King of Thieves (Demons of Elysium #2) by Jane Kindred.
Review source: copy provided by Literati Author Services in exchange for an honest review. See more reviews here.
Rating (out of 5): 4.5
~ Book Synopsis ~
There are worse things to lose than one’s good name.
Belphagor can seduce demons with a look and bring angels to their knees with a single motion, but when it comes to being in love, the Prince of Tricks is out of his element.
At every turn, Vasily rebels against the discipline he claims to want, even refusing to use his safe word. But when Belphagor uses a scheme to shut down an underage brothel to test Vasily’s limits, he loses Vasily’s trust along with the boys he intended to set free.
Uncovering a smuggling ring that spans two worlds, Belphagor calls on a team of Nephilim mercenaries to rescue the “Lost Boys” from earthly gangsters. But his relationship seems beyond repair—and a heartbroken Vasily beyond his reach in the arms of a sensual demon named Silk.
Belphagor has more than enough grand schemes up his sleeve to bring down the smuggling ring for good. But when it comes to putting things right with Vasily, his bag of tricks is empty. Except for trust…and a plan to teach his boy a lesson neither will soon forget.
Warning: Contains two strong-willed lovers who will test the theory that without air, there can be no fire. Expect plenty of smoke, more than a few mirrors, and an old-fashioned Russian duel. You may need a shot of vodka when you’re done reading this one!
I was lucky enough to receive not only King of Thieves, but seeing as this was the 2nd book in the Demons of Elysium series, they also sent me Prince of Tricks to read before this one, because though the books can be read separately, the relationships in the books make more sense if they are read chronologically, and for me the relationships is what makes the books so interesting.
I admit that I was a bit wary when I read the warning at the beginning of Prince of Tricks. Now I have read pretty graphic m/m action before, but there was a few more mmm’s than I was used to and expecting.
“Warning: Contains erotic sex: m/m, m/m/m, m/m/m/m…oh hell. Let’s just say
“mmmmmm!” and be done with it.”
Now, don’t worry if you have a faint heart, it’s not as bad (or good, depending on your point of view) as it might appear. I have read more graphic books than this (and what doesn’t that say about me?), and though there was indeed several graphic scenes in both books, it’s not overwhelming. In fact, that was one of my favorite elements when it came to this book.
There is a lot of sex, rough sex, but it’s not overwhelming the storyline. There is a motive behind the graphic scenes, and the sex is not just sex. The characters develop beautifully throughout the books, and the graphic scenes are an important part of this development, which clearly separates Jane Kindred’s books from most erotic fiction.
Discovering Belphagor and Vasily’s relationship from this side of things has been both fun and heartbreaking. I had already read most of The Fallen Queen before I started Prince of Tricks, and for those of you who don’t know, the Demons of Elysium series is a prequel series to The House of Arkhangel’sk. Whether having read The Fallen Queen was an advantage or not, I can not tell you, but it certainly made things more interesting. I know there will be a something that causes Belphagor and Vasily to take a break or break up (I won’t tell you which, you will have to read it yourself to find out), and seeing them in the Demons of Elysium series makes it even more heartbreaking to think of how they stand in relationship to each other at the beginning of The Fallen Queen.
Knowing what, years from now, will happen to several of the characters we meet in the Demons of Elysium series made me notice things that I otherwise might have overlooked, and I do believe I connected more strongly with the characters because of it. Whether you want to read them in the order they were written, or the order they occurred is up to you, but I think both orders would make for an interesting read. Maybe I’ll do both.
My only complaint about the book is not really a complaint at all. I was incredibly frustrated at times, and wanted to grab both our boys and knock their heads together. Honestly! You know how men really can’t read between the lines when it comes to relationships? Well, imagine two men, confusing and hurting each other when really half of the conflicts could have been avoided if they just took the time to be honest and explain their motives, rather than being too proud and too damn male to do so.
“Belphagor reached for him suddenly and pulled Vasily into his arms. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to put you in danger again.”
“You’re confusing me,” Vasily whispered.
“That’s all right,” said Belphagor. “You’re confusing me too.”
-King of Thieves
All in all, I gave the book 4.5 out of 5 stars, because even though the book frustrated me at times, I wouldn’t want to change it, and I found no flaws in it. It’s well written, has tons of humor, and made my heart beat faster. Not to mention how furiously I was blushing when I was reading it at the airport, and a bunch of Russians walked by. Talking Russian. I swear, I will never be able to hear that language again without blushing. “Da Ser” will have a very special meaning to you after reading this book.
PS: If you are not following Jane Kindred on Twitter (@JaneKindred) and Facebook, (Jane Kindred) then you really should. I love that woman. She is so sweet and funny, and her updates constantly makes me laugh. She is such a wonderful person, and she became one of my favorite authors before I even read a single one of her books.
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