This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Emigh Cannaday. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Flame and the Arrow by Emigh Cannaday
Series: Annika Brisby #1
Serials Reviewed: The Silver Thread, The Scarlet Tanager, The Darkest of Dreams
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 11, 2010
Purchase at: Amazon
Source: Author, Emigh Cannaday
An alternate title/cover edition can be found here.
Free-spirited Annika Brisby has just turned down a proposal that promises a lifetime of security but no adventure. Seeking some distance between herself and her ex-boyfriend, Annika travels to the Balkan Mountains. A day hike gone to havoc sends her through a broken portal to another world. She is discovered by wood nymphs who seem convinced that Annika's presence is more than just chance, and they vow to get her back home with the help of a slightly debauched elf named Talvi. Unnerved at his advances, Annika makes the best of her situation by learning all she can about this dream-like new world. But the more she gets to know the genuine Talvi, the more she wonders if there's a path leading them toward each other. Together they sail over a monster-filled sea, navigate through a forest of flesh eating trees, and encounter a family of trolls, but the greatest obstacle will be Annika's ability to trust her new friends and confront her deepest fears.
The Flame and the Arrow took me by surprise and kept me in a state of delight all the way to the wonderful end! I have repeatedly stated that I do indeed have a weakness for books with lovely cover art, so when I was contacted about this book, big thank you to author Emigh Cannaday, I was hooked on sight! Is that cover not just beautiful? What makes it beyond pleasing is that I just I absolutely enjoyed this story as well. I rarely give out five stars to a book but this book deserved it!
The Setting: This story starts out with a brief stint in America where Annika is utterly confused because she has just said “no” to a marriage proposal to her long time boyfriend. After a night of drowning her sorrows Annika is awoken to her Uncle Vince telling her she should come to live with him in Bulgaria. Apparently she did some “drunk emailing” to her uncle the night before and he is a bit concerned. This type of “incident” may be familiar to some of you, lol, but maybe with you it was texting?
While in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, Annika is out for the day passing time people watching and along comes a good-looking piece of eye candy. He and his two female companions head into a bookstore and Annika decides to follow them in, mainly because the guy was good looking and something about the trio was very peculiar. You cannot imagine that this scenario is going to go well and ends with Annika running out of the bookstore like a bull in a china shop with handsome guy running after her. So long chico! The way that this portion is written is comical.
Some time has passed and it is nearing autumn in Bulgaria. Annika decides to get out for the day and explore the forest before winter settles in. Unfortunately for her she ends up lost and has to spend the night in the forest. The following day Annika is hopeful to make it home to her Uncle when she stumbles upon one of the females from the bookstore. Desperate for help she tries to attract the attention of the female but the female seems perplexed about seeing Annika and tries to flee without helping her. Persistent, Annika does indeed talk the strange female into helping her but Annika got more than she bargained for because she found herself being yanked through a portal that closed immediately after they passed, sealing Annika away from her world and firmly in the realm of the supernatural. As it turns out, those women were not human after all but are samodiva, wood nymphs.
“You are here because Fate invited you. You cannot go back the way you came. I suggest you go forward instead.”
The Plot: There are many portals between her world and that of the wood nymphs but something has been causing the gates to seal shut. With no hope of passing through the way she entered Annika has little choice but to pass through the Sebra Gora (silver forest) and go to the closest town of Derbedrossivic. This town is home to the Marinossian family, a family of elves. Youngest of this family is Talvi and his twin sister Yuri (yes Yuri is a boys’ name, the confusion is explained) who’s three-hundredth birthday is coming up in a few short weeks. Did I mention that Talvi is the guy from the bookstore? Awkward!! 😀
The sealing of the portals has become worrisome to many of the supernatural creatures in the realm. Earth is connected to their land through these portals and it is unnatural that they would be closing on their own. The race most affected by this closing is the Vampires. They are being cut off from their food supply and are being forced to hunt animals to feed, not their number one choice of food.
To discuss options and possible solutions to the crisis, a summit meeting is taking place between all the delegates of the Realm. Before that happens though there was a mention of a birthday party 😉. This birthday celebration is actually a very important part to the overall plot. There is a prophecy that has been foretold directly related to the time when the twins will turn three hundred.
All Annika desires is to return home but in order for that to happen she needs to work with the others to solve the dilemma of the portal closures and also do her best not to get sucked into the prophecy fulfillment. Too bad no one is willing to share the information of what exactly the prophecy is with her. There is that whole Fae cannot lie but can still deceive scenario happening. With things heating up between Talvi and Annika will she be able to remain unattached to this world? What is a woman to do?
“None of us know the amount of time we have in this life. I could die tomorrow. So could you. Or we might live a long life without ever having the adventure that is true love, simply because we were afraid to take a chance.”
What I liked: Besides everything? I really enjoyed the world development; the story was so detailed. I absolutely was able to picture what the author had intended in the world she has set for her characters. This story is stuffed full of humorous double meanings, sarcasm, and whimsy. Not only did I enjoy the main protagonists, the secondary characters were also very developed. There is a regular hodgepodge of creatures from nymphs, elves, and fairies to vampires, druids, and ogres. In addition there are implied love triangles and outright love triangles but they are done in such a way as to add to the overall romance. Be warned: there are steamy scenes and sexy times as well as some foul language.
What I did not like: Even though it is in the “what I liked” section I am going to have to mention the love triangles. Not a fan, ever, but like I said was written well. Some of you may not appreciate the voice of Annika, she is not what many would consider a “wholesome” character and is written with honesty that truly would represent a faction of the modern day women. For me, she fit the character as written and yes she could have been written a little less self-involved but I see that not as a flaw but as room for character development.
* Previously titled Balkan Magic, The Misadventures of Annika Brisby