Ardent

Title: Ardent
Author: Jan Irving
Cover Artist: Deanna C Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Ardent
Genre: Paranormal/Vampire/Werewolf  BDSM
Length: 60,000 words
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: An uneven story and a complicated cast with kinky demon BDSM.

Blurb: It sounded like something from one of the graphic novels Jaime Anderson aspires to create, but Arden Kaller is real. Once the lover of Jaime’s older brother, his blood coats Jaime’s lips the first night he hits town when he heals him after Jaime is involved in an altercation in a brick-lined alley. Arden has spent long years studying his amphora, his pot shards. How can a small town boy exert such a hold on him? But it isn’t long before he tricks Jaime into wearing his mystical token.

Jaime’s life is complicated enough just handling classes. Now his guitar-playing friend Mondo turns out to be a werewolf who wants Jaime to be his-and then there is Arden, his dark, dangerous, and slightly nerdy vampire lover.

Review:

This book has caused me a headache; parts of it I really liked, in fact the first half I was almost, but not quite all, in favour of it and then I started to feel more unsettled and less comfortable. I think the easiest way of describing my overall impression is that I found it uneven in tone. This arises I feel from the ambitious undertaking of combining three complex elements. Ardent uneasily includes the BDSM world of master and slave or pet, the paranormal world of demons including vampires and werewolves, and the social realism of college in a small town. Now usually all these really work for me, but somehow the mix here is a little curdled.

I was uneasy with Arden’s seduction of young Jaime which I felt was very manipulative. Now you could say duh—demon/vampire that is the nature of the beast. However Arden is described contradictorily both as a dramatic, gorgeous demon and a nerdy archaeologist. The awkward behaviour that embodies this most clearly manifests itself as while trying to soften his demon side, he woos Jaime and this involves looking after Jaime’s diet. I found this an interesting idea of control, but the expression of it was odd.  An example is in conjunction with muffins: there is an introduction of master/boy play that leans towards mild humiliation: ” I’ll make roasted peanut muffins if you’ll bring yourself off for me.” Now do you understand my headache?

Jaime is interested in Mondo, a fellow student and alpha werewolf who is very keen to have Jaime for himself. So there is almost a love triangle going on as well. This allows me to quote some of my favourite lines:

” He wants to mount you and fuck you, push his penis inside you while he’s a beast.”
” And that’s different from what you want to do to me how exactly?”
” Well, no fur.”

The resolution to this complication is not one that Bella, Edward and Jake would approve.

Added to this we have an irritating, interfering, best friend and inefficient witch, Elizabeth whose jealousy provokes her to do stupid but plot-necessary things. The cast also includes Lal, a demon/human relationship counsellor and Arden’s sire Sean has a role to play as really bad, torture-loving demon.

As you can tell there are parts of this novel that worked for me. I do enjoy Jan Irving’s rich original imagery, and the description of Arden’s overgrown but Mayan-influenced home is beautifully atmospheric. There is some fun dialogue and real, if confused, affection between Arden and Jaime. But I found the magical elements plot ups and downs very contrived. Moreover, there is some sexual kink involving various manifestations of BDSM that left me more uneasy than interested. So one rather ambivalent and inconclusive review. I really want someone else who has read this to tell me what they think of it!

Ardent contains BDSM involving whipping and mild humiliation.

9 comments

  • That quote was delicious. “No fur” haha…
    Since this book involves all four of my least favorite topics, i wasn’t going to read it, but I read other books by this author which i liked and was interested in learning more about it. thank you for the review!

    Reply
    • Hi Feliz,

      There was some good dialogue here that I enjoyed a lot. Jan Irving does have a range of writing styles and I guess its finding the right one for the right mood!

      Reply
  • MAHAHAHAH, Raine, thank you so much for very amusing review. “The resolution to this complication is not the one that Bella, Edward and Jake will approve” LOLOL.

    Seriously I have read a lot of books by this author and some of them I liked quite a lot, but some of them I really did not. I had been eyeing this one for some time, but based on your review it would have been a miss for me. Thank you!

    Your review is a HOOT though. Peanut muffins tee hee.

    Reply
    • Thanks Sirius. I am in the same camp as you. Some of Jan Irving’s work I really like. I found Mask a clever, sexy and powerful read. Mastering Toby and Sahara Blue are not without flaws, but are two of my comfort reads! Luke is sweet, but Wylde set my teeth on edge……

      It really is frustrating sometimes as I wanted to love this book- I whined a lot to Aunt Lynn and Wave while writing review. :blush:

      Reply
      • Oh yes I loved Mask, mostly because of Finn though. Yes, I would have felt an urge to whine myself me thinks 🙂

        Reply
  • I bought this one by mistake, mostly because I kind of misunderstood what it was about. Didn’t know it was BDSM story or multiple partner things and I couldnt find any content description on mlr, very annoying.

    Anyway… I couldn’t finish it. The sexual kinks, the powerplay and the multiple love interests and whatever else was going on just couldn’t keep my attention.

    Reply
    • Oh yes saga I really know where you are coming from….. 🙄 I really hate not being able to finish a book. I struggled with this one because I did enjoy some of it.

      Mask- an earlier work is really good, more enigmatic and gothic.
      Some of the elements of that book are reworked less successfully in this one I think.

      Reply
      • Yeah it was very push and pull. I got interested in some interactions and then whoops it was another guy same thing all over again. The powerplay was also very confusing, sometimes it was interesting and then, bam, you were back on square one.

        Reply

Please comment! We'd love to hear from you.

%d bloggers like this: