Rating (out of 5): 2.5 stars
Kismet’s Kiss isn’t exactly a paranormal romance in the conventional terms. There is magic involved and immortals, but the paranormal elements take a very far backseat to historical romance overtones throughout the story.
Sultan Kuramos finds those inside his palace falling ill and dying from a mysterious disease. The illness isn’t found outside the palace walls, and now his personal healer has died of an accident. The other healers in his kingdom aren’t that skilled, so he reaches out to the enemy kingdom for the use of their healer. The problem? His realm finds magic, in all forms, evil and disrespectful of the goddess. In addition, women do not serve in positions of power within his realm. So, when Varene arrives to help seek a cure for his family and servants, he is shocked.
Varene refuses to hide who she is or behave as anything other than the Sultan’s equal. Additionally, though everyone is wary of her and her magic, she uses it to help those suffering from the mystery affliction, including Kuramos’ son.
In the process, the two find themselves utterly attracted to one another. The twist here is, while there’s definitely a love/lust at first sight element, both fight it. They’re morally disgusted with one another and find their mutual attraction shameful. Varene has particular problems as Kuramos has six wives already. She doesn’t intend to share a man in any way, must less with six other women.
The strongest parts of Kismet’s Kiss come from Cate Rowan’s ability to capture the internal struggle with attraction to the forbidden. Varene finds it infinitely problematic to accept the culture in Kuramos’ realm, while he finds himself impressed by the way she challenges him.
Kismet’s Kiss, though containing otherworldly elements, didn’t feel like a paranormal romance to me. So, it’s overall rating for me is a bit skewed because I didn’t get quite what I expected out of the novel. That said, though, the romance kept pulling me through the story.