Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Kismet's Kiss by Cate Rowan

Book: Kismet's Kiss by Cate Rowan
Series:  The Women of Kismet #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance  

Buy A Copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Available Formats: Ebook / Paperback
Publication Date: August 24th, 2010

Preview Book: Preview on Goodreads
How Did I Get This Book: From Ebook-Fling

Description: In the desert realm of Kad, a deadly epidemic strikes the palace of Sultan Kuramos. Only a magical healer from an enemy land has the skill to save his royal household, but Kuramos never imagined the healer would be a woman.

Healer Varene finds her own surprises in Kad. She expects the sultan's arrogance, but not his courage or his selfless care of the ill—or the possibility that the epidemic is the curse of a vengeful goddess.

Kuramos's culture condemns Varene's mystical talents. Her presence triggers an insurrection, yet as he and the healer toil for a cure, he loses his heart to her. She falls for him as well, but how can she relinquish her homeland and her principles—especially when he already has a harem and his family may be cursed?

I will admit, I did not really know what I was getting myself into when I cracked open Kismet’s Kiss. I knew I loved the cover (shallow, I know) and I thought the premise sounded interesting enough. I will be the first to admit, this book absolutely soared beyond my expectations. I loved every minute of it and I had to physically pry myself away from it. 

My first fascination lies within the setting. Rowan provides us with a rich, luscious and undeniably intriguing world. I was instantly captivating by the descriptions and I found it easy to craft an image in my mind. I will admit, I did have brief, fleeting visions of Aladdin running around, especially in the market. 

 I read in a forum that Rowan took inspiration from The King and I. Looking back, I can see that connection quite clearly, and I am rather surprised I did not make it myself. The relationship between Varene and the Sultan has the same will they or won’t they/should they or shouldn’t they aspect. The characters themselves also vaguely resembled that of Anna and the King. Both couples are incredibly strong willed and refused to be pushed around. Both Anna and Varene have a difficult time grasping and accepting the status of women in their new society and they both are loved more by their men for it. 

The relationship between Varene and the Sultan was surely a remarkable one. I think what I enjoyed most about it was that they were equals. Even in a society that looked down on and objectified women, Varene refused to be anything less than herself. She was a strong, empowered woman and like me, the Sultan was completely taken with her. 

The fact that there is something brewing between Varene and Kuramos wasn’t all that surprising (it is a romance book people). Still, Rowan was able to keep me guessing on whether or not our two star crossed lovers would end up together. You see, not only do they hail from warring countries, but Kuramos is already married… to six women. As you might imagine, Varene isn’t too keen on sharing. Things don’t work quite like that in her homeland. I honestly did not know how things would end, I didn’t even know how I wanted the chips to settle. I wanted them together, but I did not want Varene to simply be one of Kuramos’ women. But then, I didn’t want anything to happen to his other wives or children. I actually liked them as characters. So, as you can imagine, my emotions and predictions were all over the place.

There was only one aspect of the story that I can remember really questioning. None of the Sultan's wives seem are the least bit possessive of him. Well, that's not true - one of them is, but she simply wants to secure her sons ascension to the throne. She doesn't want the sultan out of love. I cannot imagine that none of his wives actually loved him. As you read the book, you come to see that he is truly a wonderful catch. It doesn't make sense that they wouldn't love him, and therefore be jealous and possessive. In fact, they actually seem to want to share. Can you imagine sharing someone you loved?  

When I began reading Kismet’s Kiss, I expected a light, slightly steamy romance. What I got was infinitely better. Kismet’s Kiss is intriguing, thought-provoking and addicting. The storyline keeps you interested and on-edge. The descriptive setting keeps you marveling. And the romance keeps you hoping for a miracle. There is excitement, love and magic around every corner. I cannot wait to read more of this series, I just hope that Rowan returns to these characters.

Favorite Quotes
He’d set his mouth in a feral line that could have tipped toward kindness or to cruelty in a second.
Oh, come now, we’re professionals. For Fate’s sake, I’m 128 years old and far beyond curfews.
Her hands wrapped around his back, bunching the folds of his kaftan, and they stayed like this, connected, as dusk settled over the market.
I can’t believe I’m being coerced by a bird.
He stepped closer, and her body warmed as if he were the sun.
She was in love with the Great Sultan of Kad. And this was no crush. It was as real as the sun rising each morning, as the blood in her veins and the curve of the rail under her fingers. She felt the truth in every nerve, every inch of her skin.
She wanted to be his everything.
You think I’m yours? Well, I think you’re mine.

1 comment:

Cate Rowan said...

Ooooh, Sarah... I'm delighted you loved Kismet's Kiss! It was truly the book of my heart, so thank you for the scrumptious review.

Yes indeed, these characters will be returning. Actually, Varene plays a part in the published prequel, The Source of Magic, and Kuramos is mentioned briefly in it. I'm now writing another prequel, which takes place between Source and Kiss. Kuramos has a key role. (Mwa ha ha...) After that, I'll be moving into sequels about the wonderful wives, who will have exciting adventures of their own and have been after me to write them down. ;-)

Thanks again for reading Kismet's Kiss—and for a review that gave me a big smile!

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