Love is an incredibly powerful thing. Can it really heal every wound though?
Xirena’s abusive home life reveals itself almost immediately. Some of my favorite scenes in this book show how she’s learned to survive in such a dysfunctional environment. The coping mechanisms that work for her at home don’t always get the same results from emotionally healthy people. Knowing this part of her history so early on also made Xirena’s character development even more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
This book is full of poetry. The characters quote classic pieces of it to each other from memory and sometimes even write new ones. It was surprising to see it pop up in contexts that really surprised me. Most of the poetry I’ve read doesn’t cover the kinds of topics that it does in this tale. While the dialogue in those sections was beautiful, it was also distracting. I was never quite sure if it was intended to be a stylized version of how these characters actually speak or if I was supposed to assume they were literally speaking those exact words.
The budding romance between Xirena and Kai is sweet. The fact that he was older than her and much more worldly made me raise an eyebrow at first, but I was quite pleased to see how respectfully Kai treated her. He is careful to never cross the boundaries Xirena sets with him. That made me like him even more than I would have otherwise.
I’ll be recommending Love’s Prey to the people I know who don’t usually read stories about romance or teenagers. This is a solid introduction to either genre for anyone who is curious about them but not sure where to begin.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.