Monday, 22 July 2013


Pages: 464
Date: 22/07/2013
Grade: 6
Details: no. 4 Original Sinners,
            The Red Years
            Received from Harlequin
           Through NetGalley

The blurb, from the author’s website:

There's punishment-and then there's vengeance. 

Nora Sutherlin is being held, bound and naked. Under different circumstances, she would enjoy the situation immensely, but her captor isn't interested in play. Or pity. 

As the reality of her impending peril unfolds, Nora becomes Scheherazade, buying each hour of her life with stories-sensual tales of Søren, Kingsley and Wesley, each of whom has tempted and tested and tortured her in his own way. This, Nora realizes, is her life: nothing so simple, so vanilla, as a mere love triangle for her. It's a knot in a silken cord, a tangled mass of longings of the body and the heart and the mind. And it may unravel at any moment. 

But in Nora's world, no one is ever truly powerless-a cadre of her friends, protectors and lovers stands ready to do anything to save her, even when the only certainty seems to be sacrifice and heartbreak....

I found myself strangely reluctant to read this book. As much as I was desperate to find out how everything was going to unfold, as much as I couldn’t imagine how a happy ending could be designed for all of these characters, as much as I needed to have these questions answered, my reluctance to have the story end was greater.  

So, I made – forced – myself to read this book as slowly as possible. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a single thing. Not that I am under the illusion that I succeeded in achieving that. I know that I almost certainly will have missed tons of references, nuances, jokes… But I also know that I got enough – for now. Because I know that I will re-read this book and that when I do I will discover more in it than I did this time, just as I did on my re-reads of “The Siren”, “The Angel” and “The Prince”.

And now that I have finished “The Mistress” I find myself facing a huge dilemma. I want to rave about this book; share the story and my thoughts and feelings about it with the whole world, and I can’t. Oh, I can tell you that I loved this book, that the story took my breath away, that I laughed and cried while reading it, that my heart stopped beating on several occasions only for it to accelerate a few paragraphs later. But I can’t tell you why. Or at least, I can’t tell you anything about the story beyond what it says in the official blurb. Revealing anything else wouldn’t be fair on anybody who hasn’t read this book yet. Everybody who has grown to love the Original Sinners books the way I have, every reader who has been counting the days until this book will be available deserves the pleasure of making all the discoveries that are contained in this book completely unspoiled by me or any other reviewer.

So, what can I say? To start with I could repeat something I said in earlier reviews; Tiffany Reisz is pure writing-genius. Her characters are larger than life, live in a world I can’t completely get my head around and yet are among the most relatable characters I’ve ever come across. I want to know these people, talk to them and spend a little bit of time in their world. And, while we’re on the characters, it was wonderful to re-acquaint myself with those I encountered before and spend a little (at times too little) bit of time in their presence. And the new characters, those whom we didn’t encounter before and those who we’d seen very little of so far, they were as inspired as the old familiars were. 

And we learn so much more about all these characters. The stories Nora is forced to tell show us new details about the past and thus explain the characters to yet a greater extent. And the interactions between the other characters, both old and new, show us more of who these people are. The reader may have thought that after three books they had a pretty good idea about who exactly these characters were, and what motivated them, but they will discover that there is more to know, deeper to dig, greater wonders to experience. If you still had issues or question marks about one or more of the characters in this book I can almost promise you that they will have gone by the time you finish “The Mistress”. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case.

I’ve said it before, but I’m not ashamed to say it again, Tiffany Reisz’ writing is beyond compare. I love the way her dialogue sparkles and the profound statements she makes in such an, apparently off the cuff, manner. I’ve got a list of quotes as long as my arm to support this statement but will share only a few (the risk of spoilers is rearing its ugly head once again):

“Calling this man handsome would be like saying Einstein was fairly decent at his sums.”

“You were in love, not stupid. They’re two very different diseases with identical symptoms.”

“My cock would love to salute your cervix.”

“This was love, what they did together. Two people saving each other from a night spent alone and lonely. They brought their pain to each other and each accepted the gift. This was love, keeping watch together until dawn. This was love, not letting the people who hurt them win. This was love, taking a risk for someone else.”

“There is nothing I wouldn’t trust you to do to me. I don’t care if that’s the wrong answer. It is the truth. And it’s the only answer I have.”

“Love versus love, King, you’re comparing infinities. There is no ‘more’. That’s not how love works. If it’s love, it’s infinite. You can’t count it.”

And no, I’m not going to expand on these quotes, or tell you whose mouth they sprang from. You’ll find out when you read the book and trust me when I say you don’t want me to tell you; the pleasure is in discovering the origins of these, and many other, treasures yourself.

This book brings the Red Years of the Original Sinners series to an end. For months now Tiffany Reisz has been telling everybody who follows her on Twitter that they would love the way the story concludes and approve of the solutions she’d come up with for all the relationship entanglements. I have to say I didn’t quite believe her. While I could see a positive ending for some characters I just didn’t see how she would pull it off for all of them. Oh me of little faith…

Let me tell you; reassure you, that she has indeed managed to deliver the impossible. This book ends on a perfect note for everybody concerned and yet is filled with surprises. And, it wouldn’t be a book by Tiffany Reisz if it didn’t end on one final shocker. I won’t say anything else about that except that I love the name Fionn; well, I would since I’m living in Ireland, wouldn’t I? 

If, after all my raving you still have doubts about how much I loved this book just look at how I rated it; I don’t give 6 out of 5 stars very often, in fact this may well be the second time ever. 

Finally, for everybody reading this review who hasn’t read the three prequels; do yourself a huge favour and read “The Siren”, “The Angel” and “The Prince” first. This is one of those series you MUST read in order. Anything else would be a total waste of a superb story. As for me, now that I’ve learned all there is to learn about the “Red Years”, I guess it’s time to test my virtuousness again. The release date for “The Priest”, the first book in the “White Years”, hasn’t even been announced yet, so my patience is to be tried once again. I guess that is what makes it a virtue.

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