A healing touch. A hideous face. A looming curse.
As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.
Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold.
But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.
Which is worse: being so ugly that others beg you to veil your face, or turning into a ravenous serpent whenever anyone sees you? For Princess Laidra, cursed with internal beauty and a notable deficit of the other kind, happiness may hinge on the answer. When she discovers that the monster scheduled to eat her is actually a comparably cursed prince, Laidra embarks upon a quest to unwind a kingdom-shattering dilemma that an enemy intended for evil. But with the gods driven by petty rivalries, arranging divine intervention may prove even more difficult for Laidra than making eye contact with her boyfriend. In Coiled, H. L. Burke weaves faux-mythology and complex characterization into a narrative that slithers along at a brisk clip, exploring the pitfalls of attraction and the deficits of polytheism while our heroes’ young love buds.
Best for: Teens and adults seeking tender romance set against a backdrop of hostile politicking and mythical machinations.
Discern: Pervasive sexual tension and the frank discussion thereof, some sensuality and innuendo, non-graphic nudity, brief savage violence.