I love this fantasy romance and the awesome world building. The last time I read the same genre that make me love it as much was Master of Crows by Grace Draven. I did find the name of the clans and some make-up noun intimidating and I have a hard time pronouncing (not that I read out loud) and keep track of the words. It would be handy if there is a glossary page for me. But all these is part of the charm of the book.
Our heroine Lourdes, is the eldest daughter of the Araneidae clan heads and with the sudden passing of both her parents, she found herself becoming the youngest maven ever appointed. She had her plate full dealing with finding out the culprit behind her parents death, bring peace among her clan and lastly sought alliance with the Mimetidae clan. Even if it means agreeing to a political marriage, this is what she needs to do.
Rhys is the youngest son of the Mimetidae clan heads and a warrior at heart. His clan had a reputation of being cannibal and fearsome mercenary, so Lourdes was expecting an ogre. But Rhys turn out to be such a humble and noble hero that I can't help but love him. He seems stoic and vague most of the time. I want to know what is going on in his head. What I do know is Rhys is determine to fulfill his promises and claim her in the end. I love their interaction during their alone time, there is much to discover and enjoy in their dialogues. "Should I assume your vagueness means you'd rather not answer?"
"I'd rather not frighten you without cause."
"Because hearing you're concerned isn't frightening in its own right."
Initially Lourdes promise to wed Rhys if he help her to avenge her parents death, but when her sister goes missing, she decided that finding her sister is of utmost priority. Together with Rhys's brother, Vaughn, the trio set out to track down her sister and in the mean time they encounter some adventure along the way. There are spirit walkers, mysterious death among the animals and path crossing with the Theridiidae clan. If Rhys is the model of good guys, Vaughn is the direct opposite. He makes me wanted to hit him most of the time, but I find him to be such an interesting character too. Rhys and Vaughn had some siblings rivalry going on, but when shit hits the fan, we know both the brothers care for each other. I love their little weird dysfunctional relationship.
Told entirely from Lourdes' POV, Rhys seems to be such a enigmatic and mysterious character. I just can't wait to learn more about his background. Then the more I learn about him, the more I fell for him. Enough of reading about rakes out there, for once I enjoy reading about a man with honor and values. Well, I'm not giving away his past here. Just gonna say he melt my heart and make me swoon most of the time. "I want more from you than your honor. I want to be more to you than your duty."
I admire both Lourdes and Rhys for their commitment to their vows and promises and the sacrifices they willing to make for their clans. They respected each other and willing to make things work for them. Although they were together due to a political allegiance, they grow to care and love one another. I like the fact that they take times to get to know each other well and truly fell in love before they seal the deal. "Beneath the cool water, his mouth found its way to mine and his lips moved across them. I'm yours. I understood him as clear as if he'd spoken in my ear."
Due to this being Book 1, the world building and introduction to some of the setting might be a tad overwhelming, but truly this book is romance at its heart. Despite me not able to visualize what exactly did Brun and Mamoan looks like (I assume they looks like miniature dinosaurs), I fell in love with romance part of the story. Its subtle and undertone without flaunting lust and sexuality around, yet it is wholly satisfying. Is a nice break for me from romance that is full of drama and angst. I would have prefer there is a dramatic fighting scene towards the end and with that, it will definitely be a 5 stars for me. "If we knew nothing else in our ever-changing world, we'd know love, when we made it, expressed the threads that bound our lives. Not so weak a thing as venom and not so brief a thing as desire."