Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sharie Kohler: MOON CHASERS

Author:  Sharie Kohler
Plot Type:  SMR
Ratings:  V4, S5, H2
Publisher and Titles:  Pocket Star
      Marked by Moonlight (2009)
      Kiss of a Dark Moon (2008)
      To Crave a Blood Moon (2009)
      My Soul to Keep (2010)
     "Darkest Temptation," novella in Haunted by Your Touch (2010) (e-book, 2012)
      Night Falls on the Wicked (2011)
      A Soul So Wicked (2012)

     This post was revised and updated on 3/1/13 to include a review of the sixth book in the series, A Soul So Wicked. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the series, brief summaries of books 1-4, and a full review of book 5:

          BOOK 6:  A Soul So Wicked          
     This book tells the story of Darius, a lycan who has turned up in some of the previous books as a mysterious defender of the innocent—a rarity among the lycans. Darius has always hated his lycan self and has spent his long and violent life searching for the witch whose curse created the lycan race. As this book begins, he tracks her to an isolated cabin in Alaska where he imprisons her and tries to force her to revoke the curse. 

     When Darius breaks into her cabin, Tresa King is terrified of the furious lycan and believes that he will kill her. When she tries to explain that she can't unlock the curse, Darius doesn't believe her, and they are at an impasse until the cabin is attacked by an army of lycan hunters who plan to torture and kill Darius. The hunters allow Tresa to leave, but she can't let Darius die (because she's already attracted to him), so she creates a diversion and then takes off on her own mission—to stop a serial killer who is being possessed by the same demon who has possessed her for 2,000 years. 

     Here's Tresa's back story: Long ago—in 70 AD—when Tresa was mortal, the lord of the local castle (Marshan) killed her husband and grandmother and drowned her as a witch, but as she was dying, the demon Balthazer promised revenge against Marshan if she allowed him to possess her. Unfortunately for Tresa, she said "Yes" and has been periodically possessed by Balthazar ever since. What Balthazar did to fulfill Tresa's wish for revenge was to make Marshan the very first lycan. For 2,000 years, Tresa has had to live with the horrific knowledge that the creation of the villainous lycan race is all her fault. She would kill herself if she could, but if she does, Balthazar would be free to roam the earth in his corporeal form doing untold damage to the human race. At this point in Tresa's life, she is living in Alaska because demons are weaker in cold climates, making it easier for her to thrust Balthazar out when he comes to call.

     Tresa has been having dreams about a serial killer in San Vista (California, I think) who scatters rose petals around her victims before she tortures and stabs them to death. Tresa is sure that Balthazar has found a new witch who will do his bidding more cooperatively than she ever did, and she is determined to track that witch down and stop her. Of course, Darius escapes from the Hunters and follows her to San Vista where they agree to work together so that Tresa can stop the killings and Darius can meet Balthazar and, perhaps, get him to break the curse. Naturally, they also fall in lust/love almost immediately. The plot follows the couple as they gather clues, follow suspects, and eventually solve the case, but not before Tresa is put into a horribly dangerous situation.

     This story begins well, with two interesting lead characters and a compelling police-procedural horror plot. As the plot advances, the author dangles a prime suspect or two in front of us all the way through and then twists the plot at the end so that the killer's actual identity is relatively unpredictable. Both the killer's identity and motivation, though, come across as absurd—definitely not believable at all. 

     Unfortunately, the story breaks down at the end in a manner that I can't discuss in detail without a Spoiler. Let me just say that if Balthazer could accomplish his goal in the way that he describes it at the end of this story, why on earth didn't he do it centuries ago? Plus...the whole idea of Balthazar being able to possess two witches at the same time seems contrary to the series mythology. The contrived solution to Tresa's possession predicament is just as flaky as the resolution of Darius' lycan DNA situation as the author relies on a deus ex machina to resolve his problem—not a great ending at all. In conclusion, I'd have to call this the weakest novel in the series so far. Too bad, because Darius has been such a mysterious and powerful figure that he deserved a better story. 
     After their parents are killed by bloodthirsty lycans (werewolves), Gideon and Kit March devote their lives to hunting and executing lycans. In this world, lycans are all savage killers who are routinely executed by agents of the National Organization for Defense against Evolving and Ancient Lycanthropes (NODEAL), which prohibits females from becoming hunters.
     When NODEAL merges with a European lycan hunting group, Kit is told to stop hunting or be killed. The first two books follow Gideon and Kit through the steps of each one’s soul-mate romance as they battle both the evil lycans and the NODEAL bad guys who are trying to kill them both. Later books tell the love stories of other couples in this world.

          BOOKS 1 - 4          
     Marked by Moonlight tells Gideon’s story as he meets and mates with Claire, who has just been turned by a lycan bite. 

       Kiss of a Dark Moon follows Kit as she runs from NODEAL and falls for Rafe (half lycan-half human), who has been sent to kill her.

      To Crave a Blood Moon finds Sebastian (Rafe’s twin) in a lycan dungeon, where he rescues and then falls in love with Ruby, an empath.

      My Soul to Keep takes us to a different part of the lycan world, where demons and witches make life difficult for Sorcha, a dovenatu (half human and half lycan), and her soul mate Jonah, a demon hunter—also a dovenatu. 

     In the novella "Darkest Temptation," Lily is a recently turned lycan who mistakenly thinks that Luc is the alpha who bit her. When she attempts to kill him to save herself, he helps her acclimate to her new life and search for her real alpha. 

          BOOK 5:  Night Falls on the Wicked          
     In the fifth book, the heroine is Darby, a white witch. Her hero is Niklas, a lycan whose soul was saved from lycan madness when his mother, a white witch, made a deal with a demon to trade her soul for his. Niklas still has the ability—and need—to shift, but he does not suffer from the insatiable need to kill that overwhelms most lycans. 

     In this world, white witches are pursued by demons who want to possess their witchy human bodies. Several years ago, Darby attacked her BFF, Sorcha (heroine of the previous book), while under the influence of a demon. Fearful of further demon attacks, Darby has been living in the frigid climate of northern Canada in order to escape from the heat-loving demons, who can't maintain solid form when they are cold. She has been moving from town to town working as a waitress, traveling further and further north as the demons eventually find her. 

     Niklas comes to her current town in search of the murderous lycan pack whose alpha bit him ten years ago, causing him to turn lycan and indirectly leading to his mother's demonic possession. The lycan pack that Niklas is pursuing has been killing local humans for several weeks. When the alpha bites and turns a young girl under Darby's protection, she and Niklas go after him because in this world if they can kill the alpha before the first moon, the girl will go back to her normal human condition. Already attracted to one another, Darby and Niklas fall completely in love/lust as they search for the alpha. Before their adventure comes to a satisfying ending, each one must make a huge sacrifice for the other.

     This is a solid paranormal romance series that I always enjoy reading. Although the MOON CHASERS world is built around werewolves—a traditional creature in paranormal fiction—Kohler has given them a few inventive twists, with her dovenatu hybrids, demon-stalked witches, and anti-feminist NODEAL organization. The lead couple always has just enough tragic back story and angst to provide a compelling story with plenty of sexual tension.

No comments:

Post a Comment