I really liked this series when it started out, since I was fans of Lackey's Serrated Edge series and I also like historical fiction with twists. The Guardian Sidhe plot line combined with the era of the Tudors seemed like an excellent idea. However, sorry to say, the believability of the novels seem to have gone downhill since This Sceptr'd Isle. In Isle and in Ill Met By Moonlight, Denoriel and Aleniel are presented as trusted friends, protectors, and advisors. Denoriel, especially, is shown to be a father-figure to both Harry and Elizabeth. Makes sense, since he is after all, centuries older, wiser, and is possessed of the Sidhe's love for children.
Which is why I was shocked when Lackey and Gellis decided to present him as Elizabeth's lover, of all things. To me, this just doesn't work. It's absurd to have a man, or elf if you prefer, go from raising a child to suddenly seeing that same child as a potential love interest. Yes, I know Denoriel is unbelievably hot and sexy, but STILL. And the reasoning given, that in order to protect Elizabeth from being attracted to Thomas Seymour, she needs another lover to distract her, and Denoriel is conveniently available and can't get her pregnant, plus she has stirrings of puppy-love for him . . .no this is just ridiculous. They would have done better to go with the original historical line that Elizabeth disliked Thomas Seymour since she saw him only as a stepfather, with Denoriel protecting her the way a father or brother would have. The teenage Elizabeth, from all the biographies, was not the type to have casual affairs with men at ANY age, she valued her autonomy too greatly and she knew that once a man gets a woman in bed, back then it was seen as a powerplay, which was why she always avoided such things. Also she hated marriage because of the dangers it presented to a woman, witness her mother and Henry VIII, because it gave total control to the man. Saying she would never marry because she could have her Sidhe lover and thus never miss out on sex or have to worry about commitment doesn't fit the image of Elizabeth that I know. And what about Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's great unrequited love? He barely gets a mention, Elizabeth is so preoccupied with Denno. Unless they're going to bring him up in the next book and say that the reason Elizabeth was able to resist him for so many years was because she loved Denoriel. Spare me! All in all the whole Elizabeth-Denno affair seemed tawdry and cheap to me instead of tender and loving. It would have made better sense for him to have fallen in love with Elizabeth once she was queen and Dudley had married her cousin Lettice, then she would have been looking at him as a woman who has known love and loss, not as a starry-eyed adolescent. I felt it also diminished the very real danger Seymour's advances caused her reputation, since there was no chance she might respond to them and jeopardize herself, the way there was in actual history. It would have been better if there HAD been a chance, then the book would have had some tension and Denoriel would have been tested as to how he could protect his charge without revealing himself and the whole scene of questioning at the end would have been a lot more dramatic. Yes, i know this is alternative history, but I think Lackey did a much better job with her other series, alternate Venice in Shadow of the Lion and This Rough Magic.