Posted first at The Romance Reviews
Kristabelle St. Lucas is an etheralmancer, with the rare skills of working with stained glass. The magic of etheralmancy allows her to help those stranded in this world, to release their souls so that they might move on. The clerics have abused her talent in making the glass for the Portamere Cathedral. They have used threats against her family to force her into punishing the unbelievers by taking their souls and sealing them in the glass for the Church. This is punishment to keep the protests at bay but also a punishment for Kristabelle and her magic. She is devastated by this abuse and yet she must protect her family at all costs.
Darius Castillo is her guard, and he has a secret. He knows all about Kristabelle's pain and plans on rescuing her at all costs. He belongs to a secret order that works for the Magus, the true head of the Church. They have heard rumors of these clerics and their twisted interpretation of church doctrine, and Darius is sent in undercover to ferret out the truth. He is trained in the way of the sword and is a little out of his element as an acolyte. He is entranced by Kristabelle, for her art as well as her beauty. He has seen the price she pays each time she takes a soul before it's time, and his horror knows no bounds.
As Darius comes clean with Kristabelle, and allows her to know his true nature, they are drawn together. She is very attracted to him and finds in him a strength that allows her to trust again. From the beginning their every touch burns bright. The magic of Kristobelle's power helps to build an unbreakable bond bringing them together as fate would decree. Their love is a powerful, physical force, each glance has meaning, and each touch is an exquisite fire, burning to the very depth of their souls. Darius is determined to find proof before it is too late to save her.
In Vermillion, Kathleen Scott has built a world of magic and religion. And as often happens both or often twisted in such a way that it is no longer recognizable as what is really is all about. In this world she has built a cast of characters that are truly unforgettable. You can feel the evil leaching from the clerics of Portamere, with their twisted and unnatural thinking. You can understand the hatred and dismay felt by the townspeople, as each of them lose family and friends to the etheralmancy. Their pain has focused their hatred in the wrong direction and the blame falls to Kristabelle. You can empathize with them at the same time you are championing Darius and Kristabelle, urging them to find the answers they need to put an end to the atrocities performed in the name of religion. There is both beauty and madness in this story, and both are right at the surface, ready to be brought forth.
Kristabelle is forced to work her magic on the town,s people of her home, in order to save her family. Many of those that she is forced to use her magic on, are well known to her. She is belittled by the clerics and spat upon by the townspeople. The souls she extracts are sealed in the stained glass of the Church as part of the process. She is lost and without hope.
Daruis is working undercover for the Magus, the head of the Church, trying to find out if the rumors leaking from the area are true. If they can find proof, the corrupted clerics will be arrested and the Church will regain its place. As the madness increases and the local clerics begin to use even more heathenish means to punish those who they feel are against them, the horror builds. It will be up to Kristabelle with her magic and Darius with his sword to determine who will win. Will they be in time to save the sanctity of the Church, and return the stolen souls to their rightful hosts?
This e-book was received through The Romance Reviews from the publisher. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.