I have read this book several times. It is book one in the Realm Immortal trilogy. I L-O-V-E it. You know why? Because it is a grown up "How Labyrinth Should Have Ended" story. You remember Labyrinth, don't you? Jennifer Connolly as Sara, David Bowie as the Goblin King, Jareth, in the tightest pants ever made? I can remember when I was little, I wanted Sara to marry Jareth. Somehow, I felt like this was supposed to be a love story. Well guess what. it was. They changed it when 14 year old Jennifer Connolly was cast as the lead. (I have a whole post planned about how Labyrinth could have been a HOT movie if an adult was cast instead of a child.) On to the book review.
Merrick is the King of the Unblessed. He isn't what you would call an evil man but he isn't butterflies and kittens either. There cannot be day without night, but the dark isn't evil. The opposite side of the coin is necessary. Merrick is fascinated by Lady Juliana of Bellemare. Juliana yearns for an adventure but is set to be married to an old family friend in days. Merrick offers her adventure in a way she cannot refuse and still live with her conscience. In the Realm of the Immortals, things are not what they seem. Looking with your eyes is deceiving. Juliana must learn to see beyond what her eyes show her if she is ever going to find happiness with Merrick. Can there be happiness with a man like Merrick?
What I LikedMerrick is intense. He doesn't deal in half measures. If he wants something, he will have it or he will destroy it so no one else can have it. He isn't some one to be trifled with. The relationship between Merrick and Juliana is all about possessiveness. Is that a bad thing? I say no. One of my favorite quotes is "I am my Beloveds and my Beloved is mine." That is from the bible, folks. Merrick wants to own Juliana. He doesn't want to stifle her of smother her because that would change who she is. He wants to call her his unconditionally. He is fine with being hers, in return.
Ms Pillow is very true to the nature of Merrick. He is who he is. There are never going to be words of tender endearments from him, but if you listen he does express his love. I liked the parallels to Labyrinth immensely. Two separate scenes are perfect mirrors of Sara/Jareth. One, when he tells Juliana to "Beg me, obey me, and I will be your slave." (Beg, woman! For the love of all that is good, beg!). The other is when he tells Juliana that he has "turned the world upside for you. I move the stars for no one." The book in now way is a direct rewrite of the Labyrinth. It just has a nice Labyrinth flavor.
What I didn't likeUm, I didn't like that it ended?
But wait! It didn't end. Book three, The Stone Queen, is also about Merrick and Juliana.
Forbidden Fruit Rating
Author linksMichelle M. Pillow can be found on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Raven, which she co owns with her BFF, Mandy Roth. She also has a YouTube channel and a Blog. I recommend getting to know her. She is very active on her facebook site. You can talk with her often and she is hilarious. If you follow Mandy Roth as well you are in for a real treat, The duo have absolutely delightful banter. This is just one of many titles available by Michelle M. Pillow. I also highly recommend her Dragon Lords series and her Lords of the Var series.
A book in the hand is better than two on the shelf.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”