I haven’t had the opportunity to read a lot of Thai authors. Piper J. Drake is a prolific romance author who frequently delves into the supernatural aspect of Romance. Her new book Wings Once Cursed and Bound appears to be her first foray into Thai mythology. What starts as an interesting retelling of The Red Shoes fairy tale, quickly becomes a compelling story of it’s own.
Peeraphan Rahttana is known to most of her American friends and coworkers as Punch. She is a dancer with a local theatre. One day at practice she notices two things. One is that a person who does not breath has entered the theatre. The other is a gorgeous pair of red shoes that seem to have been made just for her feet. The person is a vampire named Bennett who works for a secret organization that wants the shoes. When he arrives just in time to see Punch put the cursed shoes on her feet, he wraps himself in invisibility and waits for the end. Only, the end doesn’t come, and his supernatural senses tell him that the woman wearing the shoes can see him.
Punch can sense the pull of the shoes but she’s not a regular human being. Peeraphan is a kinnaree, the mythical winged creature of Thai legend. Not a lot is known about the kinnaree, and nobody else in Punch’s family has ever developed wings. But it seems that being a supernatural creature has afforded her some protection against the curse of shoes that normally dance their wearer to death. There’s no telling how long that protection will last, and so begins a wild adventure to rescue what might be the only living kinnaree in existence.
I really loved this story. I loved seeing a Thai American character in a modern-set story. It was very cool to see the way that the mythology of the kinnaree was integrated into the world of supernatural creatures who are more familiar to me. The character of Punch is delightful. Yes, she does need saving, but she works hard to save herself and to also save those around her. She is willing to do the hard things that need to be done in order to protect those around her. BUT she is also willing to let herself be carried and cared for when the circumstances call for her to be the one that is protected. Punch is willing to take orders and follow rules, but also is not afraid to make her voice heard and challenge the plans.
I didn’t love the way the romance played out in the book. I’m not much for “instalove” and this book definitely was that. But, in its defense, both characters also did a lot of thinking about what their attraction meant and how a relationship between them might play out. I just wish that there might have been a bit more to it than there was. The sex felt a bit rushed to me and I think that maybe this part of the story would have been better served by waiting until the next book in the series before moving things that far.
All in all, I think the story and characters are excellent. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series when it comes out. Unfortunately, that’s likely to be a long wait since this book doesn’t hit the bookshelves until next week. If you’re a supernatural romance reader, put this one on your plan to read list and maybe give it a pre-order too.