- Berkley Trade
- Release Date
- November 2010
Erotic Romance, Fantasy Romance, Ménage or more, Paranormal Romance
A new series of erotic magic and fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author.
In the Court of Edaeii, magic-imbued Evangeline is rewarded for her gift in manipulating emotion with a sapphire stone set into the perfect curve of her lower back. Her greatest rival in the royal court is the enigmatic Anatol, instilled with the power of illusion. He may best her in magic, but he is her absolute equal in passion.
They share something else-they're both targets of low-born revolutionaries. Rescued by Gregorio, the brilliant revolutionary mastermind, they're given sanctuary. But in this warm refuge, Evangeline soon finds herself torn between the magic of one man she has always desired, and the excitingly new and radical moves of another. For her, there is only one choice: indulge in pleasure without limits.
Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Dec 10, 2010 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
146 people found the following review helpful
Anya Bast combines fabulous world building with unforgettable characters in this new fantasy romance Jeweled.
Evangeline was torn from her family at a young age and forced to learn and excel in her magic, which is manipulating emotions. Since the nature of their magick causes an opposite reaction to themselves, Evangeline then became shut off from her emotions. Everything she did to advance in the hierarchy at the palace was calculating and for the purpose of making a better future for herself. But this all was blown to bits when the common people overthrew the monarchy in favor of a democracy, and Evangeline then found her world overturned. Instead of being favored, she became one of the hunted because of her magick.
Fortunately, Anatol was there. Though they were both perfecting their magic at the palace, they only exchanged a few words their whole life. Still, Anatol loved her from afar. And when the revolution occurred, he saved her butt, in more ways than one. Especially when Evangeline started to relearn having emotions. And soon, with the nature of his magic, he realized Evangeline's emotional needs are so vast he can't satisfy them all...that he may need another man to help ground her.
Evangeline first came across as unlikeable, in her ruthless ambition and the way she treated Anatol. I thought her behavior and thoughts were so not endearing her to me, until I learned that using her magick had made her like that. In short, she can't help it. It's the first time I didn't like the heroine for the first few chapters.
But slowly, as she learned how to feel, I also warmed up to her, for she is like a baby newly exploring the world of emotions. Her giddy delight in having a whole new world, previously denied but now open to her, was touching. Like any newborn testing his wings, she also tested her independence and explored the woman she could be. It was fascinating watching her grow. And Anatol was there the whole way to guide her, encourage her, support her.
Anatol! Aside from being a delicious figure of a man, he is also steadfast and loyal. Unlike Evangeline, he was aware of the dissension in the streets, of the ideas of Gregorio Vikhin that was sweeping the masses. All I can say is that Evangeline is so lucky to have him in her life, because for the life of me, I can't begin to imagine what he could've seen in her to make him love her. He already loved her when the book opens, so it's not her change that made him feel that way. I believe it's because Anatol could see the truth in a person (due to the nature of his magick), and it is this truth he sees in Evangeline (even if it wasn't manifested yet) that caused him to fall for her.
And another truth that he subsequently saw is that Evangeline needed Gregorio, too. We don't see much of Gregorio, until near the middle of the book, though he's been mentioned and he was the instigator of the revolution through his speeches. He believes in democracy, that the people's voices should be heard, and not oppressed like it was when the monarchy ruled. Yet, he is an idealist, because he hadn't thought of how bloody reality would be when the people finally rebelled.
He wallowed in grief and regret the first few days after the revolution, when his dreams ended in bloodshed, instead of spurring to action to set everything to rights. Even a democracy still needs a ruling body, after all. But perhaps, the chaos was too much and the heady feeling of freedom wouldn't allow people to listen to him. Not only that, but he seemed to work alone. I find that strange, because if he were to incite a revolution, surely he has some people working with him. By texts and speeches alone, it isn't enough to spur people into rebellion. There has to be a group of people, an organized group for that matter, that would fan the flames Gregorio stirred up. However, we find no evidence of these people until the time came when it seemed time for Gregorio to start a government.
The romantic development between Anatol and Evangeline was done quite well, I think, in light of Evangeline's emotional learning. I believe Evangeline learned to care for Anatol, even to hurting when she lost him, her realization that she couldn't do without him. Their intimacy sizzled with passion and the scenes were hot, hot, hot. Sad to say, I couldn't feel the same between Evangeline and Gregorio.
What I like though, regarding her intimacy with both men is that they didn't jump right into sex. They had some time to get to know one another and become sort of friends. Another thing that I find realistic is the jealousy Anatol felt at even the thought of sharing Evangeline with another man. Men are territorial by nature, especially concerning women they believe belonged to them. Yet, if Anatol didn't share, he stood to lose her, and he could see this happening in the future. Truly, Ms Bast created quite the dilemma for him!
The world building though is superb and the system of magic is creatively thought out and is a central factor to Evangeline's and Anatol's make-up, to the very person they were. In fact, I was entranced by the first chapter, when the different magick-users were presented as I wanted to learn more about them and their different magick. But even as the characters evolved, their world did, too, and magick and science learned to co-exist side by side, with the invention of what I believe is the sewing machine, the huge balloon as transport, the printing press, etc.
Fans of erotic romance will find this an erotic and beguiling read, with a dash of magic thrown in.
Was this review helpful to you?
BOOK INTERVIEW on December 2010
Q: How did the idea for this book come about?
I have always been intrigued by the French and Russian revolutions and wanted to write a world flavored with elements of both. That's where the seed for Jeweled came from. Then, like all my books, little by little, the seed sprouted and grew, fed first by Evangeline. Then came Anatol and Gregorio. After I had their conflicts worked out, the plot started to take shape, all set in the world I wanted to write.
Q: Your worldbuilding is fabulous! What kind of research went into creating the world (customs, political system, magic system, etc) of Rylisk?
Thank you! I did some research on the French and Russian Revolutions. Gregorio is, of course, the charismatic and intellectual figure who inspires the poor and downtrodden to rise up and throw off the yoke of their oppressors. Evangeline represents the privileged who are taken down a notch (or a million). Really, though, most of the worldbuilding came from my own imagination.
Q: What interesting thing have you unearthed in your research that you've incorporated in the world of Jeweled?
You're going to be sorry you asked that. I learned that the victims of the guillotine didn't necessarily lose consciousness and die immediately. There are numerous accounts of victims who spoke, moved their eyes, or blinked their eyelids after the head was severed. One man even responded to his name being called after his head had been cut off. Lovely, huh?
Q: That must be so horrible for the victims. Back to JEWELED, I have to admit that it took me awhile to warm up to Evangeline. What can you tell us about her that would make us understand her better and sympathize with her?
That was my biggest worry with this book, that people wouldn't find Evangeline likable at the beginning. She's not likable at first at all. She was a pain even for me to write and blocked me several times.
I tried to play up how hard her childhood was and how traumatic it was for her to arrive at Belai as a child, why she had to build those walls up around her emotions, so the reader would cut her a little slack until her emotions started to play a role in her characterization. I can't give too much away in this regard as it would be a spoiler for those who haven't read the book yet. Just stick with her for a little while, she will develop emotionally as the story is told.
Q: Who is easier to write—Anatol or Gregorio? Why?
Hmm, they are very different characters, so they each presented their own challenges. Anatol is more intuitive and sensitive, which are difficult qualities to write in a male character while still keeping his alpha maleness intact. Gregorio is a hot head and very strong, while also extremely intelligent, which presented other challenges. Anatol appears earlier in the book and more often, so I would have to say that, overall, Anatol was more difficult.
Q: Well, I loooove Anatol. :) What do you think is the "drool factor" of each of the heroes?
Besides being extremely good in bed, Anatol is one of those rare men who will do absolutely anything for the woman he loves. Gregorio is all alpha-male and takes what he wants when he wants it while still being gentle and giving.
Q: What is your favorite line or exchange of words between the main characters in the entire book?
That's a really hard one. This passage jumped to mind, so I'll post the whole thing.
He cocked his head to the side. "So you admit you manipulated my emotion. You've got some kind of magick, don't you? You're Jeweled." He grabbed her and turned her around, yanking her shirt up to reveal the jewel embedded at the small of her back. He held her firm, despite her squirming.
"Let me go," she yelled at him.
He let her go and she stumbled forward. She turned, casting him a look of rage and groped for the bread in the snowdrift. "I suppose you'll turn me in. Have my head cut off on the palace steps. Would that make you happy? Would that give you justice? It's not my fault, you know. You don't deserve to die for having brown eyes, do you? Well, I don't deserve to die for having magick. Do you want to see my blood run just because I happen to have been born with a specific talent?"
The man hung his head, suddenly looking weary. "No. I don't want that."
She stilled, holding her half loaf close to her chest. The regret she'd felt from him initially had returned. "Who are you?" Her guess was that he was some animal who'd done horrible things during the riots and now felt guilty. There was something familiar about him, as if she'd seen him somewhere before.
"I'm—" He shook his head. "No. Just go on. Get out of here." He waved at the mouth of the alley with a bloody hand.
"You're letting me . . . go?"
"Of course." He looked up at her sharply. His face was brutal, not quite handsome, though it was compelling. His eyes were keen—intelligent. "What did you think I was—" Understanding overcame his face. "Go. Get out here. I have no quarrel with you."
Heaviness laced his words. It made her study him a second longer, wonder about him.
"Go!" he barked.
Q: The names of your characters, including the spelling, are all so otherworldly, even Gregorio, whose surname is Vikhin. Except for the heroine, Evangeline, which is a common modern name. Was that deliberate? Any particular reason for doing so?
I used a mix of Russian and French names for the characters, except for the name ‘Lilya' which I made up (still sounds Russian to me, though). I just simply love the name Evangeline and have wanted to use it for one of my heroines for a while now. It's a French name, so it fit pretty well for this book.
Q: If there is a scene in the story that you wished you'd written or plotted differently, what is it? And what would the new scene be?
As much as I love the first chapter, I think I wrote it to read more like a fantasy novel than a romance novel and I suspect it's turned some readers off. So, if I had it to do over again, I might rewrite that chapter a bit even though it would pain me because I love it written as is.
Q: Please share with us one funny or unique behind the scenes experience in writing Jeweled.
Hmmm, another hard one. Honestly, I can't think of anything really funny or unique. I'm in my head so much when I write a book. My imagination was in Rylisk and my body was in front of the computer, drinking tea and mostly staring off into space, at least when I wasn't fighting off the three cats who wanted to sleep in my lap. Writing is an event that takes place in a faraway part of my brain, sort of an out-of-body experience in many ways. :)
Anya Bast is giving away an autographed copy of JEWELED!
Mechanics of the contest:
You can do either or both of the following to enter the drawing:
1. Post a comment or question to Anya in the comment box below (2 chances to win) from now to December 31, 2010; AND/OR
2. Check out our contest page for the book JEWELED from December 8 to 10, 2010 to enter your email address (1 chance each to win).
The winner will be announced in the comment box below on January 2.