by Nola Sarina
Where do I start? Gilded Destiny, by Nola Sarina is unlike any romance novel I’ve read, though I suppose it could also be classified as Urban Fantasy. Either way, it’s an interesting book with a heated romance, vampires, danger, and love that surpasses memory and obligation.
Callie is a tattoo artist with a short-term memory problem after an accident five years ago left her with apparent brain damage. She also doesn’t remember what happened to her the year she was gone before that. When Nycholas walks into her tattoo parlor, her life changes as she finds herself attracted to this unhuman, gorgeous being.
Nycholas is something else. Half human, half snake, his race of Vespers are humanities’ vampires, though we’ve got it all wrong. Born of the Garden of Eden, Vespers roam the Earth, mysteriously protecting humanity while also feeding off of it. But Nycholas hasn’t forgotten his human side, nor his desire for love. When he walks into Callie’s shop, he sees something he wants though he knows it will probably be the death of him.
Sarina is a very talented writer. Her words flow across the pages of Gilded Destiny like a slow coursing river, washing over you, filling your senses. I loved her imagery. She does a fantastic job of world building as well, creating the Vespers and their mythology and making complete sense of it, though Gilded Destiny, the first of the Vesper series, doesn’t spill all their secrets. She easily maps out the relationships between Nycholas and Callie and those between Nycholas and his brethren. The reader feels the evil that pours from Levitiqas, the ageless leader of the Vespers, we feel the pull of Nycholas’s brothers, Levi and Festus, who would rather bring him back to the fold than kill him. And Sarina takes risks. The telling of Callie and Nycholas’s story is not for the faint of heart. Murder and heartbreak abound in this short book (only 154 pages), but there’s love as well.
For me, the love story wasn’t quite strong enough to make up for the violence. I didn’t feel Callie and Nycholas’s love as strongly as I wanted to. They fall into bed rather quickly and Callie has to accept a whole lot of crazy before that happens. And it happens quickly. Honestly, that’s the only thing that keeps this from being a 5 star book. But, Gilded Destiny is realistic at the heart of its story (obviously, the vampire bit isn’t, but hey, it’s paranormal) sets up the Vesper series in a dynamic way, so I don’t mind and I’m anxious for the next installment. Heat level: 2.0
Gilded Destiny was published in April 2014 by Nola Sarina. If you’d like to add it to your library, click on the picture for details how.