wants her assassin back The chemistry between Aeric and Emmaline is powerfully portrayed as they work their way from enemies to lovers It leaps off the pages and surrounds you with it s anger and passion.The betrayal that Aeric must work through is heartwenching as his memories begin to unravel and the portrait of love he surrounded his fiance with fades and the truth reveals it s self As Aeric and Emmaline forge their fragile alliance, they are besieged by past enemies, both fae and human, who will stop at nothing to prevent Emmaline from completing her mission.Ms Bast takes fae mythology and mixes it new lore to produce a stunning urban fantasy world that first started in Wicked Enchantment and continues it s dark and dangerous journey in Cruel Enchantment Instead of being overburdened by overwrought interpretationand world building at the sacrifice of story, or being heavy on story but leaving the world largely undefined, Cruel Enchantment continues the arc s perfect balance and hits all the right notes The world building is a perfect blending of seductive romance, non stop action, realistic main characters, intriguing secondary characters, and nail biting betrayal from all sides Well thought out and fast paced, it creates a satisfying arc of development for the main characters and culminates in two very different sort of conflicts one that threatens the lives of Aeric and Emmaline, and one that threatens their hearts and souls The only tiny problem I have is how the Unseelie court always seems to be caught unawares by the Seelie Court I found myself cringing at some of the decisions made by the Shadow queen and cannot understand WHY she continuously gives the Summer Queen the benefit of the doubt I do hope Ms Bast will allow the Unseelie court to emerge triumphant at least one time against the Summer Queen.All in all Cruel Enchantment was a satisfying read in every way A unbelievable ride that I could not and did not want to end I cannot WAIT for Dark Enchantment, 3 of the Dark Magic series, which is due out in April 5, 2011 I will definitely continue to read and recommend this series Original review posted at Smexybooks I really enjoyed this book Anya has a writing style that is all its own and that s what keeps me coming back forI love the hot sex and dangerous men with strong women Anya writes along with the added action and excitement you just cant go wrong in trying this series, you may just find yourself truly enchanted as I did As I started reading this one I was skeptical for a bit, because of Aeric relationship isn t one the greatest given his past, with Emmaline, but Anya kept it fresh and flo I really enjoyed this book Anya has a writing style that is all its own and that s what keeps me coming back forI love the hot sex and dangerous men with strong women Anya writes along with the added action and excitement you just cant go wrong in trying this series, you may just find yourself truly enchanted as I did As I started reading this one I was skeptical for a bit, because of Aeric relationship isn t one the greatest given his past, with Emmaline, but Anya kept it fresh and flowing very nicely to where I ended up loving the hero Aeric, especially when I read how his feeling runs for Emmaline.Emmaline I loved her She has a talent that I don t want to spoil for you, I will say its not good When I read how she got that away, WOW It was very emotional I don t quite think I have read a heroine that went through all the pain as she did and then she as to go back through it again As the first book I love the world Anya has set up with all the steamy romance, action and sick o villains I didn t find anything I hated or didn t like, but I find it dragged some that s the reason for the 4 starts It is always hit or miss with me when a read a book by Anya Bast Let me tell you what I do like about her writing and then what I didn t like about this book Ms Bast if great at setting up background information that makes you love the heroes and hate the villians The female herione is strong and capable able to take down the bad guy without needing the aid of her lover Bast masterfully manipulates the plot with unexpected twists and set up information for sequels Her battle scenes as exp It is always hit or miss with me when a read a book by Anya Bast Let me tell you what I do like about her writing and then what I didn t like about this book Ms Bast if great at setting up background information that makes you love the heroes and hate the villians The female herione is strong and capable able to take down the bad guy without needing the aid of her lover Bast masterfully manipulates the plot with unexpected twists and set up information for sequels Her battle scenes as expertly described blow by blow The sex scenes are hot So, what don t I like Well, first of all I have difficulty keeping straight the names of her characters in this book They are too similiar Aileen, Aislinn, Emmaline What s up with that Next, the sex is so repetitive that I found myself skipping over the scenes because I was bored There was not enough good in this book to balance out the bad The villians were truly creepy and disturbing but, the good guys just were not good enough After book one in this series, I truly had my doubts about continuing but knew I would read the second book because I had a 4 for 3 deal and received the second book for free However, I will not be continuing with the series With all of the good points, it just was not good enough for me to continue Sorry Anya 3.5 Stars Over three hundred and sixty years ago, Emmaline Siobhan Keara Gallagher was a finely tuned weapon of the Seelie Summer Queen, an assassin of note and a scourge on the Unseelie She was also the fae who murdered Aileen, the woman Aeric O Malley had loved with a fierce devotion that burned brightly long centuries after her death Emmaline has been beyond Aeric s reach ever since, having fled Ireland before the fae were rounded up and imprisoned behind the walls of Piefferburg Aeri 3.5 Stars Over three hundred and sixty years ago, Emmaline Siobhan Keara Gallagher was a finely tuned weapon of the Seelie Summer Queen, an assassin of note and a scourge on the Unseelie She was also the fae who murdered Aileen, the woman Aeric O Malley had loved with a fierce devotion that burned brightly long centuries after her death Emmaline has been beyond Aeric s reach ever since, having fled Ireland before the fae were rounded up and imprisoned behind the walls of Piefferburg Aeric has kept the fire of his thirst for vengeance stoked hotter than those of his Blacksmith forge, intent on killing Emmaline at the first opportunity and praying to his gods daily for that opportunity.For over three hundred years, Emmaline has lived the life of spy and double agent as a free fae in the human world One of the founding members of the Humans for the Freedom of the Fae HFF organization, she s spent the last few years deep under cover as a loyal human Worshipful Observer for the Phaendir, the group most responsible for the fae s imprisonment Now she s on a quest for the HFF, one that will require her to enter Piefferburg, locate the Blacksmith, and secure his assistance He s the only fae capable of making the key that will unlock the enchanted box that is the resting place of the second piece of the bosca fadbh, a puzzle box that will unlock part of the Book of Bindings and allow for the fae to finally break free of their centuries long imprisonment.Emmaline needs the Blacksmith and the Blacksmith wants her dead by his own hand Not exactly the auspices of a great working relationship, but they will have to work together to pull off the daring acquisition of the second piece of the bosca fadbh without the Phaendir finding out about it With the memory of his dead love between them, however, Emmaline is aware that Aeric is farlikely to kill her than help her, and if she can t convince him to trust her, their entire race may remain imprisoned forever.After a stellar series opener in Wicked Enchantment, Bast takes us back to the fae holding compound of Piefferburg and the courts of the Tuatha D Danann, the fanatical threat of the Phaendir, and the hope inherent in the search for the bosca fadbh Despite a strong, admirable heroine with a dark and twisted past, a passionate, fiery hero with an axeand a plethora of other weapons to grind, and the return of several other well liked characters from the first book, I ended up being disappointed in this second book of the series when compared to the first.Dark, dangerous, and well balanced, Wicked Enchantment was a five star read for me, but several issues with plot and pacing and a couple of problems with dialogue tripped me up in this installment I was very put off by the first third of Cruel Enchantment, and found it laden with too many handy coincidences to be able to maintain my willing suspension of disbelief The premise of the book is fine, the concept of the plot was intriguing, but the way in which it was executed at the beginning robbed the story of its intensity and suspense and made the initial scenes between Emmaline and Aeric seem implausible and inorganic to me Perhaps if Aeric hadn t been so headily imagining Emmaline stepping into the fae prison that is Piefferburg and right into his clutches just moments before she actually does sofor the first time in her long life and after almost four hundred years freeI would have had an easier andforgiving time at the beginning Then, to compound my difficulty in swallowing that fortuitous happenstance, the two weeks in which Aeric holds Emmaline prisoner, threatening to kill her, trying to kill her, and getting roaring drunk to drown out his unwanted lust for her, pass in a muddled mess of disjointed and confusing pacing, timing, and impotent character action that by the end felt farlike a few days than a couple of weeks I found it all rather bizarre, and not very threatening to Emmaline s tattered virtue, though Aeric s frayed ferocity took a beating.Before the slings and arrows start to fly, I have to say that after that awkward beginning there were several good things that start to happen with the story The book picked up and I started getting into it While it does lack much of the brilliant world building and creative description that set Wicked Enchantment so high in my estimation, and it wasn t as richly populated by secondary and ancillary characters and those plot threads that did include secondary characters I found to be ill conceived and predictable, as the case with David s thread , I started to really enjoy the evolution in the relationship between Emmaline and Aeric, and liked seeing some truth start to alter perception for both of them Admittedly, I was a little disturbed by Aeric s proclaimed passion for Aileen from the very beginning, given what you find out about her, but I thought Bast brought Aeric through his stages of character development with sensitivity and a sense of realism.I have no complaints about the two lead characters from a romantic standpoint I found them well suited to each other and strong in their own right They had a lovely array of scenes to further their relationship that were at turns poignant, tender, and sexy as hell And my pleasure with the book through the middle of the story was secure because of it And then the book went a little awry again towards the end.There was definitely tension and a hella creepy atmosphere generated by Emmaline s interactions with Brother Gideon, but just about everything else she s involved in on the human side of the wall was very perfunctorily covered and had some awkward transitions and jumps in the timeline I felt as if I was leapfrogging through the later part of the story at times That disconcerting lack of fluidity continued through to the end of the book, with a myriad of life and quest threatening plot threads popping up in seemingly random rapid fire, and just as rapidly being resolved with a minimum of development And the book s conclusion was extremely abrupt.For my tastes and strictly in my opinion, Cruel Enchantment didn t quite rise to the level of adept storytelling that I felt existed in the first book of the series, but there were parts I liked quite a lotjust as there were parts that made me struggle to like even a little The strongest and most fervent pleasure was in the character of Emmaline, who I greatly admired as a damaged, layered, and crafty heroine full of courage and determination, even in the face of crushing emotion and debilitating torment And I love the world that Bast has created for this series There are so many truly nifty things about it that I admire greatly I wish we had been allowedinteraction with the various fantastical creatures of Piefferburg and with the familiar characters we met from the first book But that s just me being greedy.I was also pleased to note that the third book in the series, Dark Enchantment, is set for release on April 5, 2011 My adoration of Wicked Enchantment Dark Magick, Book 1 and the things that I enjoyed about Cruel Enchantment have assured that I will continue reading the series I just hope the next book is a little closer to the first in both style and substance Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another