My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
This review may contain spoilers for earlier books in the Hearts of the Anemoi series. You could try to read EAST OF ECSTASY as a stand-alone book, but I would strongly recommend that you read the previous three books first.
After all the life and death struggles for the brother-gods of the Anemoi, those who seek to stop their brother Eurus from destroying all in his path have come together for the final battle between good and evil. We have already met the good Anemoi, and seen them fall in love with human women as they work against Eurus, he who controls the East Wind and seeks to wipe out humanity along with his fellow gods and goddesses of Nature. EAST OF ECSTASY is our formal introduction to Devlin, middle son of Eurus, and one who may be good or evil, depending on who is telling the story.
In previous books, we saw Devlin from afar as he appeared to be doing his terrible father’s bidding, and heard how the other Anemoi believed him to be a threat to their cause. But in EAST OF ECSTASY, we discover that appearances are not as they seem, and that Devlin himself is the key to any hope of success in defeating Eurus before all is lost. But before Devlin Eston can find redemption, he has to find love. And that love comes from a woman who may contain more than a mere spark of divinity herself.
Annalise doesn’t look or act like anyone else in her family, or anyone else in their part of Maryland. Her countenance is almost colorless, including her pale gray eyes, and although she’s a gifted painter, the only time she can actually experience color is when she’s in the middle of creating a new work of art. When she spots Devlin hiding in her studio, it’s a toss-up as to who is more surprised, as no one has ever sensed his presence when cloaked in invisibility before now. But that’s just the start of all the unusual abilities Anna manifests in the initial moments after he reveals himself to her. It’s clear that Anna must be a descendant of one or more divinities, but when her parentage is revealed, even the Anemoi are taken aback. Yet it’s Anna’s concern for Devlin’s well-being that makes her valuable to their cause, and to him. Love can’t cure all, but it can be the missing element that helps a wounded hero heal in time to save the world.
Devlin would never consider himself any kind of hero, wounded or otherwise. Though he may be a god, his father Eurus is a stronger one, and that strength has been used against Devlin as the worst sort of weapon. Devlin has been judged unfairly by those unaware of just how greatly he has suffered at the hands of the one who should have loved and cared for him. And like so many other victims of parental abuse, Devlin has taken blame for his father’s evil deeds upon himself in the mistaken belief that somehow he personally could have prevented all the death and destruction. When Anna shows Devlin that he can love and be loved, it causes him to lash out at her at first. But Anna is resolute, and her unwavering need to show him he deserves better is what helps both him and those who should be his allies come together in shared purpose to stop Eurus from carrying out his plan to destroy the earth with a powerful storm unleashing all four winds. The question remains, however, as to who will survive among the Anemoi and their loved ones before success is finally theirs.
EAST OF ECSTASY is a wonderful payoff for loyal readers of Laura Kaye’s Hearts of the Anemoi series and an enjoyable romance in its own right as the abused and misunderstood Devlin finds the one woman who can see beyond his ingrained defenses to the gentle soul who has been starved for love his whole life. Even though the events of the past few books have taken place in only a few weeks’ time, the ultimate outcome never feels rushed or truncated. The final battle is just as fierce as I had anticipated, and the road to the Anemoi’s happy ending had me crying both sad and happy tears in turn.
I wasn’t a big paranormal romance fan when I began reading this series back at its start. But through the previous three books, Laura Kaye made me a believer in the Anemoi, and this final entry, EAST OF ECSTASY, is her crowning achievement.