by Piper J. Drake
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this title from the publisher.
“He wasn’t wrong, just infuriating. She wasn’t going to give him any kind of gratification by letting him know he was pushing her buttons. Any of her buttons.”
Peeraphan Rhattana should have known to be suspicious when her competitive cousin Surin handed her a pair of beautiful red dancing shoes instead of claiming them for herself. Having put the shoes on and danced in them, now Peeraphan can’t remove them. But the curse of the red shoes does bring something into her life Peeraphan has always longed for: proof of the existence of supernatural beings other than herself. Unfortunately, at least one of the creatures that shows up to the theatre to watch Peeraphan dance in the cursed shoes is hoping to see her die a gruesome death.
Vampire Bennett Andrews, on the other hand, doesn’t want to see Peeraphan die, but unfortunately, he arrived at the theatre too late to prevent her from putting them on. All he can do is wait, and hope to prevent any future victims by spiriting the shoes away once Peeraphan has danced herself to death. No one is more surprised than Bennett when Peeraphan appears to have some ability to resist the pull of the cursed shoes. Instead of retrieving the shoes from her corpse, Bennett takes Peeraphan back to the Darke Consortium, a secret society that tries to remove harmful magical objects from human hands (or feet, as the case may be). But unless they can find a way to break the curse, it is only a matter of time before the shoes drain her strength and find a way to send Peeraphan to an early death.
Wings Once Cursed and Bound is an urban fantasy set in and around current day Seattle, where author Piper J. Drake also resides. The point of view alternates between Peeraphan and Bennett, with a few chapters from the other members of the Darke Consortium, including Thomas the werewolf, and Marie, the Consortium’s witch-in-residence. Bennett is your typical dark and brooding vampire protagonist who has decided to feed only on evil men, eschewing the blood of innocents. He has kept his feelings closed off since the death of his human partner, Victoria, who died of old age having chosen not to attempt to join him in immortality. His attraction to Peeraphan is involuntary, and at times felt more dictated by the necessity of the plot than his own character.
Peeraphan is a throwback born into a family of humans who can tell her old Thai myths, but they don’t know anything about what it means to actually be kinnaree, one of the magical bird people of legend. As a result, the reader does not get much to work with in this regard, either. The full extent of her power is something Peeraphan will have to discover for herself, but in order to do that she’ll need to finally come to terms with the fact that however hard she tries, she just isn’t human. The story takes place over only a few days, during which time Peeraphan and Bennett fall in love and decide to become partners, pulling Peeraphan deeper into supernatural society and the possibility of finding a place for herself.
Wings Once Cursed and Bound is set up as the start of a series, with Peeraphan poised to become the glue that turns the Darke Consortium from an alliance into a family. With Peeraphan and Bennet’s relationship established, I’m hoping perhaps the sequel will follow up on the promising scene between Marie and two fox spirits she encounters towards the end of the book.
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