Friday, April 16, 2010

REVIEW: Embrace the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy

ISBN 9780821779378
Series: Guardians of Eternity, Book 2
(c) April 2008, Zebra Books
Alexandra Ivy's website

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository

"A potent combination of danger and passion, friendship and betrayal"

Alexandra Ivy's writing has a way of sucking one in from the first page into the world she created and not letting go until the last page. Gripping with action and magic and interspersed with the sensuality of Viper's and Shay's romance, Embrace the Darkness is a potent combination of danger and passion, friendship and betrayal.

Lady Shay is half human and half Shalott demon, beautiful such that men lusted after her, but being a Shalott, her greater danger is from the vampires, who coveted her blood. In fact, her father was killed by a vampire who craved his blood. Thus, sparks fly and mistrust went deep when Viper, a vampire clan chief, saw her on the slave auction block and bought her.

Viper couldn't forget the beautiful half Shalott who saved his life. Intrigued and haunted by her, he searched for her and when the chance came, bought her to possess her as his own. However, he didn't bargain for the evil presence that sought to kill her or that he would risk his very life to keep her safe.

I love it when those protective male testosterone went into overdrive. Viper is almost as yummy as Jagr (Darkness Unleashed) with his long, silver hair. Especially when his protective instincts for Shay reared up, most especially when he even prepared to die to save her, his one regret being if he died, who will then protect her?  *good shiver*

Back to the physical, somehow, that was the image of Viper that stuck in my head--Slavic features with long, silver hair. Certainly, he may be more beautiful than Jagr, but Jagr struck the heart in a way Viper didn't. Though both have been tortured and Viper was even a slave once, we don't see this manifesting in Viper. It was as though his past had been wiped out, or even if he remembered his past, it was there in a dim corner of his mind, forever locked. Certainly, he conquered them, rising from the bottom of the ladder to the top, where he was no longer in a position to be bullied by anyone. Whereas Jagr showed his vulnerability in his centuries of solitude and when he was caged by the imp.

We also see that there's more to Shay than her blood or physical beauty. Being half human and half demon, she was considered her whole life as a mongrel, fitting into neither world. Strong and a warrior to the core, there's her hunger for female companionship--friends--and her insecurity at being unable to live up to the fierce warrior image of her Shalott ancestors. Yet, when courage was sorely needed, she had it in spades, fighting side by side with Viper. Truly remarkable.

I like that the story is bigger than Shay's and Viper's romance as we deal with vampire politics as well as in the greater demon world, with the werewolf packs struggling to be recognized and seeking to topple the vampires' Anasso (leader) from his thus-far undisputed position as the king of all the demons. I believe it would be better to read the entire Guardians of Eternity series in sequence, however, each book stands alone. I, for one, have no problems reading it out of sequence, as this is my second book after Darkness Unleashed (book 5).

By the way, it is also here that we are also introduced to Levet, the funny gargoyle who provided much needed comic relief! Abby and Dante from the first book also made cameo appearances, making me want to read their story. Certainly, it would be interesting to see how a vampire and a goddess managed to hook up together.

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository

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