Nyx Book Reviews

fantasy ♥ paranormal ♥ horror ♥ science-fiction

BR: Hell Rider

Hell Rider by Belladonna Bordeaux
3 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for The Romance Reviews

Hot and quite amusing short novel set in a paranormal universe during the late 18th century.

When one day Jocelyn Thatcher, a seamstress, meets Lucius Dominitius Stanton, she knows he is dangerous. What she doesn’t know is that she is actually a half-fay, and that Lucius is an immortal who also goes under the name Death. They are mated together and bound by fate. But their love is impossible; Lucius can only live in the shadow, and Jocelyn can only live in the sun.

This book starts with a glossary, which I found to be rather confusing, as this is my first time to read a book in The Hellfire Club series. There are so many Royal families I kind of lost track of them. I would have found it clearer if the writer had woven this mythology through the story, so we would have more time to get used to this world and understand it better.

You can feel the amount of work the author has put into the background story, to come up with a whole political sub-plot, and it is such a pity that it just doesn’t come alive the way it is supposed to. There is so much going on, but it is only mentioned so briefly that I couldn’t really grasp the extent of it, especially since the whole system was quite confusing for someone who hasn’t heard about this world yet. Perhaps the reason for this is that the events happened in the other books, of which this book is part of a series. I think this was also partly due to the rather short length of this novel. There wasn’t that much time to explain it all, but I would have preferred if the author had confined herself to a simple point of plot, as opposed to trying to give us a bit of everything.

He was gorgeous. Dark and deadly, she mused. Taller than most with broad shoulders and a face that would make an angel swoon, she bit her lip to keep from sighing when he leveled his black-as-original-sin gaze on her face. This man commanded all of your attention from the get and immediate respect from the go.”

There is close to none romantic development, but this is explained to be because they are mated, so they are fated to love each other for the rest of their lives. The best thing about this book is the sexual tension, and the release of it. Mrs. Bordeaux surely knows how to write a good sex scene. The ménage with another woman was done very well, and the short orgy at the end of the book was quite believable.

The only real problems I had with Hell Rider were the glaring plot holes. It doesn’t feel like a coherent story, but a series of flashes of one. There are so many things going on that are being untold and big periods of time unexplained. Again, this could be because this book is merely a part of a bigger whole. Another point that really bothered me was that, at the end of the story, I still had no idea how our protagonists even looked like. I hate it when every single detail of our characters is told, from their shoes to their hair, but this was a little bit too much freedom of imagination.

The potential is there, and even though it has quite some obvious flaws, Hell Rider is an amusing and quick read. It is part of a series of short novels called The Hellfire Club, and I will surely check the other books out to see if reading them will make me understand more about the world this is set in, because it really is an interesting one.

Jocelyn Thatcher is a humble dressmaker’s apprentice determined to not go down the road of prostitution, as her own mother did. Thwarting her sensible plans for a decent vocation are the lurid sexual fantasies, which have begun to plague her hours. Those naughty little secrets lead her to a devastating truth—she’s half fay.

Lucius Domintius Stanton has served Satan for nearly three millennia. He’s a Hell Rider–the living, breathing visage of death. Along with the other three Riders, he collects the tainted souls destined for hell. His world is tilted on its ear when he meets Jocelyn. Turn her over to the Hellfire Club or keep her for his own? A brief interview with Satan will set the course. His lust for Jocelyn might just kill her.
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