Author: Thea Harrison
Publish Date: 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Elder Races, book 6
I love Thea Harrison’s Elder Race’s series because the world building and unique mythological characters featured in the books are a breath of fresh air to paranormal romance genre. Unfortunately, Kinked (the sixth installment in the series) didn’t work as well as the previous books for me.
The story follows Aryl, a harpy and Wyr Sentinel, as she is forced by her employer to go on a mission with the newest Sentinel, Quentin. For months, Aryl has been convinced that Quentin has nefarious reasons for becoming a Sentinel and she has made it her life mission to uncover whatever he is plotting. Aryl’s obsession and Quentin’s mutual antagonism toward her has driven everyone insane. When their employer loses his temper he gives them an ultimatum before sending them on the mission; learn to play nice or else.
The biggest issue I had with Kinked was that I could not get into Aryl and Quentin’s relationship dynamics. This could largely be attributed to the BDSM elements going on, which I’m not a fan of. If I remember correctly, this book was published around the time of the 50 Shades of Grey craze. So I can’t help but wonder if the popularity of that trilogy influenced the reason why this book was so focused on that aspect. Despite not enjoying BDSM in books, I will give Harrison props for doing it better than some other authors I’ve ran across. With the exception of an oddly placed riding crop scene near the end, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would here.
Typically, if I couldn’t get into the relationship at the center of an Elder Races novel, this wouldn’t be a huge problem for me as usually the main plot is enough to keep my interest. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here as the plot didn’t start gaining ground until the second half of the book. Instead the first half concentrates on Aryl and Quentin’s long hike/camping trip towards their destination where the main source of conflict is them hating each other or having sex. So, not being interested in their relationship, this section of the story dragged a lot. Luckily, the plot started picking-up in the second half of the story with a mystery involving shadow wolves and a witch. All in all, this would’ve been a more engaging story if the first half of the book hadn’t been watching Quentin and Aryl traveling or if, while traveling, they had conflicts outside of themselves that they needed to deal with. Instead, it’s about 100 pages of watching them bicker or molest each other while hiking.
For fans of the series, I would recommend reading this book as Harrison’s world and mythology are still extremely enjoyable here. However, if you’re someone who is looking to get into this series, I would recommend beginning with Oracle’s Moon, which is where I think Harrison started to hit her stride with these novels.