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The Fire Lord's Lover - Kathryne Kennedy Do you enjoy well-thought world building, protective yet caring heroes, clever heroines, tender romances and sex? If you answered yes to those questions, then this book is for you!

I didn't know what to expect going into Kathryne Kennedy's The Fire Lord's Lover. It is the first romance novel I have ever read revolving around elves and I thought it was going to be this whimsical, lovey-dovey, everything-is-so-great kind of story, but it is definitely not. These elves are not two dimensional. They are complicated, with a corrupt political system and a shaky social one. I was a little hesitant at first because this takes place in London and I felt a bit jarred by that. I was expecting high fantasy, not alternate-universe fantasy, and it was a bit off-putting. However, as the story progressed and the world revealed itself, I realized that I really liked what Kennedy had done with London in this universe.

Both the hero and heroine in this novel are intriguing, layered and willing to do whatever they can to protect the ones they love. Dominic, the hero, is a half-elf, half-human bastard son of the Imperial Lord of Firehame. He is the Lord's champion, the general of his army and the son that has never been loved. Elves do not have human emotions and are very cold, treating humans as little more than animals. Dominic, however, has a human heart, something he considers to be a weakness until he meets Cassandra, his bride-to-be and his human emotions become dominant.

Cassandra was a fantastic heroine. She was a strange mix of innocent, clever, naive and deadly and wrapped up into this adorable, tiny package. She holds a strong faith in God and yet never feels preachy. I really felt like she was sincerer in her faith and it was endearing to read about her belief. She is a trained assassin, something that she struggles with considering her faith, yet is completely innocent when it comes to the ways of men. I really, really, really liked that she was clever. She is not necessarily physically strong, but she makes up for that by being extraordinarily bright. In fact, all of these characters were smart and quick to act. I never felt like any of them made stupid decisions. Rash and impulsive decisions, maybe, but I could always understand their reasoning.

One thing I especially loved was the sex in this book. It's not exactly smutty and there's not that much of it. It's not the type of sex that will make you blush or giggle. It's just beautifully described. Kennedy weaves sex into the story so effortlessly and magically that it really felt like I was reading the combining of two souls rather than a physical act. Here's a description of sex that I found to be especially beautiful:

"And then the pain faded and the general taught her a new dance. A dance she never could have conceived of, that held beauty and grace and a desperate longing to somehow make two people become one. A dance so intimate that she thought she felt his very soul."

However, there is still a plot going on besides the romance between Dominic and Cassandra, which, by the way is a great romance. They have to deal with a Rebellion, an Imperial Lord whom they both want to kill, a dragon who rarely talks and when he does he makes no sense, the fact that she is an assassin and a lot more. Overall, this is a fantastic read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the fantasy or romance genre.