Prince of Tricksby Jane Kindred
Demons of Elysium, Book 1
Over the past century, Belphagor has made a name for himself in Heaven's Demon District as a cardsharp, thief, and charming rogue.
Though the airspirit is content with his own company, he enjoys applying the sweet sting of discipline to a willing backside. Angel, demon, even
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PRINCE OF TRICKS is the first instalment in Jane Kindred’s adult,fantasy ‘Demons of Elysium’ erotic, M/M spin off series from her House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy. Demons of Elysium is (so far) a prequel series focusing on airspirit demon Belphagor and firespirit demon Vasily. Like the House of Arkhangel’sk series there runs a parallel theme between Heaven and Earth (World of Man) where Heaven’s political infrastructure closely matches that of the early twentieth century Russia. The similarities and familiarity blend two worlds from the modern day Russian homeland and that of an earlier time. Belphagor is a dominant lover who has fallen madly in love with the high spirited, reckless firespirit demon and former rent-boy Vasily. When Vasily inadvertently puts his life at risk to please his dominant lover, Belphagor must use everything and everyone to ensure that Vasily survives the upcoming rebellion against the Royal House. When Vasily is targeted to take the fall in an assassination attempt on the Principality, Belphagor will use everything in his possession to free his young and naïve lover from the bonds of imprisonment and perhaps his execution. PRINCE OF TRICKS is a sexually graphic and explicit M/M love story where nothing is off limits between consenting adults. Belphagor and Vasily use their sexuality and their bodies as commodities. They exchange sex for love, for fun, for dominance and control; sex between each other is passionate, aggressive, seductive and emotional; sex with others is a form of punishment, entertainment, and degradation. The Dom/sub relationship between Belphagor and Vasily is a mixture of discipline, humiliation and love. While Vasily is quick to acknowledge his love for Belphagor, Belphagor is unwilling to risk saying the words aloud knowing his heart maybe broken at any time. Their’s is a relationship that is forbidden on Earth but envied by the demons in Heaven. The world building is stunningly detailed, controversial and profound. It is a social study in culture, economics, sexuality, health, politics, religion and industry. The secondary characters are colorful, abrasive, passionate and intense. The storyline never falters-there is always something happening whether in the World of Man or in Heaven. We learn a little more about some of the characters first introduced in Jane’s ‘House of Arkhangel’sk’ trilogy Jane Kindred writes an intensely sexual storyline rich in Christian and religious overtones, the Russian revolution and the Romanov executions as well as the sociology of the impoverished and the powerfully rich. PRINCE OF TRICKS pulls the reader into a storyline that parallels much of the fabled royal Russian history as well as a fantasy where angels and demons are at war with one another. Jane Kindred’s Heaven is not the place of peace and understanding but a battleground between the have and have nots; angels and demons; Heaven and Earth.
Thanks to Jane Kindred I'll never picture Heaven the same way again in this cleverly crafted and highly sexualized first book in the Demons of Elysuim series. From start to finish readers are taken on an unexpected and unique journey into the world of demons, fallen angels, and a political plan to create chaos that unwittingly forces the arrogant and sexy Beli to become embroiled in after his young lover Vasy is accused of the crime. From this decadent and gritty view of Heaven to the perceived safety of a parallel Russia here on Earth, Beli and Vasy race to stay one step ahead of the real criminals while Beli uses his unique abilities to gain the help he needs, especially from the Heavenly guard Phaleg, in clearing Vasy's name. Beli's youth was one of living on the edge doing whatever necessary to stay alive. It's made him smart in maneuvering through the different levels of society but it's left him a bit jaded too. He's considered a master of thievery, gambling, and sex but deep down it's also made him leery of love. Vasy is sweet and naive at times, which leads him into trouble, but his kind heart and playfulness bring out a softer side to Beli. Vasy doesn't ever seem to learn from his mistakes so it's a good thing he has Beli looking out for him. For so long he fought the love and affection Vasy was offering him as he saw it as a weakness but when he finally does claim him it leads to unexpected events. Beli then has to use all of his strengths to save the young man he's just starting to care for which leads readers on a super sexy journey from one demon to another and, in a very unexpected twist, shows what it's like to be a woman in a world where they have the least power. Ms. Kindred has created an entertaining roller coaster ride full of all sorts of naughty sex. Here Heaven is an adult's playground, like Las Vegas, a bit gritty and rough around the edges. There's different classes of demons and angels who are constantly fighting to be on top. This world is vividly depicted and grabs your attention from the very start. In contrast is the Russian parallel world which is just as corrupt and dangerous and puts the Russian words Beli's always speaking with Vasy to good use. From one world to another you're constantly on the edge of your seat waiting for the next unexpected thing to happen and Ms. Kindred doesn't disappoint. Another area that didn't disappoint was the sexual interludes where readers witnessed m/m, threesomes, menages, and a bit of f/f, though these scenes did take over the story at times. Sex was seen as a commodity, as entertainment, as well as for genuine affection. Throughout it all Beli was the master, always knowing what others wanted and needed as he blazed a sexual path to get the info he needed to save Vasy. Those who don't like their main couples with others though might be turned off by this but it slowly becomes clear that his time with Vasy is more meaningful than time spent with others. With their sweet and heartfelt concluding scenes this is especially apparent. With its vivid world building, steamy sexual interludes, and compelling main character of Beli this becomes an unforgettable read and an exciting start to what promises to be a unique and entertaining series. Though I never felt a strong connection to Vasy as he always seemed to be in Beli's shadow, the character of Phaleg and his steamy scenes with Beli left a lasting impression with me and I look forward to his story!