KINKED (Elder Races #6) by Thea Harrison
304 pages, paperback
Available now (October 2013)
Review copy provided by Berkley for honest review
Two opponents must confront the cause of their obsessive fury in the latest Novel of the Elder Races…
As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning ire unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new Sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own.
To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s mutual antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion—culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their quest reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened.
First Date: Aryal and I have met several times, in prior Elder Races books. She’s a grumpy, standoffish, fiercely loyal harpy with a serious attitude problem (obviously, it was love at first sight). A former criminal, Quentin recently joined the Sentinels after a rather brutal competition for said position. He’s a bad boy through and through. Should I add reformed? Maybe. Aryal doesn’t think so, and she’s spent countless hours chasing any lead that will prove Quentin’s as bad as she believes. There’s serious acrimony between the two of them, especially since they’ve privately sworn to kill one another (as long as no one will find out) — and the tension is bleeding into the Sentinels’ everyday lives. Dragos has had enough and ships the two of them off on a mission far, far away from him, Pia and the little Peanut.
Second Date: Besides boiling hatred, there’s definitely a spark between these two (Of course we knew this. It’s a paranormal romance. But I LOVE when two people hate each other as hard as Aryal and Quentin. It sends the sexual tension scale through the roof!). On their mission, they have to find a way to work together…or die (da-dah-duuum!!) and, even though the hatred isn’t yet gone, the spark turns into a conflagration with a twist. Their need to dominate one another colors their confrontations and, as the title suggests, bleeds into their sexual interactions. *fans self* This is by far the HOTTEST story I’ve read by Thea Harrison and, day-am. This story turned up the heat between Aryal and Quentin to eleventy-billion degrees!
Third Date: I swear, I’ve spent much of my time with these two fanning myself and chewing ice cubes (and you know what they say about chewing ice cubes…). Besides the super-hot encounters, Kinked also has a pretty darned good story, one that follows Pia and Dragos’s battle in the field. While it *can* be read on its own, I’d highly recommend reading at least Lord’s Fall before this one. Though each book is technically a standalone, each with its own new pair of lovebirds, this is a series that’s best enjoyed in order. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to get more ice cubes…and maybe reread Kinked…
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Quickie with Thea:
Q: What is one of your favorite Myths/legends to write about?
A: When I started to write my reply to this question, I realized it wasn’t going to be a simple or easy answer! I’ve had so much fun with the world building in the Elder Races series. It’s almost impossible to pick just one. I really enjoyed taking the Oracle of Delphi and putting it into a modern context for Oracle’s Moon. When I turned my attention to the witches’ demesne in Louisville, I wanted to make sure it felt as rich and developed as the rest of the world building I’d done for the other demesnes and mythological creatures. That story was fun for a lot of reasons, because I also really enjoyed building the Djinn society based on Middle Eastern legends.
Another favorite has been developing the Elves, in Lord’s Fall and continued in Kinked. And a third was when I created my own version of Vampyres in Serpent’s Kiss. I have two more Vampyre stories that I’m dying to tell. When I get excited about a story, it’s hard to wait for the right time to tell it!
Q: You’ve been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to shift into another form by a witch. What kind of shifter are you and why? (All creatures, including mythological, apply.)
A: Awesome question! I think I have two answers for that one. If it was a gift, then I think it would have to be something winged and strong. I think there’s something to be said for being as fearless as a harpy, although I’m quite sure I wouldn’t win any popularity contests! If the ability was a curse and meant to be nasty, the witch would probably turn me into my phobia—a spider! That would be the meanest, nastiest thing anybody could ever do to me!
Q: Since Aryal is a harpy and considered an immortal Wyr, how did you approach her character development in order to make her believable and someone that readers can identify with?
A: I’ll be honest, I was worried about writing Aryal. I really didn’t want to compromise her identity. Aryal has strong emotions but no real morals in the abstract sense, no true compulsion to do what is right for its own sake. She’s abrasive and dangerous… And I had to figure out how to also make her sympathetic. My first decision was to not be in a hurry to write her story. I wanted to take the time to show her character from a couple of different points of view. The reader first sees Aryal from Pia’s perspective in Dragon Bound, but then in Storm’s Heart I was able to show Aryal from Tricks’ point of view, someone who loved her. I also wanted to make sure that humor came into the mix. Still, the real test came when I sat down and actually started writing Kinked. Then I had to get close enough to her to write her as a main POV character. It helped that I had so many established relationships and characters to work with—such as Grym, Dragos and Graydon—and the world-building in place. With that in place, I could concentrate on developing Aryal herself. I’m very grateful to my editor Cindy Hwang for providing such a supportive platform to write Kinked.
Q: Do you have an Elder Race Bible to help keep your facts start? If not, how the heck do you keep your facts start?
A: So far I’ve had two things in my favor—I’ve got a bit of a freakish memory for detail when it comes to writing, and I also have fantastic beta readers who are good at spotting issues. Still, the world has become big and complicated enough that I’ve got someone working on a series bible right now. It’s over a hundred pages by now and should be done by the end of the year.
Q: Who was the harder character to write Aryal or Quentin and why?
A: Neither character was as hard as I had feared they would be when I started Kinked. Still, Quentin was easier. I felt more confident writing his character, and I felt the stakes were pretty high on getting Aryal’s character right.
Q: Was there anything about Aryal that surprised you as her story unfolded?
A: I think I probably had the same experience as a writer that several readers have had so far in reading the book—I was surprised at how much I ended up liking and enjoying her. I wouldn’t want to rush out and befriend a real-life Aryal, but I think she’s pretty cool between the pages, and I’m really looking forward to writing more about her.
Q: In the event of an apocalypses (zombie, alien, solar flare or 4 horsemen) which of your characters would you like to team up with?
A: I would absolutely like to team up with Dragos—as long as I was someone he valued, otherwise he might ditch me in a heartbeat.
Q: What is next for the Elder Race series?
A: I’m now contracted for books 7-9, so I’m writing Graydon’s story which will be released around August of 2014. The main characters have also been decided for books 8 and 9, and I’m eager to get to those stories!
I also wrote a self-published project, a novella entitled Dragos Takes A Holiday, which releases November 25th. I loved spending time with Dragos and Pia, and their little son Peanut gets his POV debut.
It’s been a pleasure to visit with you. Thanks for having me!
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