Review: Prince of Tricks by Jane Kindred

prince of tricks by jane kindredFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance, M/M romance, fantasy
Series: Demons of Elysium #1
Length: 375 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date Released: January 7, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance

When desire rises, angels will fall. One, by one, by one…

Demons of Elysium, Book 1

Over the past century, Belphagor has made a name for himself in Heaven’s Demon District as a cardsharp, thief, and charming rogue.

Though the airspirit is content with his own company, he enjoys applying the sweet sting of discipline to a willing backside. Angel, demon, even the occasional human. He’s not particular. Until a hotheaded young firespirit steals his purse—and his heart. Now he’s not sure who owns whom.

A former rent boy and cutpurse from the streets of Raqia, Vasily has never felt safer than in the arms—and at the feet—of the Prince of Tricks. He’s just not sure if Belphagor returns those feelings. There’s only one way to find out, but using a handsome, angelic duke to stir Belphagor’s jealousy backfires on them both.

When the duke frames Vasily for an attempted assassination as part of a revolutionary conspiracy, Belphagor will do whatever it takes to clear his boy’s name and expose the real traitor. Because for the first time in his life, the Prince of Tricks has something to lose.

Product Warnings
Contains erotic sex: m/m, m/m/m, m/m/m/m…oh hell. Let’s just say “mmmmmm!” and be done with it. Also one m/f scene. Smart discipline meted out with a great deal of love and charm. Erotic sex acts requiring copious amounts of elbow grease.

My Review:

midnight courtIf you’ve read Jane Kindred’s House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy (Fallen Queen, Midnight Court and Armies of Heaven) then Prince of Tricks serves as a even more decadent backstory to the action in that series.

If you haven’t read the Arkhangel’sk series, then Prince of Tricks is the start of something amazing. It’s an erotic love story between two demons in a world where Heaven is nothing like what we imagine.

When angels and demons fall, they fall to Earth. Our Earth. A place where history either presages or parallels the courts of Heaven, but in a way that both surprises and haunts.

The story is Belphagor’s. He is the Prince of Tricks of the title. Bel is an airspirit who has lived his life in the lowest places of the supernal realms. Once he was a rent-boy, now he’s a gambler who reigns over a table at a dive in Raqia, the demons’ quarter.

It’s clear that Bel has spent most of his life using other people, generally to their mutual satisfaction, so that he can survive a life where any vulnerability will be exploited.

His life has also been much longer than appears. At least a century, for all that he looks to be in his mid-twenties. Demons (and angels) don’t age while in Heaven. But Belphagor has fallen to earth more than once, and it’s marked him.

But someone has made him vulnerable, and that’s where this story begins. Bel has been in love with Vasily since the first time the younger demon attempted to pick his pocket. But he felt that he needed to wait until Vasily grew up. At least chronologically. A lot of this story happens because Vasily still needs to figure a few things out emotionally. He uses the wrong man to make Belphagor jealous.

Wrong not because of any jealousy Bel might finally discover that he feels, but wrong because Vasily sets himself up to be used in political maneuvering by an politically ambitious (and morally corrupt) angel. Vasily becomes the scapegoat for something much bigger than he or Belphagor imagined.

And Belphagor goes to surprising lengths to rescue the man he has finally managed to admit that he loves.

Escape Rating A: If you’ve read the Arkhangel’sk trilogy, Prince of Tricks is a must-read. Although the trilogy is about the fall and rise of the imperial family, Belphagor is often the prime mover of events, and he and his tempestuous relationship with Vasily are a big part of that story. If Vasily had not found a way into Bel’s heart, Bel wouldn’t become the demon who saves the queen.

But this story is about the beginning of the relationship. It can be read without having read the trilogy, but it cannot be read without fans and cooling drinks!

Not just because Bel and Vasily push each other to their sexual limits (Bel is extremely dominant, Vasily is not just defiantly submissive, but emotionally needy), but because Belphagor is an expert at using others’ sexuality both to prove his dominance and to seduce or beguile them into assisting with his own game. Or sometimes just for fun.

The combination is explosive.

Prince of Tricks Button 300 x 225

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.