Synopsis: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...preferably in bed. That's always been Kingsley Edge's strategy with his associate, the notorious New York dominatrix Nora Sutherlin. But with Nora away in Kentucky, now it's Kingsley's chance to take her place at the feet of the only man he's ever wanted -- Søren, Nora's on-again, off-again lover -- until a new threat from an old enemy forces him to confront his past.
Wes Railey is still the object of Nora's tamest yet most maddening fantasies, and the one man she can't forget. He's young. He's wonderful. He's also thoroughbred royalty and she's in "his" world now. But Nora is no simpering Southern belle, and her dream of fitting into Wesley's world is perpetually at odds with her dear Søren's relentlessly seductive pull.
Two worlds of wealth and passion call to her and whichever one Nora chooses, it will be the hardest decision she will ever have to make... unless someone makes it for her...
More or less I’m a very traditional reader who enjoys traditional type stories, mainly with romances. I’m all for the happily ever after where the main couple ride off in the sunset together and have a bright future with years of happiness to follow because they have one another to rely on. A certain author this year really pushed me into opening my mind and choosing more eclectic types of books. She is Tiffany Reisz, and her Original Sinners series is one of the most “original” and inventive pieces of literature I’ve read in a very long time. Out of the hundreds I read in a given year, only a quarter will really excite me or will be remembered. Most of the time when I finish reading a book, it’s forgotten, but this is not the case with Tiffany or this very addictive series of hers that I want to go on forever and ever.
Tiffany was a triple publishing threat this year, first with The Siren, then with The Angel, and now The Prince, which is an erotic, gothic, romantic mystery thriller all rolled into one. I’m so pleased that Tiffany didn’t have a sophomore slump with The Angel, and with The Prince, third time’s definitely a charm. The Prince is explosive reading because it’s a mash up of so many genres that works. This is the ultimate cross over book. This should please fans of erotica, romance, mystery, and most importantly the gothic, a genre that's seemingly forgotten because it’s from another time and place. Tiffany has reinvented the gothic with a big twist. Things here are more disturbing than ever, but underneath it all there’s this tenderness with the characters she has created. These characters are essentially good people even though they have dark desires such as Soren, the holy man sadist, and that of Kinsgley who is also a sadist in away, but more submissive when it comes to Soren. Kingsley really does have a heart of gold and this is shown perfectly in this book. Because of his love and devotion to Soren, the man he has willingly given his heart and soul over to with expecting nothing in return, we see what sacrifice and love is all about.
The Prince may seem to be Kingsley’s story; that he’s the Prince, the focal point. At first it appears he is, but I’m sorry to say that he’s not. It’s Soren. You come to figure this out half way through, mainly through flashbacks between Kingsley and Soren as teenagers where they become friends and then lovers. This is handled so efficiently and skillfully on Tiffany’s part as we see who Soren is through Kinsgley’s eyes as a young man of seventeen, and then jumping thirty years to the present where we see Nora and her time away from Soren and with the young and innocent Wesley she so adores. Whereas the first two books were an introduction, and with everything that occurs from the violent sex and BDSM element to the angst, I felt these were much more lighthearted. With The Prince, there’s major foreshadowing of the horror yet to come because someone is out for revenge. This angry and psychotic individual wants to make those certain people pay, mainly Kingsley and Soren. The interesting thing here is that Soren is the victim of this story when it comes down to it. He’s no longer in control like he once was, and because of that, the most important thing in his life might be destroyed. If that happens, I can see Soren spiraling into a dark abyss with no way out.
The Prince begins hours after The Angel ends. Nora goes to Kentucky with Wes to visit his home. Wes has a plan to show how he and Nora are perfect together, although Soren is always in the back of their minds. Nora is very open with Wes about her feelings for Soren. Wes is very mature in his thinking and holds back his jealousy, but wants to beat Soren at his own game. What Nora doesn’t know is that Soren has manipulated Wes and her reunion. Soren wanted Wes to take Nora far away because of the danger surrounding him. Soren and Kingsley know someone is out to do them wrong and they must take a journey into the past to figure out who wants to destroy them and possibly those they care about.
Kingsley is head over heels in love with Soren. He’s one of three people Soren has been intimate with. He was Soren’s second lover. Soren cares for Kingsley, but he belongs to Nora. Nora is his everything and Kinsgley despises Soren and Nora because of it. Kingsley came before Nora and should be Soren’s everything and share in that deep intimacy Soren only has with Nora. Your heart will break for Kingsley because he wears his heart on his sleeve for Soren and doesn’t hide it. Soren knows this but refuses to humor Kingsley in anyway. Kingsley allows Soren to do whatever he wants to him, but as always, Soren will leave him for Nora. This eats away at Kingsley and, “If he couldn’t have the master he wanted, he could at least serve the master’s slave.” This line says it all where Kingsley’s concerned regarding Soren and Nora’s relationship and where Kingsley fits.
As Soren and Kingsley investigate and face their past that haunts them, this counteracts with what Nora and Wes are doing in Kentucky. Wes comes from a very loving, normal family, which is the complete opposite of Nora’s. Fans of Wes and Nora will eat this up, but like Kingsley, Wes will only have to settle for a small piece of Nora. Nora is Soren’s, and even though Wesley knows this, he has a secret plan to break apart Nora and Soren’s connection that I felt was well played on Wes’s part. But in the end it will only end in heartbreak for him.
There is a humdinger of a cliffhanger ending that will have you gasping in shock and awe. I pretty much figured out halfway through who’s causing all this destruction and emotional turmoil. This ending will lead into The Mistress, the final present day book in this series. My mind in churning with the possibility of what could happen and I really think there will be a death involved. Here’s a small taste (without giving away too much of a spoiler) of what The Mistress could entail and that tone of that story:
“As a small child Wesley had heard the “phrase “the wrath of God” in church, and sat and wondered what that meant, what that sounded like. Now he knew.”
The wrath of God is on like Donkey Kong, and as to who this is, well you’ll have to read The Prince to find out. The is an amazing and daunting feat of literature, and if I had to compare it to a movie, I would say it has this History of Violence feel to it with it's quiet brutality. If you’ve seen the director, David Cronenberg’s movies, than you’ll understand the atmosphere of The Prince. More than half the time my heart was in my throat and I gasped too many times. I also melted more times than I can count. This happened as Soren brutalizes Kingsley, when they’re both teenagers. Soren can’t have sex or make love without causing pain. Pain and love are the same to him. This is shown in near perfection between these two men. The pain is not only physical but also emotional. There’s one scene where Kingsley begs Soren to do whatever he wants to him because Nora is not there for Soren to use. Kingsley has no idea what Soren’s safe word is. He blurts it out not knowing, and Soren backs off. Soren’s safe word had me putting this book down and just staring off into space because of the beauty of it . I now understand fully why Soren loves Nora desperately and completely. It’s a very powerful moment and gut wrenching for Kingsley.
The Prince was a masterful, all consuming reading experience for me. These characters, each and every single one of them, has imbedded themselves in my psyche. No other series of books this year has me so obsessed and bowing down to their creator. I urge you to please pick up The Siren, The Angel and The Prince and expand your reading horizons. These three books are tied for my #1 book of the year and Tiffany Reisz is my favorite author of the year with Nora has my favorite heroine of the year. (Mira, available November 20th)
Final Grade: A
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