Cover of Fortuna Sworn: A woman with a swirling gauzy gown stands with her hands outstretched amid a forest.

About the Book

Title: Fortuna Sworn (Fortuna Sworn #1)
Published: 2018
Series: Fortuna Sworn
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

First Impressions: Project Runway
What’s Your Type?
Bloodthirsty faeries, protective sister will do anything to save her brother, forced marriages of convenience, bonded connections, frequent use of the word “mate”, misunderstood faerie lords
The Lean:
Love Triangle Blues
We Need to Talk:
Scratching That Fae Itch
Was It Good For You?
Striptease

Content WarningDepictions of abuse and a non-consensual relationship between secondary characters

First Impressions: Project Runway

I am seriously digging that dress! I like the painted portrait style of the Fortuna in her Fae outfits, and I am curious if we’re seeing Fortuna’s real face, or the one I want to see…

What’s Your Type?

  • Bloodthirsty faeries
  • Protective sister will do anything to save her brother
  • Forced marriages of convenience
  • Bonded connections
  • Frequent use of the word “mate”
  • Misunderstood faerie lords

Dating Profile

Fortuna is a Nightmare living in the human world. But, like, literally, she’s a Nightmare: one of the last remaining of this type of Fallen; a creature with the ability to manipulate your deepest fears at a touch. She’s been pretty alone since her parents were murdered in their bed when she was a child, and her brother, Damon, disappeared two years ago without a trace.

Collith is a real MLF: Mysterious Loner Faerie. He’s a Fae of few words but many deep, meaningful glances.

Meet Cute

Fortuna has been kidnapped by some magic hunters who want to sell her, and it’s there in her cage that she meets Collith, a handsome and mysterious Fae who “accidentally” drops the cage key near her before disappearing. Once Fortuna has gotten back to her normal life—an empty house and her waitressing job—Collith reappears with a tantalizing offer: he knows where her missing brother is being held and he’ll take Fortuna there to rescue him.

The only catch? The rescue is NOT going to be easy, and Collith requires Fortuna’s hand in marriage in order to protect her and also so she can help him with his own undisclosed issues. Fortuna will do anything for the little family she has left, so she slips on her jeans and plaid shirt and marries a Faerie in the woods. Once he takes her to the underground kingdom of the Unseelie, well, that’s when things begin to go crazy…

The Lean: Love Triangle Blues

From While You Were Sleeping, Bill Pullman explains attraction to Sandra Bullock

Fortuna has a secret she’s had all her life: when she sleeps, she goes to a dream world where her BFF, Oliver, lives. She’s convinced he’s a creation she’s dreamed up to help her cope with her painful life, but he feels super real, and he’s grown up with her in all sorts of (sexy) ways. They share a pure love, but how can you be with someone who is only a dream?

Collith, on the other hand, is definitely alive and corporeal, and despite her reservations, Fortuna is more than attracted to his lean, toned visage. But he’s withheld information from her, and fails to prevent a certain event from happening that makes Fortuna mistrust his intentions. They have a good “where is this all going?” vibe I appreciated.

Dirty Talk

I’d give the book an R rating—there’s some saucy bits, but it doesn’t get overly explicit:

He gripped my wrists in one while the other hand went under my shirt. It skimmed up my torso, to my breast, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. Our kiss never broke. Already I could feel Oliver between my thighs, hard and ready.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

Collith’s gaze dropped, taking note of this fact. At a leisurely pace, his hand dipped into the water, where he abandoned the sponge, and then his fingers trailed back to the point they’d started at. They skimmed along my collarbone. Down the column of my throat.
A sensation spread through me, as though someone was running the tip of a feather over every inch of skin. There was no denying it―I wanted him.

We Need To Talk: Scratching That Fae Itch

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a Faerie stan, although I feel like I’ve read enough Fae books now that perhaps I’m lying? There’s something darkly attractive about the beautiful, twisted world of such inhumanly cruel people, although I think anyone who willingly wants to spend time there may be a bit whackadoodle. Fortuna isn’t there for fun but rather out of a sense of duty, and some part of me was torn between telling her to let Collith in so he could help her and telling her to run far, far away.

Partway through I realized that there were some elements of Fortuna’s story that reminded me of SJM’s A Court of Thorn and Roses series: the multiple tests to prove her worth Fortuna had to face, a “mate” who is not how they initially appeared, a heroine willing to sacrifice for her family, etc. As that is an extremely popular series, I think that reading Fortuna Sworn can help scratch an itch for readers who’ve been looking to recapture that romantic-laced fantasy magic. There are at least five other novels planned for Fortuna’s journey and this book certainly felt like the beginning of much more to come.

Was It Good For You? Striptease

Stephen Colbert happily licking a red lollipop

Like Colbert, the sexy lollipop teased me at times: I could have used more sexual-tension-y moments between Collith and Fortuna instead of Fortuna being on her own so often. But I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of the Faerie underworld, so I expect more of that is to come in future installments. I anticipate Oliver will become a bigger wrinkle in Fortuna and Collith’s burgeoning relationship, and while, personally, a love triangle isn’t always what I’m looking for (there were also some hints, I felt, of another [not spoiling] person who Fortuna may have more-than-friendly feelings towards??), I’d be willing to give the second book (already out now!) a try.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from the author. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Fortuna Sworn is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.