Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Review: Forged In Fire, by Juliette Cross

Forged In Fire
(The Vessel Trilogy, Book 1)
Juliette Cross
Kindle Edition, 345 pages
Entangled Select Otherworld
July 31, 2017
Source: Amazon
New Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Genevieve Drake has never been the helpless kind of girl, has never needed to be rescued. That is, not until her twentieth birthday when some dude nearly chokes her to death in an alley and a hot stranger splits the guy in half, rips a monster from inside, and incinerates it into ash.

The hot guy? Jude Delacroix—Dominus Daemonum, Master of Demons. Now her guardian, whether she likes it or not. But she’s seriously beginning to like it.

The dude choking her? One of many demons from the underworld trying to abduct or kill Genevieve. As the prime target of the demon prince, Danté, she has no problem accepting Jude’s protection.

Why Genevieve? She’s a Vessel, one born to serve the Light but can be corrupted and used as a weapon for darkness. She had no idea this world even existed. Now, she just wants to survive it.

This novel came to my attention thanks to a blog tour I recently participated in. I don't read ebooks all that often, but the cover of this one immediately captivated me! Then I read the summary, and ordered it from Amazon right away.

From the moment I began to read, I was fully immersed in this intense plot, with its non-stop action and vivid, totally likeable characters. The world-building, too, contributed to my enjoyment of the novel, as it was quite detailed and very interesting.

A Vessel, as described in this novel, is a woman who can unfortunately be an instrument of evil, as demons can use such Vessels to carry out their dark plans. Genevieve, the female MC, has begun to "awaken" at the age of 20, which is when such women first become aware of their special status.

Demons, who are very physical, as well as very human-looking, vie for possession of Vessels, and this was a pretty frightening thing to me. While reading this novel, it also seemed all too real. Once she had become awakened as a Vessel, Genevieve was immensely attractive to these evil denizens of Hell. There's a hierarchy in Hell, too, as some demons are Princes, while others are Dukes. They also have very frightening and remarkable powers.

The most appealing thing about this novel was the developing relationship between Genevieve and Jude, a Demon Hunter. I loved his concern for her, while at the same time admiring her for resisting his constant protection. The sparks certainly flew between these two! Their romance was electric, dynamic, and full of sexual tension. Their dialogues were exciting, snarky, and I kept "turning" pages on my cell phone's Kindle app to see where these wonderful, exciting interactions of theirs would lead.

Amidst all of the witty dialogues, there was a LOT of action. Demons were constantly coming after Genevieve, and unfortunately, she needed nearly constant protection from Jude.

Here's where I felt this novel didn't quite live up to my expectations. The whole thing was set up, or so I thought, to feature Genevieve as a kick-butt female hero. That wasn't quite how things worked out, though..... I thought she was rescued by Jude far too many times. Although she did show a lot of courage on several occasions (and her father is a  martial arts teacher), she just could not resolve certain situations by herself, and Jude kept showing up just in time to save her. I found this very disappointing, as well as a bit too contrived.

Another aspect of this novel that wasn't to my liking was the detail lavished on the scenes in which Genevieve was harassed and toyed with by a high demon named, ironically enough, Dante. It was not easy reading about just how powerful he was, how easily he could bend her to his will. 

I loved the secondary characters! One of them was Genevieve's mother, who was a talented painter, although she painted rather frightening, surrealistic things. I was fascinated, nevertheless, as I love art. So, a character who creates art will always interest me. I was actually sorry that this one didn't play a larger role in the story. 

Another great character was Mindy, Genevieve's roommate. Although she was a bit too much of an airhead, in my honest opinion, she did care about Genevieve, and was concerned about her burgeoning relationship with Jude.

Yet another great character was Kat, a female demon hunter who sparked Genevieve's jealousy, as she's almost as old as Jude, and far too beautiful and powerful for Genevieve's liking. She turns out to be a great friend to Genevieve, though, as well as a welcome ally and trainer in battling demons. 

And then there's Dante. I have to admit that he's a very well-developed villain. Very believable, very, very scary, too. He was creepy in the extreme, as well as totally ruthless, totally without compassion. (Well, of course, he was a demon!) The paradoxical thing was that he was so very beautiful! Well, the Bible does state that the devil loves to masquerade as an angel of light. Dante was incredibly alluring, at least, until his true colors shone through. Then he was totally terrifying! The scenes he appeared in were the parts of the novel that almost made me stop reading. They also made me wonder if this novel shouldn't be classified as a horror novel as well as an urban fantasy. 

Although I did enjoy this story, I do have some very mixed feelings about it. I found it a bit too scary for my comfort, as I've already mentioned. I guess that was to be expected, though, since it does deal with demons. And again, I was expecting Genevieve to be much more proactive when it came to dealing with all of these horrible demons. She did possess some remarkable powers herself, after all. She just didn't get to use them all that often.

Yet another aspect I didn't like was the unfortunate appearance of "the F bomb", although it wasn't that frequent. Still, I don't like seeing this obnoxious word pop up in novels AT ALL.

On the plus side, this novel was, paradoxically, very clean. Even though it had plenty of sexual tension, there were no sex scenes in it, graphic or otherwise.

In spite of my objections, I will be continuing this trilogy with the next two installments -- Sealed In Sin, and Bound In Black. In the third novel, Genevieve finally awakens into her full powers. I want to see her do some MAJOR butt-kicking and defeat those demons in the end! I also want to find out where her relationship with Jude heads next!

Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home, where she lives with her husband, four children, and a black Lab named "Kona". She is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University, an M.Ed. in Gifted Education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. From the moment she read Jane Eyre as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own. 


  1. Oh this sounds pretty good. I'm even contemplating buying it for my Kindle. It's been ages since I read a good paranormal romance.

    1. Hi, Stephanie!

      Yeah, I really enjoyed this book, in spite of my objections. The characters are AWESOME!! I have all three books on my phone's Kindle app, so I will be getting to the other two pretty soon!

      Thanks for commenting!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  2. I have enjoyed the Juliette Cross novels I've read quite a bit--they are very dark, I must say. I haven't read this one though, although I will definitely add it to my list. Even with your reservations this sounds right up my alley. Thank you for bringing this one to my attention, and for your great review!

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Juliette Cross is obviously HIGHLY talented! Her characters are VERY real, and the pacing and world-building are GREAT. But, judging from this particular novel, the plot does tend to be dark. And you're telling me that this is the case for the Cross novels you've read so far. Hmm.... I do own all three books in this series, but now I'm starting to wonder if I should dive into them. But gee, I'm SO curious about Jude and Genevieve's relationship!!

      Paranormal romance and urban fantasy fans (and I count myself among them!) will still enjoy this novel, especially if they don't share my reservations. For me, though, there were some uncomfortable moments. I can't say more than that without giving spoilers. When you read this novel, you'll see what I mean. You might be okay with the parts of the novel featuring Dante. I didn't like those parts much, to be honest. They just made Dante much too real. I guess Cross had to do that precisely to make him seem more real, but again, I felt uncomfortable, and nearly stopped reading the book right then and there.

      You're very welcome for the sharing!!

      Thanks for the interesting comment and the compliment!! Glad you enjoyed reading my review! :) :)

      Hope the upcoming week is GREAT!! HUGS TO YOU AND MOUSE!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

As of today, 9/23/18, I have permanently enabled comment moderation, due to a sudden rash of SPAM comments. I appreciate your patience!

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)