Saturday, March 24, 2012

Early Review - The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone

In the gaslit streets of Victorian London, phantoms rule the night, demons dance till dawn, and one supernatural detective dares to be seduced by the greatest power of all. . .

He's The Man With The Magic Touch

A master of deduction, seduction and other midnight maneuvers, Phaeton Black is Scotland Yard's secret weapon against things that go bump in the night. His prodigious gifts as a paranormal investigator are as legendary as his skills as a lover, his weakness for wicked women as notorious as his affection for absinthe. But when he's asked to hunt down a fanged femme fatale who drains her victims of blood, he walks right into the arms of the most dangerous woman he's ever known. . .

She's The Devilish Miss Jones

As deadly as she is, with a derringer tucked in her garter, Miss Jones is not the vampiric killer he's been staking out--but she may be just what Phaeton needs to crack the case. As the daughter of a Cajun witch, she possesses uncanny powers. As a fearless fighter, she can handle anything from Egyptian mummies to Jack the Ripper. But when an ancient evil is unleashed on the world, she could be his only salvation. . .or ultimate sacrifice.

Review: The Seduction of Phaeton Black takes place in Victorian England in 1889. When trying to describe Phaeton Black and this book, in my mind I imagined a combination of Sherlock Holmes, The Mummy movies and Indiana Jones all rolled up into an imaginative and clever book.  The cover for this book does not do it justice.  

Phaeton Black is a paranormal detective for Scotland Yard. He can sense all sorts of paranormal beings.  He is young, handsome, extremely intelligent and given to debauchery. He is a womanizer and enjoys his evenings with absinthe. He lives in an apartment in a whore house and has no personal attachments to anyone.
His nose was strong and straight.  His mouth was full, and yes, sensuous and kissable.  Hair much too long to be fashionable, but there was something about the mode.
While out investigating paranormal activity, Phaeton quite literally runs into a beautiful young woman who is being chased by pirates.  She pleads for his help to hide her from the pirates, and he agrees in a most forward and untraditional of ways.  This is our first introduction to America Jones, the Cajun daughter of a New Orleans witch and an English sea captain father.  America is also able to sense paranormal beings and has supernatural abilities herself.  The initial meeting between these two characters is interesting and unforgettable.  Miss Jones ends up knocking herself out, so Phaeton brings her home with him while still unconscious.  Thus begins the frustrating and intriguing relationship between Phaeton and America.  

Phaeton has a soft spot for America, so while he's working a paranormal case, he agrees to help America track down the aforementioned pirates.  The pirates, under the leadership of Yankee Willem, have stolen America's recently deceased father's ships.  Along the way to solving both mysteries, Phaeton and America engage in a playful, sultry relationship.  

Phaeton is tracking down a paranormal being that he believes is responsible for the "Jack the Ripper" murder cases.  The paranormal entity is a goddess, but is confusingly referred to as anything from a succubus to a vampire throughout this novel.  This was one of the only complaints I had.  Phaeton receives help from a quirky cast of side characters including Dr. Jason Exeter, who also has paranormal abilities, Jin Ping, the paranormal hermaphrodite and Edvar the Gargoyle.  The mystery surrounding the goddess Qadesh is well written and kept me interested throughout the entire book.  I was also pleased with the secondary plot line concerning America Jones and her plight to win back her father's ships.  

The relationship between Phaeton and America begins as a fun, light affair.  Phaeton and America have fun together and enjoy an easiness around one another.  As the story progresses, Phaeton and America become more and more wrapped up in one another, and the relationship becomes far more meaningful than Phaeton would like to admit.  There are hot sex scenes, as well as a very good kinky scene.  Phaeton becomes more and more nervous as he realizes he doesn't want to let America go.  He has a past issue that he has not come to terms with, which is revealed towards the end of this book.  He is uncomfortable with his feelings, and this made reading the last third of this book rather stressful for me!  
Truth be told, he was more than taken by her.  Soon the little minx would capture him body and soul.  From the very start she had wormed her way into his life and now he could hardly believe it himself.  He was soft on Miss Jones.  What a horrifying development this was.
One thing I really liked about this story is that America is a very strong woman.  She can fight, she sticks up for herself, and she will not allow any of the men in this book to bully her.  She refuses to compromise on her shipping business, and doesn't let her attachment to Phaeton cloud her judgment.  

This book is well written, in my opinion.  The language used is very much what I would have expected in Victorian England.  I was transfixed on this book from the first page.  I also very much enjoyed the dry, sarcastic humor employed throughout this book.  Phaeton is a very dry character, and had me laughing several times during this book.  Everything with Phaeton is so matter-of-fact.  Below is an example of Phaeton's dry observations.  Keep in mind that Phaeton is in no way attracted to men.  

Phaeton perused the nude body of the man standing directly in front of him.  Golden skin, lean muscle, impressive phallus even at half mast.  Magnificent.  If he wasn't inclined toward the female sex, he would surely be aroused.  Actually, he was aroused.

I think that Jillian Stone is a very talented writer and story-teller, and I cannot wait until the second book in this series, The Moonstone and Miss Jones, is released later this fall.  This is definitely a series and an author to keep an eye on.

 "Because you two are - like spirits, are you not?  Among all things earth and stars, you have crossed paths with the special one, Mr. Black."


Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Great review!! I thought this book was awesome!! Loved Phaeton and America together!! Can't wait for the next book.;)

Jamie said...

Me, either. I thought this was a great, dark and fun read.

Alexa said...

I really liked this one. I think the big winning factor was America for me. She wasn't afraid to stand her ground and be who she was throughout the whole book. She didn't meet Phaeton and then fall down to be a weaker female allowing a man to rule her.

Plus Phaeton is very funny and a great character himself. I also enjoyed that there was an actual plot to the story. So often romance is the only plot in a romance book and I'm glad this went beyond that.

The only thing I didn't like was the beginning being rather confusing and they were calling the goddess by so many names I always thought we were seeing a new creature instead of the same woman.

Thanks for the great review.

Jamie said...

Thanks, Alexa. I found that confusing, too, and like you, I really enjoyed Phaeton's dry sense of humor and his way of dealing with his vulnerabilities.

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