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Dark, erotic urban fantasy—that’s how Erica Hayes (pictured) categorizes her Shadowfae Chronicles. POISON KISSED (St. Martin’s Press), the third of the series, is all of these things, but it’s also full of lovely language and bizarre imagery.
Set in Melbourne, Australia, POISON KISSED follows the blue-haired banshee Mina, who works as the muscle for a gang of mostly supernatural beings involved in criminal activities. Her boss and love interest is Joey, who harbors a snake creature barely contained within him. The two work together to fight a rival gang of supernaturals as they also struggle with deep feelings for one another. The two met when Joey saved Mina from a life as a teenaged prostitute; over the years, they’ve formed an intense bond and come to trust each other with their lives. Mina essentially has two obsessions: one is to be romantically attached to Joey, the other is to avenge the murder of her mother, which she witnessed as a child. Conflict arises when Mina receives information implying that Joey was possibly involved in her mother’s killing.
If you enjoy fantasy stories about demons, spriggans and fairies with a good measure of eroticism thrown in, you’ll probably love POISON KISSED; if you’re not so into that genre, you still may enjoy Hayes’ lyrical prose, sexually graphic club scenes and complex characters. Everyone has a story to tell in POISON KISSED, some more compelling than others—luckily, the former are the ones that the author devotes the most attention to. From glass fairies to demons in human guise, the novel is packed with the fantastic, but what’s best about POISON KISSED is the quality of Hayes’ prose. She uses language masterfully to paint a picture of an alternate reality that is inhabited by beauty and horror in equal measure.
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