Four times a year, a witch is chosen.
Four times a year, a witch is left bound in a clearing –
Served up as a sacrifice to honor the peace treaty.
But those offered up in tribute never return.
The rulers of Avalon exact vengeance on my people.
But many forget they started the war.
They are monsters. They are murderers.
And now it's my turn. I volunteered to save my sister.
Only I wind up belonging to him.
He's the heir to the throne, and my vilest enemy.
He's bent on making me his slave both in and out of bed.
But this witch will never surrender.
“I’d never considered that we’d become the monsters…”
So, where do start writing a review for this incredible book? It’s so hard to decide. I’ll admit upfront I’m a huge fan of Anya’s. I’ve been reading her books for years and have read a lot of them. Since she’s written well over fifty that says something. All of her books are good, most are great and a few are off the charts fantastic. To me the story in this book is the best she’s ever told.
Urban Gladiator is completely different from any other book I’ve read by her. No doms, billionaires or cowboys, no clubs or ranches, this book is a romance between a witch and a wolf-shifter prince in a place concealed from our world where all manor of paranormal creatures exist.
I liked Ember from the very beginning. Volunteering in her sister’s place, knowing she will die, how could I not admire her? Just like Ember, I didn’t trust Rowan at first. He was so cruel and prejudiced, so arrogant and narrow minded. Even when he suspected Ember was his mate he still held firm to his decision that she had to die, while resenting the fate that gave him a hated witch as his mate. But the more I got to know him, the more of himself I saw from his point of view, the more I realized there was so much more to him. More than I think he even realized himself. Turns out, he’s actually pretty wonderful. It wasn’t long before I was head over heels in love with him.
No doubt Rowen and Ember were destined to be together and my heart broke over and over with them. At the same time they both made me angry with the stupid decisions they kept making. I couldn’t believe they weren’t able to see what to me were the most obvious solutions. They so clearly loved each other that I finally concluded that had to be the very reason they couldn’t see what they needed to do. Their emotions were blinding them to everything. So much passion and yearning, so much angst.
If I had one complaint about this incredible story it’s that twice I felt rushed. First their transition from adversaries to lovers in the middle was glossed over without enough time for them to really know each other. This also made it seem like Rowen changed too quickly, which was difficult to accept since he’d lived with his beliefs for over two hundred years. They had basically one discussion and then everything just jumped ahead.
The part that I really didn’t like, though, and it’s enough I am actually taking half a star away from the book for, is how very rushed and incomplete the end was. And don’t even get me started on how it seemed to completely ignore every reason they had throughout the entire story of why they couldn’t be together. I was left slightly stunned and a bit disappointed. When I realized it was finished I was like, seriously? That’s it? This story, along with Ember and Rowen, deserved a better conclusion than we got. So unbelievably sad. I know in my heart Anya can do better.
So, there we have it. An absolutely wonderful, amazing story (and couple) with an ending that is less so. Do recommend it? Very much so! I actually can’t wait for the next book which is clearly going to be about Simon (yum!) and Iris. I’m sure it will be fantastic as well and hopefully we will get a better ending with it. I’m just so sad I have to wait so long until I get to read it. I also hope Anya writes lots more paranormal romances. I just adored this one.
Four and a half stars, I’m rounding up because if the end had been as incredible as the rest of the story I would have given it ten stars and also because I loved Rowen and Ember so very much.
Great New Series
This is not what I expected from Anya Summers, but what a great surprise! Every 3 months, a witch is sacrificed because they lost a war with shifters and other paranormals. It's their penance. Ember, a witch, volunteers to be the sacrifice in order to save her sisters life, but has a plan to end this senseless sacrifice. Rowan, the shifter prince, brings her back for sacrifice, but first there is a tournament, the winner gets the witch to use as they wish for 2 weeks prior to her death. But after Rowan wins the tournament, he is shocked to learn Ember is his mate. This story has great pace, full of twists, turns, action, drama, well written characters, sizzle, steam, and more. Great start and I look forward to more.
Ember and Rowan
This was an amazing departure from Anya Summers usual stuff. This book delves into the PRN world. The characters were strong and fearless. I loved Ember and her not so likable at first Rowen. This story has lots of action, danger and drama. The steamy scenes are quite entertaining. I loved this mythical tale of forbidden love.
I reviewed an advanced copy of this book via BookSprout.