Early 1700s England is not the England that we know in The Fire Lord’s Lover. Seven Elven lords breeched the divide between the human world and the elven. They sought power and after beating the humans down, have split the country amongst themselves. The King is still kept on the throne but as a mockery of what used to be. The elven lords wage war games amongst each other to “win” the King. The King then resides in the palace of whatever realm has won him. They pit human armies at each other and sit back and entertain themselves. They are cold, calculating and uncaring.
Dominic is the bastard son of Mor’ded the Elven Lord of Firehame. He is his father’s spiting image and the general of Mor’ded’s army. He has just acquired the King for the first time in many years and hopes he has won his father’s approval. Dominic hates his father and all that he has been forced to bear because of Mor’ded but like most children still craves his approval.
Cassandra Bridges is the hope of the Rebellion. The Rebellion has tried several times to assassinate Mor’ded. Each attempt has ended in death for the assassin. Cassandra will be different. She has been raised in a convent, safely cocooned from the world. Supposedly to keep her innocent. In reality she has been trained as a skilled killer. Cassandra is Dominic’s intended.
Kennedy does a wonderful job at building a world that is very much frightening for the human race. England is exactly as we know it but not quite. The elven lords are merciless and cruel. As a reader, I felt the oppression of all those under Mor’ded’s rule. There are seven realms and that makes me hope that each realm will have it’s story. There is quite a lot of potential in the world that Kennedy has created in The Fire Lord’s Lover.
Dominic and Cassandra are an arranged match. They shouldn’t love each other. In fact, considering what Cass is there to accomplish, she shouldn’t feel anything for him at all. She tries very had to hide her heart. It shouldn’t be too hard. The biggest failing I could find in Cassandra was her indecisiveness. This mostly showed through with her assassination task. Understandable, right? Cass would be all for the Rebellion and this is what she was meant to do. This was her destiny. The next she’d be in despair that she wouldn’t be able to get the job done. She had the weight of the free world on her shoulders. I can certainly understand the stress and the back and forth emotions this assignment would bring but to me it only made Cass seem weaker than she should have been.
Dominic shows no outward feelings at all, not to anyone, including his wife. Not even 50 pages into the story I wanted to beat him down and teach him some respect. It wasn’t until later that you learn the true meaning behind his actions. Mor’ded has given him ample practice to hide his emotions. If you enjoy sacrificial heroes, Dominic will frustrate you until you want to throttle him and then he’ll leave you all melty in a puddle of goo.
Speaking of Mor’ded, he was an ass my friends. Not a nice man at all. I couldn’t have cast a more perfect villain for this story. Mor’ded is paranoid that that one of his subjects will have more elven magic then he and that he will be usurped. Paranoid people will do some pretty messed up stuff if they can rationalize it. Elven lords don’t have to rationalize any of their actions so yeah, this guy is a lose canon. The lengths this man goes to are disgusting. I hated him.
There weren’t an overabundance of secondary characters in The Fire Lord’s Lover and it worked well for the book. The ones that were there made the book so much more enjoyable. Ador, Mor’ded’s dragon is a sarcastic beast who lightened the mood in many places just when it was needed. Little Gwen was such a sweetheart. You could tell that Cass meant something very special to her simply because Cass had taken the time to care for the little girl nobody else loved. Don’t feel bad for Gwen though. She probably would have dealt well with her lot in life. Gwen is a fighter.
The only thing that kept The Fire Lord’s Lover from being a 4 star novel was the ending. While I enjoyed the book immensely, the ending felt so rushed to me. Plus for about 10 pages I thought the ending was heading to badlandsville. There was the major climax and I felt exhilarated but then the solution to a very big problem seemed ludicrous (because of course it was!). Without giving too much away I did get the ending I wanted but my emotions were a bit all over when I got it. In the end, the brash heroine, aloof hero, amazing elven world and how it all comes together is a beautiful story and I’m very much looking forward to the next book: The Lady of the Storm!