Title: Devil’s Kiss
Author: Zoë Archer
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Release Date: December 6, 2011
List Price: $6.99
Blurb: Five men, known as the Hellraisers, accidentally release the Devil into the world and take advantage of his gifts.
Why I chose this title: When Zoë announced online about receiving her author copies of the ARCs, I joked with her about if she’d be doing a giveaway as I’d really enjoyed her Blades of the Rose series. She offered to send me one.
Review: This is the first in Archer’s new The Hellraisers series. James Sherbourne, the Earl of Whitney, and his friends, known as The Hellraisers amongst 1760’s London Society, are out carousing one night in a gypsy camp near one of their estates. Sherbourne is entranced with the gypsy woman, Zora, with whom he’s playing cards. However, when she declines his suggestion that they go off and have some private fun, he gives in to his friends pleas to explore an old ruin they had just heard about. After the men leave, Zora decides to deal a fortune telling hand and the cards tell her the men are about to unleash a great evil upon the world. She sets out to try and stop them, but arrives too late. The men have already released the Devil from his confinement and accepted his offer of gifts for the boon. Zora tries to end it, but the Devil, while weakend, still has enough power to prevail, and he gifts Zora to Sherbourne when he pleads for her life.
There’s the basic set up to the story. What I really liked about this book is the way Archer was able to very effectively balance all of the elements: romance, historical setting, paranormal aspects with an urban fantasy feel. Both Zora and Sherbourne feel like real people, and I was rooting for them to succeed in their challenges. There were points where, even knowing this is a romance, I questioned whether they would succeed, and those moments of doubt added a richness to their story. Archer does a fabulous job of seamlessly integrating the details of the unusual historical time period without overwhelming the reader. The different historical setting is what really made this story feel fresh to me. Archer’s previous series, The Blades of the Rose, was set in the late 1800’s, so I commend her for choosing a different time period in which to work, while still maintaining the context of “paranormal historical”. This book whetted my appetite for the rest of the series, and I think Archer has secured her place as an exceptional paranormal romance author with a fresh take on the genre.
Final thought: Perfect for fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy with strong romantic elements who are looking for a new twist on the genre.