Book Review of Radiant Desire by Inara Scott

Title:  Radiant Desire

Author:  Inara Scott

Release Date:  October 4th 2011

Genre:  Adult Contemporary Fantasy Romance

The object of every man’s fantasy just lost her wings…

Kaia Verde is one of the four Faerie Handmaids of Zafira, Queen of the Fey. To redress an ancient wrong done to Zafira by a human king, the Handmaids make sport of mortal men, seducing and humiliating them. When Kaia sets out to seduce Garrett Jameson, but ends up being the one surrendering to pleasure, Zafira is furious. Kaia’s punishment is simple: make Garrett fall in love with her by the summer solstice, then break his heart, or face eternity without her wings—or her soul. To make the task harder, Zafira tells Kaia she cannot use her faerie magic or charm to lure Garrett into her bed.

…and now she’s losing her heart…

Kaia thinks her task will be relatively easy—as a faerie, she understands lust, and can love be much different? But once she is living among the humans, Kaia discovers the race she once disparaged is far more complex and beautiful than she imagined. She learns before she can break Garrett’s heart, she must find a way to heal it. And eventually, discovers that losing her wings may be a far easier price to pay than losing her heart.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  Radiant Desire is title from Entangled Publishing that I think could be a great crossover book.  It has a contemporary vibe, but with a fairy tale/paranormal twist.  I never thought I would be one to like a book that even remotely read like a contemporary, but I could not help falling in love with Radiant Desire.  I was hooked from the first page and could not put the book down until I reached its conclusion!

When we start out on this journey we are introduced to Kaia, a handmaid to the Queen of Faerie.  She loves her position in the court and has little concern for humans, except to humiliate them.  Her job is to seduce men to the point where they are out of their mind with desire and then leave them hanging.  She finds pleasure in her job by mocking mortals and takes comfort in her three other handmaids who have the same task.  She is content with her life, until Zafira gives her a special assignment to seduce a specific man, Garrett, and she fails to leave when she is supposed to.  Garrett was meant to be just another assignment, but he awakens feelings and emotions in Kaia she has never felt before and does not know how to control.  She is scared by her reaction to him and the wrath that Zafira will pass down to her now that she has failed.

The characters in this book are really what set it apart for me.  We get to see a full character arc with both Kaia and Garrett.  In the beginning Kaia is a Fae with a cold heart and no love for humans.  After she is forced to become one for a short time and live among them, she starts developing a new appreciation for life and everything that she has been missing in the Faerie court.  As for Garrett, he is not really living either.  He shuts off his emotions and keeps everyone at a distance.  His past has been hard and he does not want to let anyone in, for fear of getting hurt again.  However, once Kaia comes into the picture, all of the barriers he built start to crumble and watching him learn to love again was precious.

I also enjoyed getting to see glimpses of Faerie and what life is like for the Fae there.  It is a world much different from our own and Zafira leads the Fae there with fierce strength, mixed with a little cruelty.  She is not someone I would want as an enemy and she reminds Kaia of that constantly.  It was interesting to see this world interact with our own modern one and watch the Fae creatures try and comprehend how our society works.  Kaia struggles with understanding humans the most when she is forced to immerse in our way of life so fully, but her journey made her more endearing and had me rooting for her.

There was also another secondary story weaved into this one with Garrett’s friends, Rachel and Ted.  I liked learning about them and how their story tied in with Kaia and Garrett’s, but whenever their chapters came about I found myself wanting to return to the main plot line.  I thought they were good characters, but they did not hold my attention nearly as much as Kaia and Garrett did.

Inara also gave us a preview of what is to come in this world.  The other three Handmaidens all had to make a choice at the end of the book that will impact all of their futures.  I am interested to see where Inara will take this next and what lies in store for the other Handmaidens.

Overall, Radiant Desire is a sweet story of two people who find love unexpectedly with a fantasy twist.  The main characters had a beautiful romance and were developed very well.  Inara grabs onto you from the beginning and takes you on a fantastic journey filled with love, loss and what can happen if you let your heart guide you.  If you like paranormal romance or like contemporary but want a little fantasy as well, then I would definitely pick up Radiant Desire.  I know I am already looking forward to the next book and getting to see which Handmaiden we will learn about next.

FTC:  Thank you to the publisher for letting me read this ARC through NetGalley.

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