Every Last Kiss by Courtney Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genres: historical fantasy romance
Where I got it: Smashwords
Warnings: minor swearing here and there
The review (spoilers past this point):
Magic and mayhem abounds as a creepy priest abruptly interrupts the life of a normal, depressed teen dealing with a cheating boyfriend and sends her back to one of her past lives.
Only... she doesn't have an ordinary past life. All her past lives are directly connected to very important people that she must influence for the good of Fate. In this instance, she's Cleopatra's companion, Charmain, and she must ensure that history plays out exactly the way it is meant to... again. It is a task Charmain finds harder and harder to follow with once she's back in the arms of the man she loved in this life, Hasani.
At first glance, Every Last Kiss appears to be a time-travelling romance. I actually found it to be something else entirely. While Hasani is the almost-perfect romantic icon with good looks and heroic tendencies, the story, to me, was about Girl Power.
The regal queen and loyal hand-maiden team up to tackle repulsive villains, restore Charmain's "birthright" and ensure their own terrible deaths. They do this, knowing that their decisions will also mean the deaths of the people they love. Not an easy choice to bear or share, but by sharing, the book's strongest relationship takes the fore (more so than the romantic relationship).
Having the lead character begin the story as a modern-day teen is an ingenious way to explore a historical era and characters without having to be terribly true to the language of the time. This makes it easy to follow the characters themselves, but can be a little jarring from time to time when Cleopatra says something distinctly modern in phrasing. The brain takes a moment to adjust and get back into it.
The flavours and scents of Ancient Egypt are quite engaging here. I fully expect to be googling for a while to discover more about the people and places mentioned here. The author does note some artistic licence in the acknowledgement, though I don't think I'm too off target by thinking that Egypt is a deeply passionate subject for the author.
I suspect that the next book in the series, will be a prequel (in parts), as we'll probably get to explore the beginnings of a "new" old love, and that, I imagine, is a romantic tale I'll enjoy more. With Fate itself involved, the past was almost set in stone. The present has risks and unseen dangers, and thus greater dangers. It's always the devil you don't know...
Every Last Kiss could easily leave out the "kiss" and still be a subtle showcase of stoic female characters and the bonds of friendship.
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