Crystal Flame is an epic fantasy with the romance and suspense that is true to Jayne Ann Krentz.
Kalena has been sent by her aunt to assassinate the man who murdered her father and brother. She leaves the farm and goes to the city with a trade wife contract. She is to marry Ridge "Firewhip", Trade Baron Quintel's most trusted trader and employee. Ridge is like a son to Quintel. Kalena plans to slip poison to her family's enemy the night of the wedding. She assumes the wedding will be called off for the temporary marriage then.
But things don't work out the way Kalena plans. She discovers she is unable to kill anyone. Instead she bonds herself to Ridge for the temporary marriage. They travel to the High Reaches to meet with the High Healers to open up the trade routes to the medicine that only those women have.
Kalena has discovered she likes Ridge and is happy with the current arrangement. But he discovers her original true purpose for coming to the city. It will take time for him to trust his trade bride. Then someone tries to drug them and kill them while they are at an inn along the road.
On Zantalia, life is Spectrum. The male end of the Spectrum is Dark. The female end is Light. The two balance each other out. Everything works best in balance. The longer they are together the more more Kalena and Ridge discover they are opposite of each other, thus a better match. What they don't realize is that powers of both Light and Dark have greater plans for both Kalena and Ridge. These plans could mean one or both of their deaths.
This is one of Jayne Ann Krentz' earlier novels. If she had decided to follow in Anne McCaffrey's footsteps rather than the romantic suspense genre, she still would have done quite well. Crystal Flame is well done. I was pulled into her world of Zantalia and the idea of the Spectrum. I kept being reminded of stories like Janny Wurts' Curse of the Mistwraith.
The bad guys in the end were predictable, That detracted a little, but not enough to take away my enjoyment of Crystal Flame. The book is about the romance between Kalena and Ridge, of course, but it has much more.
Notice: Non-graphic violence, Strong sexual content
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
Book Rating System