An edgy, modern-day Cinderella story, Maya Banks’ Fever is not for the faint of heart.
Here, Banks casts Cinderella as a homeless recovering addict named Bethany—pure
of spirit but failed by the foster care system. Instead of talking to mice and
singing to birds, Bethany draws men who take advantage of her trusting nature
to her side. Enter Jace Crestwell.
billionaire hotelier whose younger sister Mia entered into an illicit
relationship with his older business partner Gabe in Rush, book one of the Breathless
trilogy, Jace has all of the wealth, power, and good looks of a modern day
Prince Charming. Indeed, after sharing one steamy night with Bethany and his
best friend and erstwhile partner in debauchery Ash, Jace embarks upon a quest
to find the mysterious caterer who escaped his bed. Without a shoe in hand, he
tracks her down at a homeless shelter in Manhattan.
typical version of Cinderella, Jace and Bethany’s story would end here, happily
ever after, the princess rescued from her drudgery and transported to a new
life of luxury and ease. In Banks’ retelling, however, their story is only just
beginning. As fond of control and dominance as his business partners Gabe (book
1) and Ash (book 3), Jace is determined to provide for Bethany in every way he
can, even if that means taking over every aspect of her life. While he doesn’t
have a “red room of pain” in his apartment, Jace enjoys more than his fair
share of kink. Luckily, Bethany is not an unwilling participant.
Indeed, for all of its unabashed
romanticism, Fever shines most in its
more quotidian moments, as Bethany and Jace discuss the boundaries of their
relationship openly and honestly, neither judging the other for their pasts or
proclivities. Banks handles a delicate situation, the imbalance of power
between Bethany and Jace, with grace and skill. In less artful hands, the
relatively helpless Bethany ceding all control to a domineering man like Jace
would feel manipulative and forced. After all, Bethany essentially is given a
choice between continuing her life on the streets or entering into a relationship
where she loses herself but gains an opulent new lifestyle. Luckily, Banks
never allows Bethany to be truly powerless. She has a fierce hold over Jace,
and willingly allows him to take charge of her life in order to finally feel
safe and protected.
truly has it all—it’s a gritty fairy tale filled with moments of poignancy and
realism. Fans of Rush will welcome
the return of Gabe and Mia as they attempt to decide on a wedding date, and the
greater exploration of Jace’s unusual friendship with third business partner
Ash. Bethany and Jace have seriously steamy chemistry, and the refreshing
frankness of their relationship only makes Banks’ characteristically vibrant
love scenes sizzle more.
So, what is a modern day Cinderella
story? According to Fever, it’s one
with a little bit of realism, a little bit of fantasy, and a focus on a
refreshingly balanced partnership between equals who accept each other as they
are, kinks and all.