Thursday, July 03, 2008

She's No Faery Princess by Christine Warren

Queen Mab's niece. Fiona, is tired of court life. Since Mab might declare Fiona her heir, the young men at court have been swarming around her, each trying to get her to become interested in them so she will have to take them as her consort when she comes to rule.

Needing time away, she goes to the one place that Queen Mab has absolutely forbidden any Fae to venture: The Human World. But Fiona arrives at a bad time. The others, the non-human inhabitants of the world, are about to conclude secret dealings with the humans and reveal themselves to the entire world. If Fiona does anything to make herself known to the humans, it could bring the entire thing crashing down.

But she has other problems. As soon as she steps out of the gate, she is attacked by a demon. She uses up most of her magic trying to fend it off, and is eventually saved by werewolf Tobias Walker. Tobias is cranky. As second-in-command of the Werewolf pack, he's been running the pack while the Alpha is ensconced in the talks with the humans. And he hasn't had any sex in six months.

Tobias is afraid that Fiona's presence may send the talks crashing down in flames, especially if the humans get wind of her presence. But when demons are showing up and killing humans and Others in a way that suggests a pattern, his entire pack is going to need the presence of Fiona to track down the Demon and the one summoning it. Now, if only he could keep the thought out of her in bed under him out of his mind...

Fiona is surprised to find that she cannot return to faerie; something is blocking the gate. And that her uncle, Dionnu, King of the Unseelie Court, is negotiating with the humans as part of the Others on behalf of all of Faerie, something Fiona is sure her Aunt, Queen Mab, ruler of the Seelie Sidhe, both knows nothing about and would be extremely annoyed about. But when Demons are discovered in human lands, as a Faerie, she is the only one Tobias's pack can turn to. Her people *know* demons, having fought a war with them thousands of years ago. But can Fiona stop the demon and its summoner before it finds a way to free itself and run amok on peoples who no longer know how to fight back? And what can she do with Tobias, that uber-sexy werewolf she'd like to know better... much better, but who starts responding to her kisses, then keeps pushing her away?

This was a great novel, both for the story and the simmering sexual tension and lust that shimmers between the hero and heroine. At every turn in the story, you are kept guessing on both fronts. Fiona is charming and sexy, and Tobias comes off as conflicted and honorable. He wants Fiona, but he doesn't want her to create trouble for his pack. He wants to keep her from being hurt, but she's the best person to deal with the demon, for her people know the most about them.

The secondary characters are interesting to, although Dionnu is a rather shallowly evil villain. Urbane, certainly, but no less shallowly evil for all that. I did like the character of Rule, who informs the reader, the pack and Fiona of the true nature of Demons, and it's not at all what we expect. Since he is the hero of the next novel, it will be interesting to see how they spin a romance with a demon. It's good that this novel didn't automatically make Rule out to be "Sequel bait". I didn't know that he would be the hero of another novel until I read the preview at the back of the book.

This was an unusual novel, but I liked it a lot, enough to pick up the sequel and perhaps other novels by Christine Warren if I see them in a book store.

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