"Tell me about this place. This...Arcania."
What if your life as you knew it ceased to exist?
That is the question Naeve Brannigan and her three sisters are faced with on the eve of their 25th birthday. Continuing a tradition they've hidden from their mother for years, the four women arrive at a tarot shop to have their futures told. Only this time, their futures aren't predicted -- they're forever changed.
They've awoken in a strange time and place with no knowledge of how they got there. All they have to go by is the word of a man who claims to be family -- a family they've never heard of. He tells them of a world they could never have imagined. One that has been cursed by an Empress fueled by old revenge -- revenge their mother appears to be at the center of.
As they fight to survive the people and dangers of an unknown land, they slowly begin to unravel its mysteries to find that they hold the key to saving this world...this Arcania.
The question that remains for each of them is: Who do you become when the you that you always were is no longer?
“Don’t. Make. A. Sound.”
The low, gravelly voice reverberated through her as she felt a tear escape the corner of her eye. The arm that was banded across her chest was full-on muscle as it easily held her in place against a body that was as impenetrable as a brick wall.
Naeve didn’t move a muscle, but she lowered her eyes the best she could and saw a black leather glove that went halfway up that thick forearm. As the hand on her right shoulder tightened, she grimaced and felt the tip of the knife press against her throat.
“Where is your other sister?”
Naeve remained silent, not sure she could even remember how to speak, and then she felt those fingers grip her shoulder harder as they spun her around and pulled her up close.
The sight that greeted her was like something from her worst nightmare.
She couldn’t have imagined ever feeling the terror she felt right then. For that reason alone, she’d never known that her response would be to become one hundred percent paralyzed.
As she stared up at the towering figure before her, she had to wonder if maybe she was already dead and he’d been sent to collect her. Cloaked from head to toe in nothing but black, he almost blended into the shadows except for the shiny blade he had pointed at her throat. She couldn’t make out a face behind the hood and mask, but all she continued to hope was that, if he planned to kill her, he’d do it fast.
As you may or may not know, I took a break from reviewing for the last six months. I needed to step back, and just breathe for a little while. I started to lose my love of reading, and I refused to let blogging completely temper that passion in my life. I didn’t set a date as to when I would come back to the world of reviewing and blogging, because I didn’t know when I would even want to; I kept telling myself that I would just know.
And then my lovely friend, Stacy, mentioned adding me to Ella’s blog tour for her new fantasy romance. To be honest, I was so out of the book loop that I wasn’t even sure what this new book really entailed (*cringes* don’t throw tomatoes at me…please!) but considering how Ella was (and still is) one of my favorite authors, I decided what a better time to dip my feet back into the review world. And you know what? I am SO fucking glad I did, because this book…this book is absolutely phenomenal.
Temperance takes you between Wilmington, NC and the magical land of Arcania, where a merciless sensualeer Empress has plagued the land due to, what she views, a sisterly betrayal. Seraphine has been plotting her revenge for years, and even though she no longer knows the whereabouts of her sister, she knows exactly what will force her hand and leave her no choice but to show herself…
Bring her 4 daughters to Arcania.
On their 25th birthday, Naeve, Siobhan, Fiona, and Audra are transported into a mysterious forest without any recognition as to how they got there. After their eventual capture, they slowly find out information about their mother and father that will leave them questioning everything they thought they knew, and in turn, this magical land of Arcania starts to appear like less of a dream, and more and more like a reality. But with the Empress forging on with her plan to exact revenge on the girls’ mother, they have no idea just what kind of force they are up against, and if they ever do get back to “the real world”, they may not return as the same girls that disappeared that fateful afternoon.
I am honestly not even sure where to start with this review. My mind is still reeling from the sheer brilliance of Ella Frank's latest novel, and I can't remember the last time a book left me with a hangover of this proportion. I finished Temperance two days ago, and it still consumes my thoughts to the point where I already want to do a re-read. It's just absolutely magnificent. I really enjoy fantasy romances, but it has been quite a while since I’ve not only read one, but found one that truly captivated me. Until now. Ella paints such a vivid, magical masterpiece throughout these pages that you can’t help but feel as though you’ve somehow been teleported to Arcania right alongside the Brannigan sisters. With this being the first book in the series, there is quite a bit of backstory and plot development, but there isn’t a moment where you feel as though the story is beginning to drag. Every small detail plays a part in this story and how the characters are connected, so it was impossible for me to not hang on every single sentence.
Now, I’ll admit something. I had a bit of trouble keeping the relationships between the characters straight for a little while. I know, I suck. But once I finally drilled it into my head, I was able to fully submerse myself in the plot and just enjoy the fantasy and mystery that lurks in every crevice of Arcania. The character development was outstanding, and I feel like this deserves some extra attention considering the amount of characters this story revolves around. While Naeve is at the forefront, we are well introduced to all three of her sisters, and several residents of Arcania -- though Kai, Ry’Ker, and Bastian overshadow the rest in this particular installment. The personalities of each character were projected marvelously, and in a way that allowed the reader to feel as though they know each of these individuals, even if they didn’t stand in the forefront. I fell in love with these characters hard, and the only other time I have thoroughly loved an entire ensemble this much was when I read the Addicted series by Krista and Becca Ritchie.
I could go on and on about the phenomenal brilliance of this magical novel filled with love, hate, revenge, survival, family, and the curse of power falling into the wrong hands…but no matter what I say, I won’t do it justice. So just read it. Temperance has forever planted itself on my all-time favorites shelf, and there is no doubt that I will find myself going back to the world of Arcania time and time again. Ella Frank never ceases to amaze me, and after finishing her first fantasy novel, it’s official…
There is absolutely nothing that this woman can’t write. Absolutely. Nothing.
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