Published 2009 320 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
One kiss is all it takes to lose your soul…
Holly Carver is a small-time witch who busts ghosts for tuition money, but ends up wrangling a demon when a haunted house job goes bad. Her Undead business associate, Alessandro Caravelli, suspects the demon is somebody's not-so-secret weapon. The supernatural community is at war, and Holly's unpredictable magic holds the key to hell's doorway. Soon Holly is on everyone's "must have" list, and not in a good way.
Alessandro wants her for more than magic. A lover with six centuries of experience, the vampire is walking seduction, but he's also a predator. Every moment he spends guarding Holly, every second he spends falling under her witch's spell, he becomes more and more of a threat himself. As Holly's grandma says, vampires are like a box of chocolates - they seem so tempting, but over-indulgence can be a killer…
Ravenous is the first novel in The Dark Forgotten, a new paranormal romance series by Sharon Ashwood. Sharon Ashwood is the pseudonym of an author who writes award winning historical romances, I know this because the promotional material that came with the book told me so (although I don’t know what other name this author writes under.) This previous romance writing experience shines though out Ravenous, which delivers a well-balanced mixture of romance and urban fantasy.
While historical romances may have fallen out of fashion of late, there is an upside to this situation – namely that a number of experienced, talented romance authors have migrated to the dark side and are now writing paranormal romance. This is a good thing because to a certain extent the romance elements of a love story don’t change whether you are writing about an 18th century pirate or a lovelorn vampire. Romance fans still expect relationship development, emotional drama to tug on the heart strings and a HEA. These things are universal to good romance stories but not necessarily a part of the urban fantasy genre, where strong female lead characters have chaotic love lives and may never see a conventional HEA.
In Ravenous there are strong urban fantasy elements that will delight fans of that genre. The opening scenes see Holly, a professional witch and practitioner of magic with a small “m”, take on a demon possessed house to rescue the people trapped inside it. With the aid of her vampire associate, Alessandro, she manages to beat the house by performing some magic with a large “M”, although the cost of this higher magic is great pain for herself. Once the house has been subdued the hidden body of a murdered young woman is found, seemingly the victim of a vampire attack which gives Alessandro and Holly their first clue to solve the greater supernatural mystery that surrounds them.
These urban fantasy elements of the story keep the plot running along at a great pace but at the same time they never swamp the romance between Alessandro and Holly which is handled with just the right touch of emotion and light humour. This is paranormal romance at its best.
I’m always excited when the first book of a proposed series turns out to be a cracking good read and Ravenous certainly gets The Dark Forgotten of to a strong start. Ticking all the right boxes for great paranormal romance Ravenous is crammed full of romance and fantasy action. A sexy vampire, magic, mystery and a variety of both good and evil supernatural beasties – really, what’s not to like?
LoveVampires Review Rating: