ARC Review: Lord of Rage (Royal House of Shadows #2) by Jill Monroe
Breena’s life is pretty normal for a princess: sewing, planning parties, spending her days waiting to be betrothed to a political ally and her nights dreamwalking with her perfect man… until the the royal house of Elden is attacked, her parents brutally murdered and her brothers gone missing. Breena finds herself dependent on her mysterious dream man while she makes plans to retake her family’s kingdom, but Osborne is no longer a mercenary for hire, not even for the woman from his dreams.
The last of the legendary Ursan warriors, Osborne is filled with self-loathing and the need for revenge, and Breena has no idea just what she’s gotten herself into. The second book in the Royal House of Shadows series, Lord of Rage is a sexy, well-paced (if somewhat slow in the steamy progression), and enjoyable play on the timeless tale of Goldilocks and her three bears. Recommended read!
- Title: Lord of Rage
- Series: Royal House of Shadows – book #2
- Author: Jill Monroe
- Prominent Characters: Breena & Osborne
- Recommended reader age: 16+
- Sexual content level: Light-to-moderate
Peppered with fairy tale references, this reimagine-ing of the Goldilocks story really captures both the atmosphere and characterization of what we popularly believe to be true of medieval fairy tales: the cottage in the woods… the stone castle in the heart of the kingdom, filled with servants and feasts and royal heirs… the village trade fairs, where the bargaining and shopping takes place… the evil bad guys and the strong, sexy, charming good guys. The term “berserker”, Osborne’s warrior lineage, is believed to have come from “ber“, the Old Norse word for bear. Old Norse and Norwegian stories tell of men who went into battle wearing the skins of bears or wolves and fell into a trance-like state of near-suicidal fury and bloodlust called berserkergang. Lord of Rage pulls heavily from these historical accounts to create the society of the Ursan warriors, of which Osborne is the sole remaining warrior.
It’s unclear how old Breena is (update from author Jill Monroe: Breena is 25! 🙂 ). There are two places the phrase “second decade” of life is used and one of them refers to the age of Osborne’s teenage brothers. The other refers to Breena, “approaching the middle of her second decade”. It also states that she was several years older than her mother when she arrived in Elden to marry the King. It feels like all this is describing a 20-something year old young woman, but “middle of her second decade”, to me, says 15. I found that a little disturbing, considering I prefer my heroines to be able to drink legally (hey, you can drink at 18 in Canada!), and especially considering Breena is also a virgin. Virgin with a capital “V”! This young woman is about as sheltered as you can find, her innocence truly preserved for her future husband by kingdom tradition. She has no knowledge of anything sexual at all. No anatomy lessons, no “birds and bees” talk, no stolen glimpses of castle servants coupling. Because of that, the pace of Osborne and Breena’s sexual relationship is brutally slow and reads almost like a “how to service your man” manual for medieval well-borne virgins, with Osborne giving verbal and physical instruction (ok, that part was kinda humorous and sexy!)… hot but also weirdly awkward in places. Readers who are used to, and prefer, the likes of Joey Hill and Laurell K. Hamilton will probably be frustrated with the pace of this book. That said, when our pair finally do get together, Osborne is exactly what you want and expect him to be. He stays true to character, as does Breena, and the scenes slowly smolder until he finally gives in and takes over with a commanding presence. If you like stalwart, strong, chivalrous, stubborn, steamy alpha males, you’re going to love Osborne.
Osborne’s humor is understated, but definitely there. At first, he comes across as a gruff, direct, no-nonsense warrior with a deep self-loathing and disrespect. Over time though, as Breena softens him up, we see that he’s just protective of his family and his heart, and his emotions run as deep as his sense of humor is sardonic and deadpan.
As for the timeline of this story, if you’ve read Nicolai & Jane’s story (Lord of the Vampires), you know that 20 years have passed since the Blood Sorcerer killed their parents and took control of Elden. This novel is set during the start of that time period. We know that Nic will be enslaved for 20 years, but it doesn’t take 20 years for this book to conclude, so I’m curious whether the 20 years Nicolai spends as a prisoner are on Elden time or the warped time of the other kingdom. If it’s a true 2-decade time span, what do Breena and Osborne do during all that time? Perhaps she really is only 15 (and not 25, as I prefer to believe)? Or maybe they have babies of their own that will be part of the final story? Hopefully one of the next two books, Lord of the Wolfyn and Lord of the Abyss, will solve the mystery for us. =)
Ah, to be a princess…
If she could defeat a fearsome ogre with a fabulous meal plan, then what lay beyond those gates might not be so worrisome.
Such big eyes you have…
“Someone’s been eating our food.”
“And someone’s been sitting in our chair.”
The hero helps the herione. It’s sort of a rule, right?
He was her warrior. He was supposed to help her. Wasn’t this some kind of requirement of the fairy tale code?
Boys need moms, mkay?
“We thought maybe she could stay. Make our meals.”
“And clean, and do the laundry. Girls like to do that stuff.”
Obviously, he’d kept his brothers away from civilization for too long. He could just add it to the list of his faults and deficits where his brothers’ raising was concerned. “We’re not a houseful of dwarves, and she’s sure as hell not staying.”
It’s all about perspective…
“I like it with you here,” Bernt informed her.
“Osborne does, too,” Torben added. “I can tell.”
“He’s a lot nicer. He doesn’t yell nearly as much.”
Really? Because she thought he yelled a lot. All the time.
Queue the sizzle…
As a princess, Breena had two jobs, stay a virgin and marry well.
She was about to fail at one of her princessly duties.
Re-tale-ing of Goldilocks…
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who only really lived when she dreamed. Then one day she woke up surrounded by three glowering bears. With patience and love, she tamed the fiercest, and with a kiss transformed the beast into a prince.
If you liked Lord of Rage of the Royal House of Shadows series…
If you enjoyed Lord of Rage for its magical world, compelling characters, sexual tension and steamy chemistry between the main couple, you might also enjoy the Feral Warrior series (starting with Passion Untamed) by Pamela Palmer. The world of the Ferals is full of magic, intrigue, betrayal, and fierce passion. Keep your eye out for the GraveTells ARC review of the 6th book in the series, Ecstasy Untamed, releasing on October 18th.
Lord of Rage is a sexy, innocent coming-of-age story about love, loss, and hope. The romance feels slower-paced but the emotional connection between Breena and Osborne is strong and intense. The language used in the steamy bits comes off a little cheesy, but I see that as more of an indication of the time period – in the middle ages, they didn’t use slang like we do now and women of noble birth were a lot more sheltered than most our society today… less forward and definitely less sexually educated. Breena is willing to work hard to save her people and to stand up for what is right in the face of imminent defeat; she has the heart of a prince in that lovely princess’s body. Osborne has lost and sacrificed much to keep his family alive, and Breena completes him seamlessly. Lord of Rage is a GraveTells recommended read!
Lord of Rage is the second of four books in the Royal House of Shadows series from Harlequin Nocturne, a brand new series that is a collaborative effort between 4 PNR/UF authors: Gena Showalter, Jill Monroe, Jessica Andersen, and Nalini Singh. GraveTells will be reviewing all four, so subscribe or check back often to make sure you get the down-low before these books hit the shelves! Below is the schedule for the Royal House of Shadows releases, with links to the GraveTells reviews…
|August 30||September 20||October 18||November 15|
Rating: Lord of Rage
Buy Lord of Rage: Amazon
http://www.jillmonroe.com/ (Jill Monroe’s website)
http://paranormalromanceblog.com/royalhouseofshadows/ (Royal House of Shadows series website)
http://www.pamelapalmer.net/ (Pamela Palmer, author of the Feral Warrior series, website)