Ruler of a withering kingdom, Ceron has come to terms with the fact that the only way to save his country is to carry on with one of his ancestors' worst traditions--the kidnapping and sacrifice of a mage to revive the dying magic of Aichinn. Through his short reign, he's fought hard to bury his hateful legacy and create a new, peaceful rule. The demons that have plagued his bloodline, however, have other plans. Vile plans. They want blood and war, death and destruction. Even as he fights them, tooth and nail, he realizes he can't fight them forever.
Kaeda just can't get it right. A healer mage in the lush, bountiful Northlands, no matter of training seems to awaken more than a trickle of her magic. When the mysterious visitor from a southern state offers her an escape from the looming banishment, she takes him up without a second thought. Unfortunately, the stranger isn't who he says he is.
He's the dreaded King of Nightmare and Shadow, the Lord of the Goblins, the Dark King Ceron. And he wants her. Despite being kidnapped, imprisoned, and deceived, Kaeda discovers she's meant for so much more than what Ceron intends. The very land of Aichinn embraces her, and her natural abilities flood forth. The dying kingdom has a chance to live again. With the awakening of the land's magic, Ceron's demons rise in full force, determined to wield the burgeoning power as their own.
Kaeda is Ceron's only chance to save Aichinn--if he doesn't destroy her first.
A beautiful, young mage with powers that just don't seem up to snuff finds herself with few options and no way out of a life of servitude. Enter handsome, rouge king. He sweeps her off her feet and whisks her away to the his forbidden kingdom. Heard that one you say? Not like this, you haven't!
Having spent her entire life in service as a healer, Kaeda feels second rate. She finally comes to the realization that she will never be a Keyholder. Unfortunately for her, this means no pairing with Talin, her best friend since childhood, and the official binding of her powers. Convinced this will cause her to go mad, she leaps at the opportunity to runaway with a handsome stranger.
This isn't just any stranger. Ceron, King of Nightmare and Shadow finds her to be his perfect magical mate. Luring her away from her duties, he takes her back to Aichinn. While not entirely sure why, he knows she's something very special and so much more than a second-rate mage. That's when the fireworks begin!
This book is a great fantasy novel for older teens and young adults. There's a great deal of internal struggle mixed with action. The hero is dark and tormented by an ancestral curse. Our heroine isn't the small, insignificant creature she believes herself to be, making her transformation beautiful and interesting. The themes of love-holds-no-bounds and true love comes with selfless sacrifices is sweet and well played. This would make a suitable book for reading anywhere. Nothing should be a problem if someone looks over your shoulder.
4 stars for A. D. Rolands Dark Consort!