First, let me say, if I could give Cardinal Sins by Lissa Kasey more than five stars I would do so in a heartbeat. Second, let me stress that this is not a standalone novel but should, really must, be read after its predecessor, Hidden Gem, as this is a sequel. Can you tell I’m excited—babbling, even? It’s true; if there could ever be a better book than Hidden Gem it would have to be this one! I was floored that this author could go on to create another couple who could so thoroughly captivate me, thrill me, and capture my heart utterly. Paris and Rain, huge sigh, are just as mesmerizing, if not more so, than Aki and Shane. So, without further fangirling, I give you my review of Cardinal Sins by Lissa Kasey and be forewarned there is material here that will draw on the first novel, so if you have not yet read Hidden Gem—stop now and grab that delightful novel up and then move on to this one—you will not be disappointed, I assure you.
Picking up where the first in the series left off, Aki is now living with Shane who has attempted to retire from the police force, but still does the more difficult jobs of chasing serial killers for them when needed. After having discovered that Aki is much more than a psi (a genetically engineered super human) and has the ability to sprout wings and fly, Shane and he are still grappling with Aki’s crippling headaches and memory loss. Theirs is now an exclusive relationship, due to Paris giving Shane Aki’s slave contract and ending the psi’s reputation as a top-notch whore for hire.
In the beginning chapters we enter the world where Paris resides as a Senator in the governing body of City M and we get a glimpse into his world. We discover that he is really a good guy, who admittedly trains those he saves from a life of slavery and turns them into high paid whores who have contracts that they can eventually work off and become free in their own right. While this sounds terrible, the alternate life these people face is horrific at best and in a society where most have been wiped out due to plague and war, the life of a high paid whore is actually a really good one. Paris is also a Dominant and trains the men he rescues in the role of either a submissive or a dominant. Currently he is overseeing the finishing touches on a better, bigger, pleasure resort and casino, which will be known as Cardinal Sins and boast only the finest whores to an expensive clientele.
When Aki has a vision of a boy in a lake, Paris goes to investigate and discovers an underwater aquarium of sorts where all types of fish reside that are obviously mutated and possibly the result of experimentation gone wrong. He also discovers a real life mermaid, or at least a man who appears to be so but is, in fact, a psi who has undergone genetic manipulation and has been left behind when the camp he was imprisoned in was left abandoned. Rain not only speaks a long dead language and thus is nearly impossible to communicate with, he also has been alone for so long his understanding of everything around him is limited at best. But there is something that attracts Paris to this mysterious waterman and before he can really begin to explore just what Rain is, Paris’ body succumbs to his long-lived childhood illness and the man realizes he is running on borrowed time.
To make the plot even more involved, a new strain of plague breaks out that seems to impact the A-M population most directly, sending Shane into quarantine as he physically breaks down with life threatening results. Now the race is on to save Shane and others, help Rain to acclimate to his new life, and keep Paris alive.
Phew—and believe me when I say that little synopsis barely scratches the surface of this incredible story! Cardinal Sins is amazing! Again we are visitors to an incredibly detailed post-apocalyptic world that author Lissa Kasey so lovingly creates. While this story followed several main and secondary characters through some fairly horrific circumstances, I was never lost or confused—this plot was woven together so impeccably that each new story line that was introduced fit seamlessly into the overall picture. The descriptive passages of the stages the plague took and the impact it had, particularly on those who shifted into other creatures as the A-m did, were so visceral and detailed I felt as though I was inside the room watching it all unfold.
In this novel we got to understand and know Paris and Candy just a little bit better and I must say that both were fully three-dimensional characters who captured the imagination completely. The new characters, Rain and Ivy, were folded into this family so readily the attraction felt by Paris and Candy for these new psi was completely natural and realistic.
Honestly I could go on and on here. My regard for this author just continues to grow and grow. Her outstanding story telling abilities really shine in this series and particularly in this new installment. Cardinal Sins by Lissa Kasey is an incredible novel of love and survival and I highly recommend it to you!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.