Disclaimer: I was given a reviewer’s copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Kiss of the Fey by Charlotte Cyprus is a fantasy romance novel that follows the relationship of King Xenos and Johara, an illegitimate princess of Blairford. It contains all the key elements of fantasy and romance: magic (in the form of fairies and warlocks), curses, sword fights, and steamy intimacy.
Admittedly, when I began reading Kiss of the Fey, I was a bit apprehensive. I have no qualms with the text being independently published. In fact, I praise Cyprus for having the daring and tenacity to go against the norm and make her own way in the publishing world. However, the beginning of the novel is a bit jarring. The pacing is very fast, and the writing feels unpolished. For the first few chapters, characters and plot twists seem to emerge rapidly, which is a bit off-putting, and it feels like Cyprus is rushing the reader through the novel. I would have liked more time to get to oriented in Cyprus’s world and meet her characters; however, this pacing preference may be entirely personal.
As the novel progresses, both the pacing and the writing improve. Once the reader is situated with the characters in the kingdom of Malum, the integral part of the plot starts to develop and the mystery of King Xenos’s curse unfolds at a manageable pace that is much easier to follow. Additionally, once the characters arrive in Malum, Cyprus takes her time developing their personalities. By the midpoint of the book, I was thoroughly invested in the witty and fiery Johara and her complex, introverted King Xenos. The side characters, most notably Orion, Lady Udele, and Waite, also have distinct and lively personalities, which adds depth to the overall feel of the world.
One place where the writing definitely did not disappoint is the romantic scenes. These scenes were appropriate saucy and satisfying, while still being tasteful enough for a wide audience. On this note, I also appreciated how Johara and Xenos’s first love scene was realistic. It was the first time making love for both of them, and while it was obviously enjoyable and gratifying, it was not unrealistically filled with fireworks and perfection. Cyprus has a talent for writing erotic romance.
As to the overall plot, it was intriguing and satisfying. I could see the vague outline of where Cyprus was taking the novel, but I did not always see every twist and turn. Again, my main criticism of the plot is that it did move a little quickly. Although the pacing improved toward the middle of the novel, I wish Cyprus would have taken more time to develop the subplots and tease the reader more with the mystery of Xenos’s curse. However, in the end, the events surrounding Xenos’s curse are clear, and the reader is left with a satisfying conclusion to all loose ends. While the wrapping may be have been quick, the bow is tied nice and tight.
Going forward, I would recommend that Cyprus consider doing a little revision (another fantastic perk made available by the choice to independently publish). The story and characters are fun and engaging, but I believe they need more room to breathe and the writing needs a bit more polishing. However, I will say this — Kiss of the Fey is one of the most fun books I’ve read all year. It kept me laughing (when appropriate) and worrying (when appropriate) and thoroughly entertained. With just a little editing, I think it could be a great novel.
If you are interested in reading Kiss of the Fey and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.