Review: Lord of Legends

Review: Lord of Legends by Susan Krinard

He is Arion, King of the Unicorns. Powerful, seductive, he could possess any female he desired - until now. He is condemned to live as a man, and it is only the enchanting Lady Mariah Donnington's innocence that can release him from his curse.

Abandoned on her wedding night, frightened of her hidden, otherworldly heritage, Mariah is instinctively drawn to the mysterious stranger she discovers imprisoned on her husband's estate. But, as the secret of Arion's magical identity unfolds, their friendship burns into a passion that cannot, must not, be consummated. For to do so would destroy them both.


As a horse lover, the moment I learned that the hero of 'Lord of Legends' was a unicorn banished into the body of a human male, I couldn't wait to dive in and read how this mystery came to be.

Mariah's marriage was a sham. She agreed to marry the Earl of Donnington and even sailed across the ocean from America but she never agreed to have her husband leave the morning after their vows without a word or letter proclaiming his whereabouts or when he'll return. Instead, the man that she thought she loved left with nary a kiss, leaving his virgin bride to fend for herself in an unknown land with his cold mother who carelessly blames Mariah for her son's disappearance.

Now, roaming the extensive grounds of Donbridge, Mariah feels nothing but loneliness. But her life is given renewed purpose when she discovers a man locked in the Folly. Mariah is struck instantly by his strange and uncanny resemblance to her husband. They look identical except for the prisoner has thick white hair and endless deep pools of black for his eyes. His cell, only truly habitable by a large dog, is cold and filthy. His water bucket is empty and the whole place smells of rotted food. Then there is the unsettling fact that the prisoner is very naked with sleek muscles rippling beneath smooth skin. Unfortunately, but thankfully, he is wearing a rudimentary loin cloth that barely hides his virile maleness.

Sadly though, the prisoner appears to be mad. Throwing himself against the iron bars of his cell and locking Mariah's gaze with his wild black eyes. Mariah discovers quickly that he can't talk nor does he know who is or how he came to be locked in a cell. Mariah is no stranger to madness. Her mother suffered for years from delusions of another world where fairies and unicorns bounded upon an endless sea of green grass. Having lost her mother despite her valiant attempts to bring her back into the real world, Mariah feels that helping the mad prisoner might help her to feel that she's done something right for someone in need. One thing does become clear, the prisoner knows and hates Mariah's husband with a vengeance and she begins to suspect that Donnington had something to do with his imprisonment.

Mariah, needing a name for the prisoner and since he doesn't have one, dubs him Ash. She gathers clothes and other necessities along with books to take back with her to the folly. It's soon discovered that Ash could talk but that he simply didn't remember. He tells Mariah that her recital of the books helped him to find his words. Over the next few days, Mariah and Ash spend time learning from one another. And when they accidentally touch, sparks ignite sending warmth traveling into every corner of Mariah's body.

It doesn't take long before memory returns to Ash. While Ash certainly isn't his real name, he decides to let Mariah continue to think that he's possibly Donnington's cousin, suffering from a miled bout of amnesia. For Arion, the King of Unicorns can't ever let Mariah find out the truth about him or he'll never again return to his true form or back to his home of Tir-na-Nog. Banished by the leader of the Fane, Oberon, after being polluted by the scheming usurper, Cairbre, Arion was punished into the form of a mortal man and cast out of Tir-na-Nog. Cairbre, power hungry and conspiring to steal the thrown from Oberon, had tried to persuade Arion's help. But the Unicorn King not only denied him but laughed in his face. Angered and scared that Arion would go to Oberon; Cairbre got to the Fane lord first and convinced him of Arion's treason. But Cairbre whispers to Arion that he can return if he helps to bring across the Gate a mortal virgin named Mariah. Upon her safe arrival, innocence still intact, Cairbre will return Arion to his true form. Hating his clumsy mortal body, Arion will do anything to return to Tir-na-Nog, even if that means he must win Mariah's trust only to betray her.

Mariah is bit nonplussed by Ash's rapid learning skills. Soon he is speaking, reading, and acting like a true English gentlemen and he's also becoming difficult to control. With the help of her only real ally, Sinjin, Donnington's brother, Mariah is able to break Ash out of his cell and install him at the grounds keeper's cottage. Promising that he'll not leave the cottage or attempt to confront the Dowager Lady Donnington, Sinjin will then provide him clothes befitting an English lord and help him to act as such as well. But it's not long before Ash breaks their rules. Pouncing on Sinjin's and Mariah's belief that Ash is a long lost cousin, Ash uses a visit from Prince Albert to make his surprise entrance into human society.

Mariah, frustrated and angry that Ash has stepped out so brazenly into society, can't help but wonder about his motives. Revenge seems logical. Is Ash using her to get back at Donnington for wrongly imprisoning him? It's a horrible thought but Mariah can't help but let it consume her heart. Now more than ever, Mariah strives to distance herself from Ash but when he asks her to join him at Rothwell, Sinjin's home, at the request of the Prince, Mariah can't say no. As long as Ash needs her, she will be there for him. Little does she know that Ash wants to keep Mariah as close as possible in the hopes of earning her heart. Hoping that taking her out from under the Dowager's all seeing and cruel gaze, perhaps it'll make it easier for Mariah to succumb to his need. But Ash isn't the only one intent on betraying Mariah.

Lady Westlake, a cruel woman who would have Donnington to herself, strives desperately to tarnish Mariah's reputation beyond ruin in the hopes that when Donnington returned, he'd seek an annulment after learning of his wife's unforgivable behavior. The Dowager aids Lady Westlake in her endeavor, not because she wants the conniving woman in her son's arms but rather to help her dispense with the American upstart so that she may find her favorite son a good English girl. Someone more appropriate and befitting for the role of Countess. And these two woman are ruthless in their plans.

Ash slowly comes to realize that betraying Mariah is not something he could ever do. Yes, he wants to return to Tir-na-Nog and destroy his enemies both mortal and immortal, but he's come to admire Mariah's courage and her trust in him. When Mariah admits that she thinks she's starting to go insane as her mother did, Ash knows that Cairbre is close and is tired of waiting for him to deliver his promise. Cairbre is sending his spies after Mariah. They are fairies or sprites that buzz about Mariah constantly. Then there is the fact that Mariah is catching glimpses of Ash's true form. When her heart is open to the minute amount of Fane blood flowing through her veins, the world of Tir-na-Nog is revealed. But Mariah can't trust these visions. She can only believe that her greatest fear is coming true. She is just as mad as her mother.

When suddenly Donnington returns, Ash is once again imprisoned and Mariah makes the deal that if Donnington lets Ash free, than she will be his wife in truth, forever. But neither the Dowager, Lady Westlake nor Ash will allow that deal to fruition. Ash will have his vengeance and he will make sure that Mariah is safe not only from Tir-na-Nog, but from her mortal enemies as well.

'Lord of Legends', while satisfying, wasn't entirely what I was expecting. I truly thought that with a Unicorn hero there would be a more mystical feel to the novel. My mind was captivated for the first hundred pages and then my interest slowly waned. I thought there were too many evil characters plotting Mariah's downfall. And Lady Westlake was cruel to the extreme. It almost seemed like the novel revolved more around the plotting of these evil characters rather than focusing on the romance.

Also, Ash never felt real to me. In the beginning I hung on his every look, word, and thought but then he became a shell or place holder in the novel. The worst aspect was that I never truly believed that he loved Mariah except for the last two or three pages. Granted it was his goal to get Mariah to love him not the other way around but I would have liked to read in his monologues that he was falling for her. That he loved her with every inch of his soul but alas, that was never the case.

Conversely, I believed in Mariah's love for Ash. She suspected her feelings for him early on and she truly would have strived to do anything and everything for him. And she did. She risked her reputation and her life for Ash again and again. With all the magic that Ash possessed, why couldn't he have salvaged her reputation? Her peers were tearing her to shreds but his comfort seemed paltry and more a matter of necessity rather than a burning desire. Plus, he almost has sex with another woman! I nearly lost complete respect for him there.

Lastly, the ending was brief and hazy. Of course they did reach their happy ending and I did like how that unfolded in the last thirty pages or so but I didn't feel that the plot and sub plots were tied up. I closed the book wondering about things. I guess that all and all, it just wasn't what I was expecting from the novel. It starts off with bang and ends to crickets chirping.

C+



Interested in 'Lord of Legends'? Check out Susan Krinard HERE for more info!

25 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

I was more stuck at the unicorn thing...yeah can't think they are sexy. And after your review, no, i can find better books :)

Erotic Horizon said...

Hey VFG..

Ever since you said you were trying a new author I have been waiting on this review...

While I have not read this book, i have read other Krinard books and two thing stands out with her - two many side stories and her plots are generally convoluted..

That being said, i love her baddies - i am a big baddies fan and this Dowager just sound horrid..

What is this all about

'he is wearing a rudimentary loin cloth that barely hides his virile maleness."

He's mad and conveniently has a loin cloth on - what about mad and letting it all hang out (for heaven sakes)

I hope you try another book by her and have better luck..

I love the commentary and the fact that you cover all the bases. I am going to dig up my copy for my summer read - "it's the loin cloth that did it for me..

E.H>

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Blodeuedd!

Yeah, I unfortunately, was really looking forward to the whole unicorn aspect. You don't see that much in paranormal historicals. ;)

And truly, the first hundred pages were captivating and then everything just unraveled for me and I completely lost interest. There was too much hatred for the heroine who didn't deserve any of it. Anyone with half a brain would have realized that too.

:) VFG

VampFanGirl said...

LMAO E.H.!!!!!!!!!! IT was totally convinient that he's mad AND wearing a loin cloth! LOL! My interest spiked with it too. I thought that it was possibly a hint towards a great sensual romance, but alas that's the only true remark on Ash's "maleness". Imagine my disappointment!

And you're right, there were too many side stories and the plot was convoluted in it's complexity. As I mentioned to Blodeuedd, I just couldn't take all the conspiring and evil vilians in the novel. Everyone seemed to be evil except for Mariah. It was almost sick how evil they were and I think it greatly overshadowed the romance.

I'm debating whether or not I want to read another novel by Krinard. Since you've read her before, can you recommend something better?

:) VFG

Lea said...

Wow...

Awesome review VFG. Thanks for the review and your thoughts VFG!

I does sound as if the plot of this story was a little incohesive? Poor Mariah, she does sound to have had all the cards stacked against her.

Well, at least there was a HEA!

As for the loin cloth thing... Well eh... lol (I nearly spewed my soup.)

It was the visual....

Happy Reading
L

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Lea! Opps, sorry about the soup. I should start posting warnings. :)

No kidding, poor Mariah was right! What I really disliked in that is at the end, after all this evil plotting and her reputation in shreds, there was no explaination as to how she lived in society afterward. I mean, how was her reputation repaired?? How could it EVEN be repaired??

The loin cloth was nice though...

:) VFG

Lea said...

Sad, truly sad.... Poor poor Mariah!

But hey - at least she gets to look under the loin cloth?

L

VampFanGirl said...

LOL!! Yup, she did get that didn't she. :)

Mandi said...

Thanks for the review...I have never read anything by this author. The blurb would have caught my interest as well...glad you read it first though:) There has to be another unicorn story out there...:)

VampFanGirl said...

Sheesh, I hope so Mandi. Let me know ASAP if you discover one.

:) VFG

Erotic Horizon said...

Hey VFG..

let me have a look and then i let you know of one that i enjoyed..

E.H>

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi VFG!

So glad I read your review, almost picked this book up over the weekend.

The cover art is fantastic, smoldering eyes, fair chested, beautiful hair, I guess this is one case of art not imitating the book.

Lion cloth sounds interesting though, or maybe what's...err... ::beneath:: the cloth.

Loved your review even though you had problems with the story.

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks E.H.!!

Hi Dottie! I know, the cover is beautiful. I especially love the back where the unicorn is galloping along the bottom. So pretty!! The male cover model looks nothing like Ash though. He has thick White hair and Black eyes! LOL, it doesn't exactly appeal to the cravings of romance readers today, does it? That's probably why they chose the darker haired/blue-eyed cover model. More appealing.

Thank you for enjoying the review!

:) VFG

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Thanks for the review. I was at Borders this past weekend and I was so close to getting this book. The cover is HOT, but the story was a little iffy for my. Unicorns? Like seriously? So I read about a chapter of it and placed it back.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

I've been waiting for your review on this one. In the begining, I was like you, completely smitten, then my eagerness waned when Mariah and Ash were separated. I didn't like that and began to lose interest.

As a hussy, I was hoping for more sensuality and more explicit scenes. Well, more love scenes in general.

She did make me want to read Sin's book, though.

To me, the whole husband subplot was off. he didn't want Mariah, then he did, then he doesn't and back and forth. I couldn't pin down his motive....

So, while I admire the writing and the first third of the book, the rest kind of waned for me as well.

i liked it over all, but it's probably not going to be something I pick up for a sigh and a tingle.

however, well written, VFG!!!

VampFanGirl said...

You're welcome I Heart Book Gossip!

I can totally see how the unicorn bit might seem weird to some readers and I think it's main appeal is to horse lovers.

I really wanted the whole mystical aspects that come with the mythical creature like beauty and magic and the novel really did start that way, for me at least, but these qualites soon disappeared and I was left disappointed.

Nice of you to read the first chapter though. I rarely if ever do that when I'm interested in a book.

:) VFG

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Charlotte!

Oh, gosh, you're so right about the husband subplot. He never did actually explain why he wanted Mariah for himself at the end. It was almost like he merely craved the thrill of the hunt or something. That, or he just wanted to get back at Cairbre.

The last few seconds of his part in the novel were heartbreaking though. Within seconds I went from hating him to sypathizing with him. He never truly saw Mariah until that moment. I think he was derranged. In fact, everyone but Ash, Sinjin, and Mariah were completely insane.

The writing was beautiful and the first half of the novel had me transfixed. Krinard had so much potential from that point on *sigh* but I did like it. I didn't hate it but I certainly didn't love it either.

And poor Sinjin! He really lost in 'Lord of Legends'. I'm still wondering who or what Nola is too. I hope she can make him happy. :)

:) VFG

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

After looking at the cover of this book on your blog for the longest time, I was curious to know what it was all about. Not my sort of thing with unicorns and fantasy, but I did enjoy your review of it! Is it just me, or does the guy on the cover look just like that British singer who sings "You're Beautiful" (forget his name)?

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Julie!

I belive you're thinking of James Blunt. I'm pretty sure that's his name. Either way I know exactly who you're refering to and I totally agree. An uncanny resemblance really.

It seems that many are bit off put by a unicorn hero. It's probably that very reason as to why there isn't many paranormal/fantasy romance novels of this variety.

Thanks for reading and enjoying my review!

:) VFG

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Hey, VFG I think Nola the servant is the witch who endsup getting Sinjin in his book. At least I'm hoping so....

VampFanGirl said...

Yup, Charlotte, I just double checked Krinard's site and she's Sinjin's heroine. I have to admit that I'm really curious about her. How she comes to be a widow shall be very interesting....

Cecile said...

Hey VampGirl,
Awesome review... love honesty best of all!!! The cover made me want to read the book, but with a downfall of to many things going on at once... I can only take that in life!! LOL!! But I did love the review! Hope all is well!!!

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Cecile!!

There is a lot going on in 'Lord of Legends'. :) Quite a lot of evil plotting that overshadows the romance a bit. But it's a definite surety that the cover is gorgeous.

Glad to see you back!

:) VFG

Cecile said...

You are welcome!
Yes, the covers are gorgeous, I will say that! I saw it at the bookstore the other day and thought of you, because I knew you were reading it!!! So, I couldn't wait for you review it!!
Girl... I am letting everyone know about the two contest you are having at my place!!!

VampFanGirl said...

(((((super hugs))))) Thanks Cecile!!

 
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