by Jill Monroe
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Harlequin
Courtesy of NetGalley
Princess Breena had been dreaming of her warrior lover when she was ripped from her Elden castle and thrown into a strange, dangerous realm. Lost and alone, she prayed for survival and vengeance for her stolen kingdom. She found both in a woodland cottage…in a dark bear of a man.The golden-haired beauty had eaten his food and slept in his bed when Osborn found her. Though he wanted to awaken his virgin princess to carnal pleasures, Breena wanted more—including his warrior skills. Skills the once-legendary mercenary had long buried. Now Osborn had a choice—risk his life or deny his princess her fairy-tale ending.GoodReads
The Royal House of Shadows continues with this second installment from author Jill Monroe. The series is a collaboration by four authors with one continuing story arc following the four royal heirs of Elden in a world of magic parallel to ours. When the evil Blood Sorcerer attacks the kingdom of Elden and kills the king and queen, they cast one last spell sending each of their children away from the castle and instilling in them the need of survival and vengeance. Each novel follows one of those royal heirs; in the first one we met the crown prince Nicolai, now we are introduced to the princess Breena.
After witnessing the death of her parents and her home overrun by vile creatures Breena is cast out from it and into a forest. Missing pieces if her memory, all Breena knows is that she must survive and then seek vengeance for the murder of her parents. Bruised, cold and hunger, Breena comes upon a cottage in a clearing where she finds a hot meal, unsteady furniture and a nice big bed to rest in. Unknown to Breena though, the cottage’s owner is the man from her dreams and a fierce Berserker warrior, one of the last of his kind.
Osborn is a warrior with the spirit of a bear in him. Living on sacred land and protecting the last two people in his family he has been biding his time for his vengeance against the people that decimated his clan. Finding the women from Osborn’s dreams sleeping in his bed he feels the first bit of happiness in a long time, but when she wakes expecting him to be her warrior and protect her while rescuing her brothers and taking back her castle, Osborn knows that she must leave for he set down his sword long ago. Stubbornly Breena sticks around though and the more time Osborn spends with her, the less he wants her to leave. But when he finds out that Breena is from the land that attacked and murdered his family, can Osborn set aside his vengeance for love?
Lord of Rage was a great addition to the Royal House of Shadows series and flowed exceedingly well. I haven’t read anything from Jill Monroe until now and I really enjoyed her writing style. The characters of Breena and Osborn were captivating and Osborn’s two younger brothers added a bit of humor and fun into the storyline.
The story is loosely based on the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, which was easy to pick up on and added a nice element to the story to look for. The world itself was pretty well built up from the first novel by Gena Showalter, Lord of the Vampires, so it was comfortable delving into it again and didn’t raise the questions the first novel did while reading. I really liked the relationship between Breena and Osborn, and each character individually.
Breena started as a pampered princess who never left the castle walls but when she is thrust, alone, into the wilderness instead of breaking down she fights through it hunting for food and seeking shelter. When she meets the bear of a warrior, Osborn, she doesn’t let him intimidate her and actually persuades him to teach her fighting skills of her own so that she can protect herself better in the future. She is willing to learn and improve herself to protect the ones she loves. I really respected her tenacity and strength.
Osborn was a man in a rut, stuck in the past but unwilling to face it. Living day to day, staying to his lands and protecting his brothers from harm. But when he realizes (with a little help from Breena) that his brothers have suffered because of this and know nothing of their family’s history, Osborn steps up and takes care of things. Same when it comes to Breena; Osborn starts off kind of gruff but it’s because he feels that he is unworthy of her and also doesn’t want to bring danger to his brothers, they have lived through enough.
They’re relationship is a slow build, definitely not as sexual as Lord of the Vampires, but more meaningful because they took time to get to know each other and each other’s pasts before jumping in the sack. Yes, there was an intense attraction and mucho sexual tension but they didn’t give into it until it meant more than just lust.
That being said, the book itself was somewhat blah. I’m not sure if that was because it lacked a lot of action or because it moved at a slower pace. My biggest peeve was the time line though, it really confused me in respect to the first novel in this series, Lord of the Vampires, and throughout the entire book I kept trying to put together the time in correspondence to the first novel. I think the sequence in which the books were released should have been changed but maybe by book #3 it will make sense. =) I’m looking forward to the next two novels in the series and think that paranormal romance fans would enjoy this one, even if they didn't care for the first novel.
Rating: 3.5 - Liked the book but enjoyed the characters more
Sexual Content: Some teasing that will leave you frustrated but the wait is worth it when this bear lets his claws out! Adults only.