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Review: The Black Lotus & Blood Orchid - Claire Warner

The Black Lotus
The Black Lotus & Blood Orchid by Claire Warner
Series: Night Flower Books 1&2

My rating: {★★★☆☆}

YA Historical Fantasy PNR

Source: YA Bound Book Tours
It's 1752 and Melissa meets the man who will change her life forever. At her disastrous debut, Melissa meets the handsome Justin Lestrade and finds herself falling into his world. But Justin has secrets and many enemies. His dark past will not only ensnare her, but damage everything she knows and understands. Join Melissa as she sinks into a world of old feuds and ancient magic.
Blood Orchid
Tied to Justin with bonds stronger than blood, Melissa De Vire heads into her new life with fear and anger. Anger at Emily, at Katherine and most of all, anger at Justin, fuels her resolve to find a cure for the curse. From the English court in 1752 to the fires of the French Revolution, Melissa struggles to survive her new existence and find forgiveness for Justin as clues to a cure begin to surface.
I received books one and two of the Night Flower series from YA Bound Book Tours. I hadn't heard of the series previously but the premise interested me immensely and the fact that this was a historical PNR was the clincher. I'm going to be reviewing books one and two together and I will not include any spoilers.

I really struggled with a rating for both of these books (both three to three and a half stars from me) because I did really enjoy them and they were great entertainment value for me. They kept me reading until late in the night and while some of the great reveals weren't hard to guess, I just enjoyed the books for what they were. Unfortunately both books suffered from editing issues and while I don't mind a spelling error or two or a grammatical faux-pas here and there I also think that both of these books could have had some scenes cut and some re-writes done in order to make the plot tighter and to make the books even more engaging.

The books are set in the 1700s with Melissa as our main protagonist. A woman before her time and a young debutante she is not happy being shunted off into the best possible marriage by her parents and is jealous of the freedom and autonomy of the men of her era.

The historical aspects of the story seem to have been researched and represented well although we could have had even more detail in order to give us a broader scope of the setting. The paranormal facets are both unique and interesting and I love the idea of the curse and how the characters deal with their immortality.

The writing, while not perfect, was vivid and I loved the descriptions that Warner gave us and I was able to envisage the world with great clarity. Characters were developed satisfactorily in book one and by the second book I think Warner really hit her stride and I enjoyed learning more of their backgrounds and seeing their interactions.

The romance started off as a bit of insta-lust but I think that it turned into something sweeter and more believable as the books went on and this wasn't a problem for me at all.

Overall the second book was better than the first being more tightly plotted (and shorter), better character development and faster pacing however it's obviously necessary to read them both!

If you're a fan of YA PNR and/or historical romance, give this one a try!