Having enjoyed Marjorie M. Liu’s Hunter Kiss urban fantasy series, I decided to look into her paranormal romance series, Dirk & Steele.
Tiger Eye is the first novel in the Dirk & Steele sequence. The heroine, Dela Reese, is a sculptor with a psychic affinity for metal. On a trip to China, she buys a mysterious riddle box and finds herself bound to Hari, an immortal shapeshifter, by magical forces beyond their control. What follows is a fast-paced plot in which the two must evade danger (both mundane and supernatural) and contend with their growing feelings for one another.
The romance is well-written, with a great deal of depth and emotion; the love scenes are both sizzling and tender. Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s early novels will enjoy Tiger Eye, and I suspect that fans of Anne Bishop‘s Black Jewels series will feel the same way.
Stylistically, Tiger Eye is written in simpler, less avant-garde prose than the Hunter Kiss books; which series you prefer will likely be a matter of taste. Like Hunter Kiss, though, Tiger Eye has moments where the prose is so beautiful that I had to stop reading and grin at the pages, often through a tear or two.
Most of the conflict in Tiger Eye is external. If you’re into romances where the protagonists bicker constantly throughout the story, you won’t find that here. However, if you’re looking for interesting characters, haunting magic, and “true love conquering all,” you need look no further.