by Michelle M Pillow, historical/fantasy (2009, reissue)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-507-8
Michelle M Pillow's King Of The Unblessed was previously released by the same publisher back in 2006. I'm not sure whether this edition has been revised in any way, however.
In this setting, we have the human realm and the realm of the elves. The Kingdom of Valdis is ruled by the "dark elvin" King Merrick from the Black Palace of the Unblessed. The very presence of the King of the Unblessed absorbs life from every living thing in his vicinity. Poor Merrick doesn't like his existence, though. He wishes for more friends and, naturally, a hot girlfriend to steam up his icy palace. This woman is Juliana of Bellemare (not to be confused with Julie the Hot Brood Mare), a human whom he has been spying on with increasing obsession through his magical scrying pool thingy. Being a gentleman of evil, emo, and all that rot, he decides that there is only one thing he can do: abduct Juliana to his place and tell her to either put out so that he can boink her until he gets bored of her and tosses her aside or die at his hands so that he doesn't have to obsess over her anymore.
Merrick's action sets in motion a chain of events both in the human realm and the realm of the Blessed (Juliana is the ward of the King of the Blessed), and these aspects of the story are the most interesting parts to read. Ms Pillow has created a vivid and atmospheric setting here and I find myself drawn into all the action and intrigue taking place here. Juliana is also a pretty good heroine, as she is a strong and capable heroine without going all stupid on me. This story is well paced and fun to write, to put it simply.
I can't warm up to Merrick, though. He is so wrapped up in his misery and his conclusion that everyone and everything hates him that he ends up behaving like a selfish and petty brat who is mad because people can't read his mind and understand what a lovable misunderstood moron he is. In this story, things are happening and sometimes, it does seem as if the sky is falling down, and yet Merrick makes everything about him and his pity party of one. It's bad enough that he has to blackmail and threaten his girlfriend into putting out when he could have easily used his evil charms to seduce her into his dark side, but he also has to whine that she won't love him, instead considering herself his whore after all he has done to make sure that she puts out to him whether she likes it or not. Merrick is so tedious, I wish one of the more interesting sequel baits here has been the hero instead of him. Juliana certainly deserves better than this boring fellow.
King Of The Unblessed is an enjoyable read, but I have to say that I find the romance to be easily the most uninteresting aspect of the story.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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