Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Before Midnight (Blood Prince #1) by Jennifer Blackstream


Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

What if Cinderella was a werewolf? And so was the Prince? And the Stepmother was not only Wicked but Insane? This is not the Cinderella story your Daddy told you – unless your dad was a cross between Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft.

The heroine is Loupe and as the Cinderella character she is used and abused, far beyond the usual scrubbing floors and waiting on the Stepsisters. [Since this is werewolf story, naming the heroine ‘Loupe’ is a bit of tell.] She was bitten by a dying wolf which began her secret life as a loup garou and further complicated her situation. She fears her secret being revealed, she fears what she might do as a wolf, and she especially fears her Stepmother who has made a career out of poaching wolves out of the King’s forest… Despite her fears Loupe exhibits warmth and courage under adversity.

The Prince is Etienne, a lycanthrope [born werewolf as opposed to the loup garou who are made werewolves], who was ‘saved’ by a well-meaning witch. At least she thought she was saving him by putting a spell on him to make him permanently human. The spell is time-sensitive so to break it he must be bitten by a loup garou before he becomes permanently human. To find one they plan the great ball…

Of course we all know how the ball worked out, only this time rather than turning back into a scullery maid the heroine turns into a wolf… Of course, she’s the wolf of the prince’s dreams AND the cure for his not-so-little problem so it’s all good. 

It’s a good read with a few light-hearted moments and several exceedingly grim ones. Although this is basically a stand-alone novel, the opening line of the prologue - “The werewolf, the vampire, the demon, the angel, and the god. Oh, Blessed Goddess, I have my work cut out for me.” - makes it obvious that it is part of a series based on preternatural princes making their perfect matches. Looks good, I am anticipating the next one.

Blood Prince series:
#1 - Before Midnight
#2 - One Bite
#3 - Golden Stair


Copy received from Netgalley and publisher for an honest review.

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