The Elder Races is one of those paranormal romance series that seems to be hit or miss with some readers. Not me though, I’ve loved every installment Thea Harrison has released. One of the things I’ve heard over and over when it was announced that this would be Aryal’s story was that readers were concerned because she was one of the least liked characters. Aryal has always been abrasive and aggressive, and hasn’t had the best relationship with one of the favorites, Pia. I was never worried though, I think I’m one of the few fans of this series that actually likes her character.
Kinked begins just a short period of time after the events in Lord’s Fall. The games are over and new sentinels have been chosen, the Wyr have won the battle against the man who set out to enslave the Elves and Pia and Dragos have welcomed their new bundle of joy. The only thing marring what should be a rest period for everyone in Cuelebre Tower is the ongoing war between Aryal and the new sentinel Quentin Caeravorn.
Aryal knows there is something criminal about Quentin’s activities, but her investigations have turned up nothing. She sees him as a threat to everything she holds dear and is bound and determined to expose him as a criminal. Quentin has left his illegal activities behind and has earned his place as a sentinel, but still carries around guilt over his role in the events surrounding Dragos and Pia’s initial encounters. When Dragos comes across their latest fight he decides he’s had enough, so as punishment he makes them partners and sends them on a quest into Elven lands. Either they will come back having worked out their differences or they will both be let go as sentinels. Or else they’ll kill each other.
I absolutely believe fans of this series will be thrilled with this new installment. It has the same dark, gritty feel, but with a sexier romance. Ms. Harrison did a brilliant job of taking a hard to like character and letting her personality unfold naturally on the page so that readers can get to know her and understand her better.
She didn’t fit the concept of what a modern female should be like, and that made her even more annoying to a modern, entitled male such as he. She didn’t defer to his opinion or mask her own spiky personality to fit the concept of any modern behavior, because she wasn’t modern. She was truly one of the most ancient and wildest of creatures.
I don’t like to use the word redeemed in relation to Aryal because I’ve never thought she needed to change. She is who she is and we the readers just never really understood who that was. I’ve always liked the strength of the women in this series and that they are allowed to be strong without acting ridiculous or becoming too cliché. Aryal is just as tough as any man, able to go toe to toe with anyone physically and she proves that over and over. In Quentin she finds a worthy opponent who has just as many personality flaws as she does. I loved the progression of their relationship from beating the crap out of each other at every turn to working as a team and falling in love. This couple is a bit edgier than some of the previous ones, mainly because they are more physical with each other, both before and after they start a sexual relationship. There is an abundance of emotion between them from the beginning, that emotion just starts to develop into something else as they are forced to spend time together . Their bedroom antics are a little darker than others of this series as well. They play around with dominance games, daring each other to give up control, experimenting with and learning from each other. Both Aryal and Quentin are sexually aggressive and dominant so when they allow the other control over their encounters it makes for some awfully dirty sexy times. I loved it.
There was never a time I wanted to lay my kindle down and take a break. From the time I started chapter one to the final scene I was engaged wholeheartedly with this couple. I enjoyed everything about them, from their initial taunting and fighting:
“I hate you,” said Quentin, “so goddamn passionately.”
To their extreme sexy times:
Aryal growled, a husky wild note that shuddered over his skin and went straight for his cock, and she kissed him back savagely. They ate at each other as if they were still fighting.
To when they finally fall for each other and still can’t help but talk smack, even as they are cuddling or baring their souls:
He sighed. “Okay, when you’re not making me batshit crazy, I guess maybe I like you after all. But if you tell anybody that, I’m going to have to throttle you again.”
This series is still full steam ahead, with this installment sure to be well received by readers. It’s one I recommend time and again. I will never get enough of these characters or the world they live in. Final Grade- A
She quieted that internal whip that drove him because she became the whip, her soul as sharp as a knife. He could cut himself on her, wrap her in his arms and be her buffer. Heal her from herself, bruise himself on her. Let her heal him. Let her be his buffer. They were so unapologetic, so kinked.
He said, “We’re perfect.”