Date of Publication: October 21st, 2022
Genre: Fantasy, Romance. Dark Fantasy
Series: Newborn City
Affinity for Pain—Book 1
Purchase Links: Kindle | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks
Perfect for fans of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Keri Lake’s
Nightshade, Affinity for Pain is a dark paranormal romance that is steamy,
action-packed, and full of emotional intrigue.
Hope Turner is the ideal human-hunting assassin, and she is damn good at her job. A daughter of the Chakal, a race of hybrid demons lacking physical sensation and
emotion, Hope was always brutally efficient in her work. She never struggled with a case, that is, until she was assigned to take down Ciaran O-Connor – a stubborn,
strong-willed bodyguard with a dark past and severe PTSD.
He also happens to be her soulmate.
When the omaeriku – an inescapable soulmate bond – takes hold of her, Hope is hit with a wave of emotion and physical sensation for the first time in her life. Finding herself unable to kill Ciaran and ending up on her former boss’s hit list, Hope and Ciaran must escape into hiding. Immediately, the chemistry between Hope and Ciaran is electric. However, they must try to direct their focus on finding a way to take down Marcus Dentry, their newfound common enemy, who was both Hope’s former boss and Ciaran’s former captor and torturer.
However, as they spend more time together and succumb to their physical desire for each other, the newfound emotion and pain brought forth by the soulmate bond begin to overwhelm Hope. Can Hope learn to handle her sudden emotions, both the good and the bad, before it drives her away from the only person who can make her feel? And can Hope and Ciaran track down Marcus and exact their revenge before he gets to them first?
Inspired by the works of authors like Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman, Affinity for
Pain is a great next read for smut-lovers seeking a romance that includes action,
intimate vulnerability, and electric chemistry. Click “Add to Cart!” today!
“And now I’m late. Ugh. This guy better die quick.”
Affinity for Pain by R.E. Johnson
One of my guilty pleasures is reading books that contain a lot of smut and have the tropes of fated mates. Yes, I am one of those people who read those werewolf smut snippets on Facebook (come on, you know you did it!!). So, when I read the blurb for this book, I was immediately intrigued. Not because it has werewolves (spoiler, it doesn’t) but because it was the same kind of book, except it has demons. So, how could I say no? Well, this book was a lot darker than those snippets. Not that I didn’t enjoy it (I did), but this book might not be the right fit for most people.
Now, saying that, I am going to put the trigger warning up front. I am not easily shocked (by anything in life). But the triggers in this book shocked me. Some things discussed in the book took me by surprise, and some (to be frank), disgusted me. So, here are the trigger warnings, and there might be a spoiler or two in there (sorry!!) This book contains cursing (a lot of foul language), explicit sex that includes kink (some BSDM, praise, and first time), torture (graphic), sexual assault (on a male), discussion of past trauma related to male sexual assault and captivity, kidnapping, combat, gun fights, mentions of suicide, and pregnancy. If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading the book. As I said, I am not easily shocked, but this book shocked me. I took the trigger warnings directly from the author’s website.
Affinity for Pain is the first book in the Newborn City series. Because it is the first book in the series, you don’t need to read another book to catch up on what’s happening. There is a website (see the paragraph above) where you can see trigger warnings, the book synopsis, a glossary, and the characters. I found it very helpful as a reference while writing this review.
Affinity for Pain had a dark but exciting plotline. Set in the fictional city of Newborn City in New York, this fast-paced book is centered around Hope Turner, a Chakal demon assassin, and Ciaran O’Connor, an ex-underground fighter who escaped the demons who kidnapped and tortured him. Hope has been hired to assassinate Ciarian. She is chosen because she always gets the job done. But once Hope sees Ciaran, she realizes she has bonded to him, which is called an omaeriku. With her race, it is a cherished bond, but she doesn’t want it. Unfortunately for her, it has happened, and she can’t kill Ciaran. As the bond intensifies and Hope experiences pain for the first time, she becomes overwhelmed. She channels everything into finding Marcus, her ex-boss and Ciaran’s ex-captor. Will they find Marcus? Will they be able to defeat him? Will the bond stay intact?
The author created complex characters for this book. There were so many layers; I feel she didn’t even show everything and kept some layers under wrap for the next book.
- Hope—I liked her. A bit of background here, she is a Chakal demon. Hope is a successful assassin because she lacks pain and wants to keep it that way. The females of her race cannot feel pain until they meet their soul mate. But once she sees and realizes that Ciaran is her soulmate, she goes back and forth if she wants to be with him. The best way to get rid of the bond is to kill him. But she didn’t; instead, she forced herself to embrace the one thing she didn’t want. I was a little confused by that but hey, her fictional life. I will say that she was loyal, and once she decided to trust someone, she had their back. Overall, she was a solid character.
- Ciaran—Holy crap, where do I begin with this guy. He was kidnapped and forced to fight in an underground gladiator arena against other demons. He was also Marcus’s special pet (use your imagination, shudder). He was instrumental in escaping and burning the club where he was being kept captive. And because of that, he has severe PTSD and intimacy issues. My heart broke for him. When he came to New York, he was full of wonder and wanted to see the world. Instead, well read above. He was a lethal killer. His time in the ring made sure of that. I wanted to ship him back to Ireland, get him into therapy, and let him heal.
- Marcus—He was one of the evilest characters I have ever read. Yes, I know he was a demon, but he took evil to a new level. The things he did to Ciaran were unspeakable. I was left shaking after certain events in the book because I wanted to hurt him.
The secondary characters in Affinity for Pain were just as well written as the main ones. But, the author left a lot to the imagination. Dimitri is who I am talking about. I couldn’t figure out his deal except that he was loyal to Ciaran. Even the type of demon Dimitri was wasn’t talked about. All I knew was that he was from Russia, a demon with extraordinary power (he used that twice), and that was it. It made me want more!!!
Affinity for Pain is a very dark paranormal romance. It fit very well in the paranormal category. I loved the backstory of how the author introduced the demons to the world. It was fascinating, and I can’t wait to see what other kinds of demons are out there. As for the romance angle, I was a little iffy on that. It was an Instalove situation (fated mate bond). I am not a fan of Instalove. But in this case, it worked. I also felt that there was no work to the romance. It jumped from the bond to sex, sex, and more sex.
The storyline with Hope, Ciaran, and their bond was interesting. I liked how the author explained how the Chakal demons society worked. It was interesting to see a male-dominated society with its own Gods and rules. The only thing I disagreed with was forced breeding. But the author didn’t spend much time on that. I did like how Hope and Ciaran worked together. She was also good for his PTSD and wasn’t judgemental when he finally told her about what happened to him while kidnapped.
The storyline with Ciaran, Marcus, Ciaran’s kidnapping, and his ultimate journey for revenge was heartbreaking. I will warn you; it does get graphic. Marcus does some awful things to Ciaran, and the author doesn’t sugarcoat it.
The end of Affinity for Pain was interesting. I say interesting because of what happened and how everything was resolved or not resolved. I will not get into it, but I look forward to seeing what book 2 brings with Hope and Ciaran. I also hope that Dimitri and Reddina are featured more. I want to know more about him and her.
I would recommend Affinity for Pain to anyone over 21. There is graphic violence, graphic language, and graphic sexual situations. Also, see the trigger warnings at the beginning of the review.
I want to thank R.E. Johnson and Novel Cause for allowing me to read and review Affinity for Pain. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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