Sunday, October 15, 2017

Review: The Crystal Flame by Shirley Mccoy

Title: The Crystal Flame
Author: Shirley McCoy
Genre/Age: Fantasy Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
SynopsisFinn Hale has fire in his blood. He is its lord but not its master. If he can’t learn to control his power, he will go insane. For years, he has searched for someone who will restore the balance and peace he and his kingdom once had. Now Finn has found her. And she is more beautiful than he could have imagined.

Lyssa Jensen was born with a dangerous ability; she can create snow and ice. When she caused an unnatural winter to fall, she fled her fractured kingdom. Now known as the Snow Queen, Lyssa lives alone in her frozen mountain palace. Until he came, rash as he is handsome, with a mad proposal… 

Fire melts ice and ice douses fire. Any feelings between them could have deadly consequences. How will Finn and Lyssa learn to control their powers when they can’t even control their own hearts?

The Romance Review

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

Opposites attract...and then they get revenge!

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Finn has left his kingdom behind and battled against an ice storm to get to the woman who is supposed to be his savior. If the legends are true, only a mating of the fire lord and snow queen can bring peace to the land and his people are in dire need of some harmony. When he does finally locate the woman, he must convince her to trust him or he can kiss his throne goodbye.

Alone in her castle, Lyssa has learned to rely on herself to survive. After she was forced to flee her home, she has found solace in her hideaway, protected by a constant storm that is impossible to cross. Except for him--the stranger who stumbles through her door with fire in his veins and a plan to make her his bride.

Afraid she might accidentally harm Finn, Lyssa tries to keep her distance. But the man's eyes and charms persuade her. Soon she's training for battle and falling in love as she cools his raging fire and he warms her frigid heart. Working together, they just might be able to take back his kingdom from a ruthless and greedy villain.

I think this was one of those 'it's not you, it's me' instances where it wasn't necessarily that something was wrong with the book but more that I wasn't really in the mood for it. I finished the book with a few happy memories but not much else. While I didn't love it, I didn't dislike it either. Had I been in the mood for a medieval-ish fantasy, I think this would have hit the spot, but this week I've mostly been up for shorter and lighter fare.

Taking my reading mood with a grain of salt, here's what I thought of the story. There are two characters mentioned in the blurb but really there are four perspectives we get the most often: Finn, Lyssa, Thomas, & Joan. We also see things from the villain's point-of-view which offered a nice dose of wickedness to the mix. Really, the villains were written very well. I hated them. So mission definitely accomplished there.

As for the characters we're supposed to like, I did like them. Finn and Lyssa were a nice pair and pretty much our main couple. I liked their initial meeting in the beginning, but then the story does lull for a while with so much daily activity of eating and training, then eating and training again. I put the book down at this point at least three times because it became tedious. Eventually, the story does pick up.

Our secondary couple, Thomas and Joan, were actually my favorite part of the book and probably what saved me from putting this down for good. Those two were a hoot! Thomas, with his inability to share his feelings, and Joan, with her feisty attitude, made for several cute and funny moments. Where the main couple had a sweet story, this pair was fire and I liked that.

The plot was busy, even if the pacing was on the slow side. We bounce back and forth between kingdoms and characters for each chapter, getting a good sense of everything that is happening. I write this way too so I had no trouble keeping up with the multiple perspectives. Even though there are a lot of scene breaks, I think the story flowed pretty well.

There is some action here and there and a good bit of romance all over. The fantasy/magical portion is really only about a quarter of the story. Yes, the main characters have powers but the book mostly focused on relationships and events, rather than on magical abilities. I didn't mind since I prefer my characters well-rounded and my relationships solid anyway.

In closing...
I would have rated this higher if it had kept my attention better in the beginning. I would still probably read more from this author though. 3.5 suns!

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