This is a paranormal romance. That is important because I have yet to encounter a single paranormal romance novel I’ve liked, and I’ve read a few. Many of you adore the genre. My review will almost certainly not be useful to you.
Plot: woman who makes weapons but hates violence is randomly given a magic box at a market because of Reasons. The magic box turns out to have a 2,000 year old hottie who is the slave of anyone who opens the box until they die and can’t hurt them. There’s a super secret group of Highly Trained Supernatural Soldiers in the background to set up the next few books, but they have about 5 seconds on the page and those seconds are spent building each of their Wounded Hero archetypes. They fight an old sorcerer who is of course unambiguously, 100% the Most Evil Dude Ever down to an utterly horrifying plot point where he tries to force someone to sexually assault his own daughter or else he’d sexually assault someone they care about (none of this ends up happening of course).
But if you find sexual violence triggering, I strongly suggest you run the other way.
I didn’t like this book. At all. Even setting aside the triggering content that there are no warnings for, the plot feels like a cheap, straight to VHS movie from the 80’s with plot contrivances all over the place to force the narrative along. This is a common problem I have with supernatural romances. Why is this happening? …. MAGIC! The characters are flat stereotypes. CENTURIES LONG trauma (including, yes, more sexual violence) is resolved within an hour (no, I’m not exaggerating). Characters go from hating/fearing each other to in love in a matter of hours. The whole plot arc of a Weapons Manufacturer (our heroine) coming to terms with the fact that, SHOCK, her weapons are used to kill people, and deciding it’s okay that the odd innocent person is hurt by it, seems painfully dated in post-Sandy Hook world.
I like that the main relationship is mixed race, but there is also never a moment where our heroes have to navigate what it means to be close to someone from a vastly different culture and how to reconcile different ways of life, something which would have been particularly relevant to a white woman from the modern US hooking up with a 2,000 year old Middle Eastern warrior who has only had glimpses of the changes in the world in the last 20 centuries. Even the inevitable religious differences are glossed over.
This book goes deep on world building, with pages and pages of sentimental exposition added in without much context, and nothing else.
That said, if you like supernatural romances, this reads as pretty in line with any of the others I read that are very very highly thought of, so it might be your cup of tea.