FROM THE BOOK COVERA Kiss of Ashen Twilight is the first book in a new paranormal romance trilogy by Rae Lori. The author has created a very imaginative combination of supernatural races that include the Nightwalkers (vampires), Lycans (werewolves) and shifter elves (mages with shifter abilities). But the most unusual is Ariya who is a winged Aziza fairy, a race of fae originating in Dahomey Africa who are the stuff of legend and fancy even among the supernaturals. This infusion of a well-researched alternate cultural take on faerie added some fresh and unusual spice to this paranormal romance.
Haunted by dreams of a mysterious yet seductive figure, Ariya awakens to a more dangerous nightmare: a vicious elemental creature nearly wiping out her entire family outside her bedroom doors. Her parents urge her to cross over into the mortal realm and there she is saved from another attack against strange shifter wolves. Her rescuer is Jace Archane, an immortal Nightwalker from the House of Blood within the Ashen Twilight House. The very same man from her dreams. Jace and Ariya's attraction to each other is evident. Yet Jace is reluctant to lower his guard, having spent lifetimes coming to terms with death's curse in his Nightwalker form: everyone he feeds from dies. Ariya is undeterred by his fear of contact and despite his attempts at distancing himself, she remains by his side in a desperate bid to stay safe and near to Jace. Now the elemental has followed her. When a woman of the House of Blood is murdered after leaving Jace's home the fight is brought to the doorstep of the Ashen Twilight House.
Now the race is on to find out the origins of the elemental creature and stop the horrific killing spree. As they dig deeper into the mystery, they will uncover a truth that ties the elemental's origins to a forgotten ally with plans to overthrow the Archane legacy and obtain Ariya's fairy blood fueling an immortal thirst for power.
While much of the tale is set in modern day Phoenix Arizona, time is mutable in faerie which allows A Kiss of Ashen Twilight to introduce historical interludes that engagingly build the back story of the origin of our principal characters and their races origins, providing context to the current events and actions. Ariya crosses over from her realm to escape an elemental force bent on acquiring her magical abilities and seeking her destruction. She is rescued by Jace, the heir apparent to the Ashen Twilight House, a figure from her dreams and with whom she shares a powerful mutual attraction.
The romantic interplay between Jace and Ariya is rife with tension. He fears getting involved given his history of killing his lovers and Ariya fears the possible consequences of being turned or leaving her realm for a life in the human world. Ariya is also an outsider and many distrust her involvement in the immortals affairs, especially given that they face a threat from an unknown source with little understanding of its' motivations.
All is eventually revealed as the story unfolds, delivering plenty of action and a plot that always keeps things moving along. A big climactic scene towards the end of the novel involves a major threat to the Nightwalkers that occurs during the day that may seal their doom. The solution that Ariya arrives at to save the day, may on the surface seem over the top (it has astronomical proportions), but in the context of this story it works and surprised the heck out of me. I like that.
A Kiss of Ashen Twilight has a few rough spots with the occasional scene segue or transition that left me slightly confused about place or sequence of events, but that is only a minor quibble. Paranormal romance is new charted territory for author Rae Lori, and this first book in the series is a fun and imaginative voyage and a promising start to a new series. Work on the sequel is underway and I for one will be checking it out when it is released.
Read an excerpt of Chapter 1.
Ashen Twilight Series: