Book Review: Prince of Luster by Candace Sams

Prince of Luster by Candace SamsTitle: Prince of Luster
Author: Candace Sams
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction
Sensuality Rating: Innocent/Mild/Sensual/Steamy/Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: July 14, 2014 by Crimson Romance

As an undercover operative for the Constellation League, Marcos Starlaw’s current assignment is a dangerous mission. Posing as a low-end gem merchant, he must infiltrate the Delta Seven mining colony to discern whether pirates have overrun the planet as his superiors suspect. Still, he expects to return home soon, back into the arms of the many women who eagerly await his return.

Burned and scarred by torture, Nova Drayton has lived the past two years in a cave, waiting for someone to help her people. The governor of her home world is a lying, thieving traitor who has taken up with the Limaxian pirates that have overrun her society. They’ve killed many innocents, including her parents and fiancĂ©. Realizing law enforcers may never come—that they’ve likely forgotten their promise to so much as patrol her beleaguered colony—Nova now hates everything having to do with the vaunted Constellation League and its pretentious officers.

When Marcos comes face to face with the pirates and a weapon of mass destruction, he makes a critical mistake, blowing his cover. If Nova doesn’t help Marcos escape the pirates … well, he’s already one heartbeat away from taking his last breath. How can he convince a girl who’s lived through hell that he’s the one she’s been waiting for?

With nothing left but their own ingenuity, the pair must find a way to ally or die at the hands of cutthroats.

Reviewed By: Emily from Oh Magic Hour

Why I Read This Book: I actually hadn't heard of this book before the publisher reached out to Brianna and offered us a copy for review, but after seeing the blurb I was sold.  Rakish offworlder royalty meets sincere, strong woman who inspires him to change his ways?  Plus spaceships?  Sold!

What I Liked:  In this novel, the main relationship develops between Marcos Starlaw, second son to interstellar royalty, and Nova Drayton, a strong young woman who, along with her planet, has suffered mightily at the hands of an alien despot figure.  Marcos is sent to her planet by his father in order to investigate claims that there is something nefarious going on. Within the first few hours of his being on planet, Marcos veers from the investigatory script and inserts himself into the planetary conflict, becoming seriously injured and left for dead. Nova rescues him and nurses him back to health and love, of course, ensues.

I really enjoyed both of these main characters. I thought they were both likeable and fit well together.  Marcos was a fun rakish prince character when the book opens, and I enjoyed seeing how his struggles at the opening of the novel change him and mold him.  I wanted him to have a bit more faith in his partner -- see a bit more on this below -- but overall, I thought the romance made sense and was believable, which is a must have for me.

I completely loved the side characters as well, which always makes a romance read more enjoyable for me. Marcos' family particularly had so much depth that it made me wonder if there were other novels by this author that featured them. I want to know more about their backstories and loved seeing familial love depicted alongside the other kinds of love the book explores.

I also loved that both characters are seriously disfigured when they first fall in love with each other.  So many times in romance novels both characters are perfect in every way physically and you get a lot of descriptions of their physical prowess, but not as much about their characters.  Here, the two fell for each other in a real, cerebral way; not only based on looks. I thought that allowed for a more interesting plot.

And speaking of plot, I did enjoy the political interstellar action that drove the plot. I found it totally believable and more than just a bit of window dressing for the romance, which really pleased me.

What I Didn't Like:  I don't mind a bit of Alpha in my leading men, but I do dislike it when the urge to protect "your woman" goes a bit overboard.  To me, this novel walked that fine line.  Nova had been caring for herself and protecting herself for a long time before Marcos showed up.  As soon as he is healthy enough to basically walk ten steps, he is insisting that he protect her and basically forbidding her from doing things she used to do before they met. And then she gives in!  I want my romances to make the strong girl stronger, not to turn her into a shade of her former self.  I don't know that it went THAT far in this novel, but I was turned off a little bit by his extreme protective nature when he was on her turf and she had been keeping him (and herself) safe and protected up to that time.  Give the girl more credit, Marcos!

I also wanted the romance to kick in a bit earlier. We really only get to see them as a couple for a little bit (it's a pretty short book) before the climax of the action.  I enjoy a good build-up as much as the next person, but I wanted a little bit more release of that tension that builds so much instead of only basically one chapter.

And it will always be a bit of a personal pet peeve when a lot of the romantic drama is based on keeping a big secret from your partner "for their own good" or because you are afraid of their reaction. Nothing romantic about secret keeping for me!

Overall Impression: I thought Prince of Luster was a perfectly enjoyable read, but not something I couldn't live without. It was short and easy to read, with characters that will stick with me. I thought the author did a good job working in the action and background political plot and really developing it; not just making it a two-dimensional backdrop for a romance. But I didn't feel like we got enough resolution or depth from the main relationship and so was left a bit wanting in the end.

Emily’s Rating:
3 Frogs

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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