Despite his abhorrence of slavery, James wins an elven slave in a game of cards. The slave, Loren, provides the only chance to enter the Lands Between and recover the stolen Luck. Despite James's assurances and best intentions, Loren does not trust his new master and James finds it all too easy to slip into the role of slave master when Loren defies him.
As the two work together through hardship and danger, James finds himself falling in love with Loren. And when a hidden enemy moves against them, he must choose between his responsibility to his family and his own soul.
Comment: After reading some positive comments about this book and being very interested in the plot, based on the blurb, I added this book to my TBR. This month I've decided to read it and this ended up being a great story but with less than appealing details which made me bring my personal grade a number lower than what I envisioned while in the beginning...
In this book we have the story and the demand of lord James Dupree, a man whose family and estate might be in danger because their Luck, an ancient but still powerful elf Charm, was stolen and might have been taken to the Elf Lands. In this case, James needs an elf to help him enter the place and leaving in security. Since not many elves are around, James decides the fastest way is for him to secure a slave, elf he will plan on winning at cards. The problem is the former owner isn't happy about losing and he will come after James and the elf, called Loren.
As time and need advance, James feels bad about owning someone, something he never imagined he would be able to do and he does plan on freeing Loren as soon as he gets the Luck back. But will things be as easy as James imagined?
This story begun quite well and I was very engaged in reading about James and how his actions betrayed all his beliefs but a stronger need was the focus of his decisions. I imagined a brilliant but slightly angsty tale of duty vs love, of a desperate need to help his family while slowly falling fr Loren and dealing with the fact he was owning someone with feelings as well. Although the story provided all this, I still think the romance side of things wasn't as compelling or powerful as it could be.
The relationship between James and Loren is definitely a slow burner and on one hand, it's believable and fair, considering the challenges they face and the lack of time to simply dedicate to sort out emotions but... it would have been more special if their feelings were mutually acknowledged at some point by both instead of being simply alluded to.
I also think we got to see a lot of the personality of both by their actions and decisions, even when some were bad ones (often Jame's). I guess one could say is there any real balance when someone feels the other is their master?
My favorite part of the book wasn't the plot or any scene in particular, but the emotions themselves. It's true I feel the passion side wasn't well explored to better captivate the reader but when it came to all the other feelings, the author did a great job. I'm specifically thinking about Loren's helplessness and how he didn't immediately think about James as the best person ever but he wasn't totally melancholic over what happened to him. He was suspicious and afraid but still kept his good judgment and positivism in some way.
James, however, was the perfect example of how wide can be the specter of emotions in one person, I think he went through them all, but I must highlight his guilt and sadness over a situation he couldn't truly control - or so he thought - and how that affected everything else. How encompassing and strong and despairing can guilt be and how quickly it can makes us fall into depression? Somehow this made me cry a lot while reading, imagining the result of James's actions and his own self sense of guilt.
The plot itself however, I feel it didn't develop as smoothly or as well as the play of emotions was depicted, so it felt weaker in several points. The end of the story was sweet but to be honest, I didn't like it much. I guess a more definite scenario, whether a HEA or the lack of it would have been more appropriate for the mood of the entire story. Things ended up well, but to me this is more of a HFN than something else, so... sort of bittersweet and not in a good cathartic way, I'd say.
Nevertheless, this was a good enough story, strong elements but the execution could have been a bit better.