Expected Release Date: September 2011
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Author’s Website: http://lynnrush.wordpress.com/
My Source for This Book: Gift from the author
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Warm
Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.
The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.
David Sadler, a half-human/half-demon bound into servitude by his mother’s contract with Lucifer, has just been dumped into a viper’s den of temptation — a popular dance club in Arizona. Having spent 50 years in unimaginable torture followed by almost 200 years in a sensory deprivation chamber as punishment for failing to bring his Master his last Mark, David knows that he must bring back his newest Mark, Jessica, no matter what the cost. More than that, however, he knows that he cannot give into his carnal lusts without fully transforming into a demon and forever losing any humanity he ever had. Thrown into this world of scantily clad, writhing females, David is overwhelmed by all of the decadent sensory overload of the modern world, but is determined to ignore these tempting distractions.
David quickly begins to suspect that his Master dropped straight into this pit of temptation in an effort to force him to finally give into his Demon — in doing so, he would fully transform into his Demon half, permanently losing all of his humanity. More importantly, however, he would also lose the immortality granted to him by the contract his mother entered into all those centuries ago.
Knowing that he’s racing to find his Mark before the Guardians — warriors for the Light — can reach her first, he attempts to focus solely on his mission yet nevertheless finds himself completely captivated by Beka — the oh-so-delicious co-owner of the bar who immediately returns David’s instant infatuation. Not only is he drawn to her beauty and innate sensuality, but also to the purity he can sense in her very being.
When it becomes apparent that not only is Beka pure of heart, but that she’s also Guardian paired with her brother in the search for the same girl that David is seeking, David’s suspicion that Jessica is not merely another Mark wanted by his Master is confirmed — she has been prophesied to be a powerful asset to the Light in the ongoing war to suppress the Dark, but only if the Guardians can get to her first.
Soon, the war erupts, with different sides vying not only for Jessica’s capture, but for David’s very soul.
What Worked For Me:
- I adored the premise. David was sold by his mother into perpetual slavery to a powerful Demon before he was even born, and cannot give into carnal lust (aka has to remain a virgin) in order to avoid transforming fully into a demon himself. As a half-blood, he is actually more powerful than his Master because it is impossible to behead him — the only way to truly kill a demon. Once he fully transforms, however, he will lose this protection, which of course adds an extra incentive for him to keep his pants on, as difficult as it may be.
- I really liked the first person POV. That, to me, is probably the hardest POV to pull off well, but Ms. Rush did a wonderful job in allowing the reader to feel David’s emotions and motivations while still allowing other characters to develop as they should.
- I also enjoyed the fact that nothing was ever as it initially seemed. Beka wasn’t just a Guardian, and Jessica wasn’t a simple mark as David had first been led to believe. David, of course, wasn’t simply a half-breed demon, and his demon Master had secrets of his own as well. There were some terrific twists thrown at David throughout the novel, adding a delightful edge of suspense to the story.
- The action sequences were very intense. There was one scene early on that I especially enjoyed, where Beka’s hatred for demonkind and her desire to protect her ward overcame even her natural sense of self-preservation, and was one of the most incredible scenes of the entire book.
- The pacing was incredibly fast, which added a great sense of urgency to everything. David’s Master was anxious to get his hands on Jessica, other demons were added into the mix, the Guardians had to quickly choose whether or not to align themselves with David, and so forth, which kept me engaged as a reader.
- I really liked that Ms. Rush wasn’t afraid to kill off main characters. No spoilers, but suffice it to say that not everyone is there to witness any victories that may arise in the end.
- I really enjoyed the ending as well, where the title dimension came into play.
- As a New Adult book, I could appreciate the warm sensuality that never quite crossed the line into PG-13. Plenty of kisses, a few soft caresses, and a very tame topless moment or two were just enough to emphasize David and Beka’s attraction to each other, without using sex to move along the plot.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- At the very beginning, David made the observation that he didn’t think Beka was a “normal” human because she spoke in the same old fashioned manner that he did. However, as the story progressed, they both flip-flopped between what I would consider to be contemporary speech patterns and old fashioned ones, which really took away from the idea that they were both centuries old. Beka, especially, needed to retain the old-fashioned speech patterns for at least several chapters longer, in my opinion, because of David’s early observation. David could be more easily forgiven for the change because he was still adapting to being out of solitary confinement for so long, so it would be logical that his speech patterns would progress from an older style into a more modern one as he acclimated himself to his new environment.
- Clocking in around 80k words, the book was a bit on the long side. It wasn’t the word count persay, but merely the sheer volume of action — despite my engagement in the events of the book, the constant battle sequences were almost exhausting. While I definitely appreciated that things were never boring, it seemed as though the reader and characters both barely had a second to breathe before yet another horde of demons was attacking the group, complete with slashing claws, sword fights, decapitations, kidnappings, and violent beheadings.
Readers should be aware going into this that it is a “New Adult” or “Upper YA” book, and as such has very little sensuality other than some kissing and a tiny bit of touchy-feely action. There is also a distinctly “young” feel to this book despite all the explicit violence. Many of the characters make rash decisions that seemed more immature than their true ages would account for, and the incredibly speedy development of the “love” between David and Beka felt more like youthful infatuation than a deeper emotion.
I personally loved the premise of this story. David is an incredibly tortured hero, both literally and figuratively, and the whole idea of having been “out of the loop” so to speak for over two hundred years gave the story a wonderful “time travel” vibe — David must not only avoid the temptation to give into his demon’s lusts and lose his humanity forever, but he must also accustom himself to the massive changes that society has undertaken in the time he’s been gone. Sexuality has become open and casual, women’s clothing has all but disappeared in the desert environment, and the speech patterns are all but impossible for him to understand and blend in with.
I also greatly appreciated that not only was David a virgin hero (which I adore in romance novels), but that losing his virginity would literally mean losing his humanity.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the first-person POV in this story, because it allows you to really get into David’s head and experience his confusion, anger, lust, and even hopelessness as though it were actually happening to you.
However, in the end, for me it all came down to the overwhelming number of battle sequences. I think with some very judicious editing, the overall length of the novel could be pared down to a more mainstream length, and each of the battle sequences could have so much more impact than they do now. While constant fights between the Guardians, David, and the other demons certainly helped to maintain not only the fast-paced thrill of the story but also to emphasize the incredible amount of danger that they were all in at any given time, I think that with so much carnage that I as a reader became desensitized to the importance and excitement of each individual skirmish. Swords, claws, wings, teeth, daggers and even magic were often brought into the fray, but as exciting as each of those factors were, eventually the fights simply began to lose their impact.
There are several fight scenes that I can recall off the top of my head that were absolutely incredible and deserved to have a spotlight in the story. One fight in particular rather early on (that I can’t specify as it would be a major spoiler) was a definite turning point in the novel, but unfortunately, it almost got lost in the shuffle due to the constant barrage of altercations, and that was disappointing as a reader. As a result, it lost a full star from my final rating.
In spite of this, however, I did enjoy it. David was intriguing, and I couldn’t help but be enthralled by the idea of a man, given into the service of evil by his own mother, who desperately wants to hold on to the last shred of humanity he owns no matter what the personal cost. The sweet love that blossomed between David and Beka was a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness, despite the speed of their initial connection, and the determination to fight against darkness and temptation was wonderful.
In the end, this book is recommended for fans of tortured heroes battling against harrowing odds to ensure that good will prevail, of destined lovers refusing to let the obstacles in their paths slow them down, and of accepting yourself, flaws and all, in order to embrace redemption.
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