Power of Lies (Book 1)
The easiest way to include a lot of erotica in a fantasy novel is to toss in some lust magic. But Hadley doesn’t keep things quite so simple, by layering in other elements of magic to her excellent world-building. The erotica always makes sense, based on the rules of the world and the relationship development between characters.
Jaeda is a strong woman, but not necessarily because of how she uses sex. She uses her knowledge of how her world works to both protect herself and make sure that she always has the edge. I love that she also relies on her instincts, especially where the Jackal is concerned. This book could easily have been different and much darker. The villain still manages to be appropriately terrifying, regardless.
Instead, the darkness is balanced by the joy the characters find in each other despite their sometimes-perilous situations. Jaeda’s transformation into an even stronger character at the end left me anxious to read more about her journey. Luckily, I’ve already got the next book in this trilogy.
Magic of Lust (Book 2)
It’s always easy for the middle book in a trilogy to sag a bit, for nothing truly major to happen regarding plot or character development. In speculative fiction, however, I find the best middle trilogy books are those in which the author takes all the “rules” they established in the first book and shatters them.
Hadley remains true to the soul of the magic system created for this world but uses the presence of a female mage to inject some trouble into the status quo. As stated in the first book, all it takes is one mage to reject how the world works, and I look forward to the eventual showdown between the mages who gain their powers from “positive” emotions (joy, courage, lust) rather than the “negative” (pain, sorrow, fear). Plenty of action and drama happen in this book, and it’s all leading toward an even more dramatic showdown in the conclusion.
Hadley’s sex-positivity in this erotic epic fantasy applies to the real lives of her readers. Closer to home, Jade and her compatriots aren’t just happily making love to create magic. Drama and conflict within the greater relationship still exist, with two significant highlights. The first is adventures in accepting one’s sexuality, relevant to any modern audience. The second is overcoming past trauma and learning to experience healthy relationships, also appropriate.
I have already queued the final book in this trilogy on the Kindle, and I can’t wait to dive in, even as I am reluctant to say goodbye to these fantastic characters and world.
Spell of Love (Book 3)
The finale to this epic fantasy/romance trilogy satisfied me on multiple levels. The story resolved threads between characters, including secondary characters, and addressed external plot points hinted at since the beginning of the series. No riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after before their work was done for these characters.
Overall, my favorite message from these books was the idea that there are multiple ways to fight battles. Direct combat, deceit, and even sex are worthy elements to fighting for what’s right, and none of them are inherently “better” than the other depending on how and why they are used. Intertwined with this message, which most of the characters had to learn, was a healthy dose of sex positivity and appropriate (though often understated) feminism.
Two major climaxes (pun not intended) occur in this book. The first is more epic, considering the scope of people involved, but the second is much more personal. Hadley almost sets up her characters to be so powerful that I didn’t have to worry about them, but a moment wrapped in multiple layers of surprise in the finale still managed to scare me for a beat.
Come for the stunning fantasy world, deliciously sexy characters, and frequent on-page sexual romps. Stay for the incredible story and characters who wormed their way into my heart. I have no idea whether the author has any other books planned for this world, but I’d read them instantly, to check in with my favorite lovers and follow the story of the next generation.