Cursed By Furies: A Tale of Vikings, Elves, and Gods by Diedra Drake was a unique spin on the idea of vampires that kept me turning pages until the very end!
The story revolves around Priscilla and her fellow Elves. Cursed a millennium ago by the furies and Aphrodite, Elves have been forced to feast on blood and never walk in the sun (what we would call vampires). As generations passed, Elves have procreated with humans, diluting their blood. Half-Elves must undergo a ritual of a blood infusion from a full Elf to claim their heritage and join their house. We see this early on when Priscilla saves the life of a dying half-elf and brings him into his life as a full Elf.
This story is complex and fascinating, with a lot of interesting characters and beautiful dialogue that feels real. I would have loved to have seen development on some of the characters, simply because they were so captivating and I wanted to know more about them since they evolved through the book and I wanted to know WHY. But, I must say, the erotic scenes were some of the best paranormal sex scenes I’ve ever read. They were graphic and steamy without being trashy, which is a fine line to walk, and Drake did a phenomenal job.
The underlying theme of learning to accept yourself, despite things others might find unpalatable was so well executed. Priscilla, who has an inner Banshee that can come out in times of distress, often feels disconnected from those around her because of this strange and terrifying power. It is not helped by one of her lovers (the characters in the book embrace polyamory as normal and encouraged) who makes it clear he doesn’t care for that side of her.
With tensions between the Elf houses building to another feud just as several Elves attempt to appeal to the Gods to remove parts of the curse, Priscilla and her loved ones must uncover the treachery that plagues them and all Elves. They will need to learn to rely on themselves and each other, and to look past those things that might drive them apart. Drake is an author worth following, and I will definitely be picking up book two to see what happens with these characters next!