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I liked Book 3 in the Blood Rose series better than Book 2, Embrace the Magic. I found the characters in Book 2, wishy-washy in their wants and views, but in Book 3 the characters are strong and carry the story smoothly. Both Quinlan (and BTW, I love that name for a male character) and Batya do not want a relationship and are upfront about it. Quinlan is the quintessential bachelor, he has a reputation with the ladies and his dislike for long-term relationships. Batya knows of his reputation and she doesn't only want to be in a long-term relationship with anyone, because she loves her independence, she definitely doesn't want a relationship with Quinlan. At the beginning she fights off his advances, but she is upfront with the fact that she is attracted to him. The fact that she tells him no appeals to Quinlan so he sets out to win her, for a short amount of time. They look each other in the eyes, early on, and both say they didn't want a relationship, but they do decide to enjoy each other's company for the moment, once they are thrust into their adventure to save Lorelei. I thought that was refreshing. We either have characters who deny their attraction or pursue one another without being open and clear that they didn't want a relationship beyond the short-term. I enjoyed the fact that they gave in to their attraction rather than playing cat and mouse.
I also found Batya refreshing because there are a few times when Quinlan says something hurtful and insultive towards her. He accuses her of putting a spell on him, and he resents her for his attraction towards her. I expected her the react in the classic romance novel fashion, pulling back and building walls up, but she instead sees why he says it and doesn't judge him because of it. Throughout their adventure to get Lorelei safely to Ferrenden Peace, they explore their attraction. The conflict and plot moves smoothly forward, there are no dry or dull spots. Things move quickly throughout the story. The villain, the Ancient Fae, is formidable and she continues to develop as a character. Batya and Quinlan come to realize they love each other at the exact same moment, which I enjoyed reading. They are forced to acknowledge their feelings and they don't hold back their words of love. After that moment, the whole story takes on a sweet and enjoyable reading experience. I loved the resolution, and how Quinlan embraces his feelings and relationship with Batya. The ending was utterly perfect.
I know my review has been a bit wordy, so here is a quick summary: I enjoyed this installment the best. I enjoyed the characters and Roane's ability to tell a beautiful story comes clearly through the characters and plot. I loved reading this story.