Kerrelyn Sparks has long been an author on my “one day” list. As in, one day, I will actually get around to picking up one of her books. And when I saw she was starting a new series called The Embraced, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to dive in. I was excited when I got a review copy of How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days from NetGalley, but unfortunately it didn’t work out quite as well as I had hoped.
In another time, and another place, there are five kingdoms that make up the world of Aerthlan. Four of these kingdoms are ruled by kings who worship the sun, and anyone who does not follow the faith is subject to death. But the fifth kingdom, made up of two small islands, worship the Goddesses of the Moon. Twice a year, the two moons align, and children born on those nights are called The Embraced. Because they are often born with supernatural powers, they are considered abominations against the God of Light, and to escape certain death, often these children are smuggled to safety on the islands.
It is into this world that Luciana was born. As one of the Embraced, she has spent her entire life in an island convent, believing she was an orphan. She has lived a happy life, making her own family with her fellow “orphaned” Embraced and worshiping the Moon Goddesses. But her entire life is turned upside down when her father arrives, needing Luciana to take the place of her murdered twin sister. If Luciana does not become Tatiana – and marry the man known as The Beast of Benwick – her father will be killed on orders of the king, his lands and property seized for the crown. But to do so means leaving behind everything Luciana has ever known.
While I liked the idea of the book, I had a hard time with it, too. If it hadn’t been a review copy, I probably would’ve DNF’d it at about the 10% mark. It wasn’t that it was bad at all, but it just didn’t engage me at the start. Things did get better as I went on, but my main problem was just that everything was too…easy. I liked Luciana, I liked “the Beast”, I liked them together, but there just wasn’t any sense of drama. Long-lost father shows up, and within a couple of pages they have a strong father/daughter bond and Luciana changes her whole life for him. No anger, no hurt, just one conversation and all is well. And that just kept happening. Everything just kept falling into place way too easily. Even the dramatic showdown at the end was anti-climactic because everything for everyone is perfectly wrapped up in literally a couple of pages. It was too perfect, too happy, too quickly.
So, in summary, I can say I liked the main characters and i enjoyed their relationship, but there wasn’t anything that grabbed my attention, either. Maybe I am used to darker and more dramatic stories, but for me this one was just too light. Am I sorry I read it? Not really. Do I feel the need to pick up the next one? No. It was a fast, uncomplicated read that unfortunately didn’t live up to the potential I thought it had, and sadly it will probably be the only Kerrelyn Sparks book I end up picking up. I would give it 2 stars out of 5.
I know Kerrelyn Sparks has a lot of fans out there, so this is probably not going to be a popular review. Is her work usually so…easy? No drama, no sense of urgency or danger, just light and breezy romance? Just curious, since it is the first book of hers I have ever tried.