Forged in Fire by Juliette Cross

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Forged in Fire is a dark-fantasy romance series that I’ve found myself hooked onto. Having read Juliette Cross’ later works, I knew I’d be in for a broody-meets-sexy man with strong protective instincts. I didn’t expect the harsher topics within the story including attempted assault and reference to a suicide that precedes this story. While I can’t say I enjoyed these moments, they were influential to the story. Cross handled them with care and respect. Real life is not a walk in the park, and the growth we see for her characters is no different.

Once a Vessel, always a Vessel.

Genevieve is your average college girl with a more than average stature. She’s tall, she’s intelligent, and she’s a master at Karate. If a demon were looking through applications for a vessel to possess, Genevieve would be at the top of their call list. She is of course shocked when a handsome and mysterious man explains that she’s a vessel for any demon who wishes to posses her. She’s compatible to host a demon at their will. The only thing keeping a demon from taking control of Genevieve is her “untainted” soul.

The idea that virginity determines the goodness of a person is a big bowl of bologna. That said, I understand the use of virginity as one of the “sins” that would taint Genevieve’s soul. The creation of vessels and their purpose on earth is ancient; therefore, it’s totally suited for sex to be considered a deadly sin. It’s also the perfect setup for super frustrating sexual tension between Genevieve and Jude.

Jude is hot, protective, but far from perfect.

Jude has quite a temper on him. He’s been fighting the demons alone for way too long. He has a grumpy man exterior, but on the inside he’s all gooey for Genevieve. I like the power balance between them. Jude is the almighty force in their relationship; however, Genevieve develops into a stronger vessel than anyone could have predicted. She can also kick ass as a human. She’s no delicate flower sitting around for Jude to rescue. Jude is always there, always ready to protect, yet Genevieve tends to rescue herself quite a bit too. I really liked that about this storyline. They grow to really like it too, but her virginity is one of the keys to protecting her soul.

The only thing holding me back from a perfect 5 stars is how the conflict was handled between Jude and Genevieve. He said something to her about her deceased mother that was really harsh. There wasn’t enough explanation, and not a good apology.

Will I read the next book? ABSOLUTELY! Genevieve is getting stronger, but she’s not out of danger. I need to know if she can finally come into her full power and also get laid! I’m all for a steamy love scene for her and Jude!

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