Book Review : How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

Book Review : How to Tame a Beast in Seven DaysHow to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 7th 2017
Pages: 396
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Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.

Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?

If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?

The Embraced series is the only romance series I have ever read, and though I am always a little mortified by the covers, I really have enjoyed reading the series. To me, the Embraced series has read more like a fantasy series than a romance series. While I loved the series for being action packed, full of fantasy elements, interesting lore, and pure fun, I think that How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days was the weakest installment I have read as of yet. I felt that the other novels, including Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon, offered a more complex chain of characters and a more authentic feeling romance. I also could not help but to notice the formula of the series and the repetitions in the writing.


Luciana, the main character of How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days Days, was born Embraced, along with her four adopted sisters. Born under the eclipse, or “embrace” of the two moons, the sisters and others born during this time were born with a magical ability. The Embraced were generally feared and put to death on the mainland, so the orphaned sisters live in secrecy on a convent on the Isle of the Moon. We learned of Luciana’s gift, when her father—whom she did not know existed, as she believed herself an orphan—showed up with his dead daughter—Tatiana, Luciana’s twin. View Spoiler »


With her family’s appearance, Luciana learned of the predicament her well-to-do father was in—if his daughter did not marry the King’s suitor, his nephew, her father would be killed and his land and people put under the direct rule of the greedy, murderous, and tyrannical King. Given no choice but to pose as her deceased sister—as twin girls were considered taboo and often put to death—Luciana left the safety of the Isle and the comfort of the only home she had ever known in order to save her father and to marry Lord Protector of the Realm, Leofric. Known as the Beast for his horrific lightning powers that rendered him unable to touch anyone for fear of harming or even killing them, Luciana was understandably a little nervous to meet her betrothed.


From the moment she first saw Leo, initially not knowing that mysterious man she met was actually him, Luciana was smitten with him. And the feeling was beyond mutual. I have never liked instalove in books, but it really did not bother me too much in this series, because clearly it’s a romance book and love, as well as the promise of a fun and light series, were the main reasons for which  I was reading the novels.  I usually prefer much more of a slow-burn and development of feelings Though the instalove didn’t bother me too much in the series because I was in the mood to read something light and fluffy, I still felt that Leo and Luciana’s relationship, out of the other two in the series, was the weakest and most shallow. I did not feel like Luciana and Leo spent much time at all getting to know one another (only seven days if we go by the title), or even talking. In fact much of their time spent together, included him spying on her, via his shapeshifting friend Brody (whom I adore), being suspicious of her identity, and reading her hidden letter from her sisters, which is hilariously delivered by messenger seals—yes, you read that correctly. Ultimately though, everyone is exceedingly and saccharinely forgiving of all these things, which annoyed me more than all of the unhealthy snooping.


Though I enjoyed Luciana’s powers and her ability to View Spoiler » I felt it was a bit of a recycled trope and presented nothing new here. Admittedly, it was definitely unique to watch Luciana develop a relationship View Spoiler »


My main problem with this series was that there was just so much coincidence that lead to a happy ending, instead of what felt like carefully laid writing plans. For instance, it was revealed that View Spoiler » This predictability would probably not be as big of an issue in How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days, if I had read the series in order, but I actually read the third novel in the series first. Because of this, I was able to clearly see the formula for the series—both the guy and the girl have separate crystallizing moments of realization that they are in love with the other; the main guy hides something really important, like being the heir to the throne; rushed marriages as something huge with dire consequences is happening that necessitates their official union; the heroine doing something major to save the day after previously ruining said day.


Despite of the formulaic feeling of the series, I still immensely enjoyed the novels and their humor. In How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days though, the humor fell a little flat for me. I cringed SO hard at Luciana referring to Leo’s—ahem—member, as a lightning rod. I really could not believe what I was reading—in fact, I felt like I was reading something for a far more juvenile audience at that moment—and did not really enjoy their intimacy because of that and similar writing. And the rest of their flirtation and dialogue, which I think was supposed to be banter, was similarly awkward due to excessive repetition. Leo and Luciana continually came back to phrases like, “You’re beautiful. I like that,” or “you’re clever. I like that.” ENOUGH, we get it. In every novel of the Embraced series, the author had a set of words or phrases that she could not help but to repeat over and over. Whenever I encountered “THE PHRASE” of the book, I wished the author would stop, as it really took me out of the moment of the novel.


Regardless of my qualms with the repetition, coincidences, and predictability, I still could not put this guilty pleasure of a book down and immediately went onto the next entry in the series. I loved that each of the Embraced novels set up the next novel, which stars another of the five sisters and their own romantic adventures. If you are looking for a fast and fun read—complete with supernatural powers, assassins, political intrigue, and interesting lore—or enjoy fantasy books with romantic elements, or just romance books, you will enjoy How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days and the rest of the Embraced series. Just do not expect a slowly developing romance with loads of character growth, or to be very surprised by many of the unfolding of events in this or the other books in the Embraced series.


Book Review - How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days - Blogging with Dragons

Posted July 20, 2018 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance

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