Monday, June 8, 2009

REVIEW: Dark Protector by Alexis Morgan

Series: The Paladins


Laurel Young is the Handler for the Paladins, a doctor in charge of facilitating the process of the Paladins' revival into the world after they have been "killed". Stepping beyond the bounds of doctor-patient, she started to fall in love with one of her patients, Devlin Bane.

Devlin Bane has died too many times to count, and the one thing that brought him back from the edge was the sight of Laurel. However, the last time he was "killed", the one who'd wielded the sword was not an Other (from another world), but human. Who would want him dead? Why?


Laurel Young is a gutsy woman who goes for what she wants, and she wants Devlin. However, she's also a professional at heart, and as a doctor and scientist, she cares for her patients by going the extra mile. As each Paladin dies and is revived, they are also slowly being stripped of their humanity. Hence, when she noted that Devlin's progress seems to be slowing and stabilizing, she seeks to find the reason that the other Paladins may be helped.

Devlin Bane is masculine and protective of Laurel, and he knows early on that what he feels for the good doctor is not merely desire. However, I like how the author depicts this progression in a believable manner.

The tension between the two is smokin' hot, and I like Devlin's declaration of love--believable and sincere. I do wonder, though, why is it that heroes tend to be depicted as a playboy before they met the heroine. Does having a lot of women in the past equals being a good lover equals a bad boy image equals more women readers? *scratches head* Maybe the thought of seeing such a bad boy tamed by a worthy heroine drew women to the book. *shrugs* As for me, it doesn't matter, one way or the other. Here's a yummy, celibate hero that drew me just fine.

The pacing of the story is fine, as the romance is coupled with suspense and action. Suspense as to the villain, who might also target Laurel in a bid to draw Devlin out, and action as the Paladins fought with the Other. There's also a surprising twist at the end that I didn't see coming. I foresee inte
rspecies coupling.
Another thing I like was how the author avoided the "big misunderstanding" scene. Laurel is an intelligent young woman, being a doctor, and so of course, she wouldn't have misunderstood, although any insecure woman would have doubts upon hearing those words. But if said insecure woman had thought further, considering the situation, then she shouldn't have misunderstood. If she did, then she's a fool and not deserving of Devlin Bane.

Though the author did present a resolution of some sort, she didn't reveal the reason the enemy sought Devlin's death in the first place. It's obvious that the mystery would continue in the next few books. I don't usually mind such series continuity, but what I don't understand is why Devlin ceased to be a target in the next book. What lowered his being seen as a threat? Is it because his story has been told (and is therefore finished)? Or is it because the mystery is merely an author mechanism, and since the next book focuses on another Paladin, then of course, he should be the new target?

Book Rating: 4 stars

Friday, June 5, 2009

REVIEW: King of Sword and Sky by C. L. Wilson

Series: Tairen Soul series


This book continues from Lady of Light and Shadows. Rain and Ellie have wed, and they now travel to the Fading Lands to keep Ellie safe behind the mists, as someone wanted to do her harm. Ellie learns that the tairen kits are dying, and she has to save them, else, the fey will die with the tairen.


I wish I could just say "great book!" and the review would be done. It is in fact a great continuation from Book 2, and I kept turning the page, wishing the story would never end. Happy that there's a 4th book to look forward to, but sad that I'd have to wait a few more months!

Here, Ellie learns more of the fey and their land, and she's met fey who like her and who don't like her. The tairen, however, like her, and even name her, when they wouldn't name Rain's former mate. She also binds a few more men to her, when she wipes away the weight on their souls, the way she did for Bel and Gaelen. She reasons out that this may save them in the coming war, and she continues to save more despite the toll on her and on Rain.

Tairen are possessive creatures, and though Rain knows with his mind the rationale behind Ellie's actions, he can't stand the jealousy as he watches men touch his beloved. Oh yes, Rain finally knows that he loves Ellie (not just because of the true mate bond) and he confesses as much in the previous book. In the course of this book, we see Ellie change from acting on her own to acting as part of a couple later in the book when she decides to consult Rain on an important matter and to abide by his decision.

We also see that the fey learn more about Ellie's history, that she really is fey (not just half fey, or half Eld) but the identity of her parents elude them. I want to see a reunion between Ellie and her parents, and I want to see Rain's (and the other fey's) reactions when they learn just who Ellie's parents are. And I will curse the author and I will feel cheated if her parents died in Eld without Ellie and the fey knowing who her parents are.

The High Mage has also gotten "badder", with more powerful weapons at his disposal. I do wonder how the fey will beat them in the next book. I'll say it again, I'm waiting with impatience for Queen of Song and Souls. I anticipate a great read, based on the last three books.

Book Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

REVIEW: Lady of Light and Shadows by C. L. Wilson

Series: Tairen Soul series


The story continues from where Lord of the Fading Lands ended. Ellysetta Baristani continues with her devotions, a necessary Celierian ritual which is the prelude to the actual wedding. Meanwhile, Rain courts the Celierian king and powerful lords to his cause --to maintain the closure of the Eld borders with Celieria, as his gut feel tells him the Eld mean nothing but evil intentions toward the Celierians in the supposed trade agreement they sent the king for negotiations.


This book is a powerful continuation to the story started in Lord of the Fading Lands, fleshing out the situation in Celieria and culminating in a strong conclusion at the end. If the two books had been combined into one, I wouldn't have experienced the I-was-cheated feeling when I finished reading Book 1.

Here, the mystery of Ellie's identity and background deepened as she was able to do great feats that even the greatest living trained shei'dalin wasn't able to do. What I like most was that Ellie finally came into her own toward the end, and it was a pleasure to see her transformation into the woman that she had the potential to be.

The author introduced another character--Gaelen vel Serannis, and I like his wicked, playful manner, especially when he teased the young fey who thought he had nothing to offer them, not even battle tactics, all because he had fallen to the dark side. When fey men killed, the souls of the victims will weigh on their own souls and continue to accumulate until such time when darkness consumed them. Then, they have the choice of an honorable death (suicide) or going to the dark side and being exiled from the Fading Lands forever.

Rain was devastated when he learned something repulsive about Ellie (repulsive to him because he's fey), and his reaction was believable, though it brought great sorrow and distress to Ellie. He did make up for it at the end, but I felt he should've groveled more.

Overall, I love the book, which is a magical blend of fantasy, suspense and romance.

Book Rating: 4 stars

Monday, June 1, 2009

REVIEW: Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

Series: Tairen Soul series

Author Website contains lots of information about the world, the people of the series. Check it out!


Desperate to save his land and his people, Rainier vel'En Daris, Lord of the Fading Lands, went to Celieria, even though the place brought him nothing but grief and terrible memories of the slaying of his heart mate and where he, in his madness, almost razed the world with his tairen fire. He never expected to find salvation in the form of Ellysetta Baristani, the woman who called out to his soul, his true mate. But who is Ellysetta Baristani? How could this mortal woman call to him, when a true mate bond--the highest form of bonding--can only occur between unmated immortal feys?


I love love love this book. Why? Let me break it down for you.

The world that the author created is fantastic, with rich details and back history on the mortals and immortals who mix and live together in the same world, complete with humans, feys and elves. The story is full of intrigue and politics and jealousy, and we have a truly evil villain that you'll love to hate. You don't see much of him yet in this book, but wait till the next two books.

The fey men are tall and handsome and powerful. Not just powerfully built (their main mode of travel is by running! and they're not even winded after going on for long distances), but excellent warriors (they spend hundreds of years in training) and powerful in terms of the magic they can summon to their hands. The fey women are beautiful and good and full of compassion, the very base of their healing art. The men are intensely protective of their women, and the sole reason they trained so hard is to be judged worthy enough to protect a shei'dalin (fey women who can heal) when she leaves the Fading Lands, like when she's requested to perform healing on people who live in other nations. Many times throughout the book, I wish I were fey. You don't see that kind of men anywhere here, certainly! be honest, I can't imagine a guy named Rain. I look at the cover art and he doesn't look like a Rain, but that's a personal bias. I thought it would be better if his full name--Rainier--were used all throughout instead. Anyway, Rain is a great hero--tortured, loyal, protective. I think he didn't dare accept Ellie at the start, because he didn't want to replace Sariel, his heart mate whom he loved, and I think he couldn't believe he could have a true mate. That's because he's a Tairen Soul and Tairen Souls don't have true mates. Why? If I tell, it would be a spoiler, so I'll leave it to you to discover, though I'm dying to say why.


It's because to be true mates, each party must be the equal of the other in every way, and that's all I'm saying.


Rain does have to exert effort to court Ellie, as per fey custom and win her over so that she would bond with him and thereby complete their true mate bonding. Ellie, however, resists the bond, because she had secrets that she didn't want Rain to know, because she was afraid he would be repulsed by her should he know. The true mate bond would enable your mate's thoughts to be your own, so that it's like talking in your head and knowing all your deepest secrets. But Rain is determined to win Ellie and save his people, and there's nothing more sexy than a guy who's determined to have you (that is, if you want him too).

Ellysetta, on the other hand, is sweet and young and timid, and in this book, quite passive. She is described as having orange hair, which is unusual, and is the object of ridicule by the people she knows (except for her family). The one thing that stands out about her is that she's very kind, and she's scared of what she perceived as something evil that is in her that she tries very hard to keep imprisoned. I find she didn't have much personality, and this is something that bothered me in this book.

The pacing of the book is slow at times, but there are enough exciting parts to make up for it. There's also a running mystery throughout the series as to Ellie's real identity. The presence and wickedness of the villains and their villainous acts make the danger real, and I just can't help but to keep on turning the page to know what happened next or to unravel another small mystery. In view that I've already read the next two books, this is a very well-plotted series, and the way the author hands out the pieces to the readers make for a very engaging and addicting read.

This book is the first in a series of four, which tells the complete story. It is better to read it in sequence: Lord of the Fading Lands, Lady of Light and Shadows, King of Sword and Sky, and Queen of Song and Souls. When I finished Lord of the Fading Lands, I felt slightly cheated, because it was very obvious to me that the story isn't finished. There are a lot of loose threads left hanging. If this were marketed as a fantasy book (and not a romance, which seems to have a maximum word or page count), the four books would be packaged as one into one big tome, like the Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey, which reached approximately 1,000 page per book (depends on the edition you're holding). Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book enough that I quickly went to get the next two books and am looking forward to the last and fourth installment. A keeper, this book deserves a special place on shelves. I will certainly read this book over and over.

Book Rating:
 4 stars
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