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Betrayed    by Jaime Leigh Hansen order for
by Jaime Leigh Hansen
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After nine life cycles and just as many violent deaths at the hands of her sworn enemy, Kalyss has one more chance to get it right. The only problem is that she doesn't know it yet. Then two immortals arrive in her life, each man with his own uncompromising agenda. Geoffrey is desperate to set right his betrayal of his master Dreux, while Kai is determined to finally destroy his hated brother and the woman who has haunted both men for close to a millennium.

As events from her past lives begin to coalesce in Kalyss's mind and her suppressed gifts emerge, so do memories of the only man she's ever loved. But when she finds him in an abandoned church, he's as unattainable as ever, trapped in his prison of stone by an ancient curse. As she gazes into the tormented features of the medieval warrior, Kalyss has no idea that for the past nine hundred years, Dreux has suffered in silence. A curse has left his body frozen in time, yet able to see and hear everything around him - including his beloved's failed attempts to resurrect him - and then, inevitably her brutal deaths at the hands of his brother Kai. When her kiss finally shatters his prison of stone, Dreux knows that events will play out much differently this time. His timid bride of old is no more; she's been replaced by a bold, independent incarnation who's willing to fight for her life as well as his. But can he restore her shattered trust long enough to break the curse once and for all and finally grant them the happiness they've been denied for almost a thousand years?

Betrayed stands out from the current crop of often-derivative paranormals as Hansen builds an inventive mythology around the concept of reincarnation, with fallen angels and other entities playing an important role in the story arc. Wisely, the author limits religious context as well as how much these entities are allowed to influence humans and their decisions. She has also created two very complex and engaging leads in Kalyss and Dreux, as well as an intensely wrenching, yet very believable love story that transcends centuries. Rich and evocative prose, equally complex secondary characters, a clever use of flashbacks, and plenty of unanswered questions round out this riveting story. Betrayed is an impressive debut for Jaime Leigh Hansen and a must read for paranormal fans looking for something fresh and thought provoking.

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