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The Flame and the Arrow by Emigh Cannaday
Published by Createspace on October 22, 2010
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"Don't do it, Annika," he taunted. His eyes were no longer bright and charming but dark and intense, yet they still twinkled. He was tempting, but was he harmful?
Aspiring rock star Annika Brisby thinks she knows where her life is going until she steps through a broken portal that leaves her stranded in a realm of fairies, vampires, and other mythical beings. Unable to return until it's repaired, she's rescued by wood nymphs who believe her sudden arrival is no accident. After being taken in by a prominent family of elves, Annika finds herself struggling to resist the seductive spell of their youngest son, Talvi. Equal parts arrogant and alluring, the notorious heartbreaker seems like the perfect distraction for her homesickness. Her new friends warn her that she'll probably regret ever laying eyes on him, and what begins as a casual fling quickly burns too hot to handle. By the time Annika learns the consequences of their forbidden trysts, Talvi's already under her skin and dangerously close to her heart. But on the journey home she discovers that there's a mountain of secrets that he's not telling her, and Annika can't help wondering who's really in danger.
* Previously titled Balkan Magic, The Misadventures of Annika Brisby
The Flame and the Arrow is the first novel in the Annika Brisby series by author Emigh Cannaday. The story follows Annika Brisby, an aspiring rock musician who is thrust into an alternate realm that is home to various magical beings- i.e. wood nymphs, elves, vampires, druids, etc. While Annika navigates this new world and tries to figure out a way home, she also must contend with her feelings for the dark, amusing, and alluring Talvi- the youngest son of a prominent and large family of elves. Annika becomes embroiled in the mystery and turmoil of this new realm and embarks on an action-filled journey fraught with danger, intrigue, passion, and love.
Annika is a strong, independent, and adventurous character that handles being in a new and magical world fairly well- all things considered, I probably would not have reacted in the same manner she had. Talvi, while narcissistic, arrogant, and somewhat manipulative, really starts to grow on you the more you read. Talvi’s character development throughout the novel really balanced out the flaws in his personality- after all, as much as I’d like to think otherwise, no one is perfect. Annika’s friendship with the wood nymphs and Talvi’s family added a layer of warmth that I truly enjoyed. And Annika’s interactions with Talvi? Purely poetic! Their witty banter and sexual chemistry practically sizzled from the pages and made it impossible for me to put the book down.
Normally, when a story has a large number of secondary characters, I find it difficult to keep track of who is who and their place in the plot. However, the many characters in this story not only added to the whimsical and fluid storyline, but were easy to remember. By the end of book, I already couldn’t wait to grab the second one and become reacquainted the Annika, Talvi, and the others. The Flame and the Arrow was a compelling and imaginative read filled with fantastical beings, grand adventure, explosive passion, and a generous dash of humor.