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Books Read in 2016: ‘The Curse of Lord Stanstead’ by Mia Marlowe (4 stars)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

'The Curse of Lord Stanstead' by Mia MarloweThe Curse of Lord Stanstead (The Order of the MUSE #1)
by Mia Marlowe
My rating: 4 stars

Book Summary:
London, 1819

When only seduction will do…

Wherever Cassandra Darkin goes, fire is sure to follow. It’s not until she’s swept into the arms of a handsome, infuriating stranger that she learns she’s responsible for the fires. As it turns out, Cassandra is a fire mage…and with her gift comes a blazing desire for sins of the flesh.

With his preternatural ability to influence the thoughts of others, Garrett Sterling is sent to gather Cassandra for the Order of the M.U.S.E. He’s entirely unprepared for his immediate attraction to the comely little firestarter. But it’s an attraction that he must quell, even as his body craves her touch and her fiery, sensual hunger.

For Garrett’s gift has a dark side…and the moment he begins to care too much for Cassandra, he knows he will doom her to an inescapable fate.

My GR Status Update(s):
05/30. . .marked as: currently-reading

06/07. . .60.0%

06/07. . .marked as: read

My Review:
I don’t usually read much paranormal romance—because I don’t really enjoy characters who are vampires or shape shifters or were-whatevers, and because I don’t like the fact that most of the ones I’ve been unfortunate enough to pick up have very little in the way of relationship development and rely on insta-lust and veer over into the erotica category.

So when I heard that this was paranormal romance that was more along the lines of X-Men mutants or superpowered Avengers or Sensory Extraordinaires (as they’re named in this book), I was willing to give PNR another chance.

And I’m so happy I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it struggles a few times to create its world along with developing its characters, it’s easily overlooked because the characters are so unique and the world Marlowe creates starts to feel as familiar as the worlds of the Marvel superheroes or the X-Men. But even better, it’s a romance and it’s set in the Regency era!

Now, there are a lot of people who read this who couldn’t stand Garrett Sterling, the hero. They felt he was a misogynist pig—but I didn’t see him that way. Even knowing that entering a physical relationship with Cassie (what she needs in order to be able to control her power as a fire mage) could end up consuming him, he’s still willing to make that sacrifice. Plus, his character is well developed enough that there are motivations and reasons for how he behaves, the way he thinks, and what he says—not the least of which is the fact that if he gets close to someone, he starts having nightmares about them that usually come true, resulting in his loved-one’s death. While he’s not a hero that I swooned over for days or weeks afterward (hello, Captain Wentworth), he’s also nowhere near the worst I’ve ever read (The Dragon from Uprooted comes to mind in the running for that title).

While the physical relationship between Garrett and Cassie develops pretty quickly, interestingly enough, Marlowe is able to take time in developing the emotional relationship between them. The physical relationship is a necessity—a safety valve.

Though this is the first book in the Order of the MUSE series, we don’t actually see the formation of this order. It exists prior to the opening of this book. Instead, we learn about the existing members both from seeing them trying to find Cassie and then as she becomes part of them. Lord Camden, the leader of the Order, can sense powered people, so he sends Garrett—Lord Stanstead—to get her. Why? Well, because Garrett’s gift is the ability to “send” his thoughts to others and be able to control them. But, of course, this doesn’t work with Cassie. Yes, it’s a bit cliché, but it still worked because it created a challenge for the overly confident Garrett that he’d never faced before which, in the long run, helped with his character growth and made him and Cassie right for each other.

Cassie has one or two TSTL moments, but those are out of the norm for her. Instead, she handles most of what comes her way with a delicate strength that is only occasionally a slight bit too modern for the era in which this is set (but aren’t most heroines of modern historical romances?).

I really enjoyed the way that both Cassie’s and Garrett’s gifts played into the ultimate climax and resolution of the mystery at the center of the plot. But I don’t want to give too much away here.

Looking forward to reading the other books in this series!

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR = DNF (did not finish)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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