This book was provided to Paranormal Romance Lovers and the reviewer for free in return for a review.
Bound by fear, by fire, by destiny.
When Phoenyx Blake meets Sebastian for the first time, it's in a dungeon where they and two others have been imprisoned. Together these four strangers discover that each one of their souls are attached to an element of nature. Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Their abductors belong to an ancient society that plans to sacrifice them for their powers during the upcoming solar storm. What’s more, Phoenyx and Sebastian find that their souls have a special history that spans centuries. Destined to love, fated to die, doomed to repeat. There is a much stronger flame between them than any she could conjure.
Phoenyx and Sebastian, along with the other elementals, must learn to master their powers to escape. But Phoenyx is hiding from a painful secret. If she can’t find the strength to face it, she and her new friends will lose not only their lives but their souls--forever.
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the premise of this book. There are a lot of genre-standards out there so any book that starts with showcases something a little new and different immediately grabs my attention. The setup of the mystery in the plot is also extremely well crafted. The reader is fed the perfect amount of necessary and tantalizing details to keep you interested. Several of the twists were a nice surprise that served to send the protagonists scrambling for a different approach. I would have to say that my absolute favorite part of this book, without giving too much away, came at the end when a character I hadn’t really thought of much finally got some much needed revenge. It was a fantastic scene with the author really put you in the character’s mind and emotions.
I also enjoyed the author’s character-centric focus throughout the story. Ms. Barr had no difficulties bringing the readers four fleshed out, likeable characters that were easy to root for. That being said, there were a few editing issues still present in this version i.e. sudden change of present and past tense, confusion as to who was speaking and things of that nature. I also had a little bit of a hard time with how Phoenyx seemed to be able to work out the intricacies of the problems the others were having but not her own despite having touched on them in previous ruminations. The lack of vernacular and slang spoken by these supposed nineteen year olds was also a little off putting, though after a while I did not notice it as much.
And lastly, the romance. Usually I don’t like romance novels with the protagonists in their teens. But Tricia Barr was able to create a plausible and engaging story despite the age groupings. My only complaint is that the romance seemed to be more of a subplot than a main focus. And while the romance aspect was a sweet one as opposed to steamy it still pulled all the right heart strings to leave the reader satisfied and maybe even a little smiley. I give this book three stars for the editing issues and the fact that the romance is not more prominent, which is something I definitely look for in a romance novel.