Plot Type: SMR
In one of the early scenes, the mages kidnap Kara, the Ferals' Radiant and mate of their leader, Lyon, and the rest of the story is devoted to their attempts to rescue her. When the Ferals learn that Castin may have been involved in Kara's kidnapping, Melisande is determined to track him down and kill him—slowly and painfully. Since Fox and Melisande are assigned to the same search team, there's plenty of time for him to wear down her resistance and get her to admit that she is just as attracted to him as he is to her. Most of the story is devoted to their struggles as they confront many, many (too many) mage traps. It goes like this: fall into a trap; escape; have a few minutes of romantic bantering; fall into the next trap; repeat; repeat; repeat. This goes on way too long—to the point of tedium.
Needless to say, Kara is eventually rescued, and Fox and Melisande follow through on their mating instincts. The Grizz story line is left unresolved, except that we do get a strong hint as to the identity of his eventual mate. Another very thin story thread involves Wulfe's long-time devotion to Natalie, the human woman he believes he can never have. Also, Wulfe discovers some new and important information about his genetic heritage that proves useful to his Feral brothers.
Although this novel is typical of the series in general, it does get bogged down in the repetitive mage-trap part of the plot, which unfortunately occupies most of the book. Click HERE to reach chapter 1.
The Feral Warriors are immortal shape-shifting soldiers of the Therian race, each able to shift into his animal and having names that mimic that animal (e.g., Lyon, Vhyper, Wulfe, Foxx). Now numbering only nine, they are in constant battle with their two enemies, the daemons and the mages. The daemons send their minions, the soul-sucking “dradens,” to attack both warriors and humans, and the mages try to defeat the warriors through the use of dark magic and bewitching spells. In each book, one of the warriors gets involved with a woman, sometimes human and sometimes supernatural, who turns out to be his soul mate. The men are very alpha, and the women, though plucky, are relatively submissive. The warriors, having been alive for centuries, all have tragic, heart-rending back stories that contribute to extremely high levels of angst. Plots center around the retrieval of the daemon blade in which the daemon leaders have been imprisoned for centuries. The blade has fallen into the hands of the mages, who are trying to complete the ceremony to free the daemons.
Here is one of the characters explaining the story of the daemon blade: "A few decades ago, a powerful Mage by the name of Inir was infected by dark spirit, wisps of Daemon consciousness left when the Daemons were ripped from this world. We think he was infected with the consciousness of the High Daemon, Satanan, himself....Inir quickly rose to become leader of the Mage, and his sole purpose, now, is to free the Daemons from the blade. His problem is, only the Feral Warriors can do than, and the decision to free them has to be unanimous....which has forced the Mage to get creative. They've tried stripping the souls of the warriors, they've tried creating clones. A few weeks ago, they created a wormhole into the spirit trap, hoping to end the existence of as many of the warriors as possible." (Ecstasy Untamed, p. 90)
Click HERE to go to the author's FERAL WARRIORS page on her web site. That page includes brief character descriptions and back stories, a glossary of terms, and lengthy synopses of all of the books.
This is a standard SMR series, with plenty of sex, angst, and violence. If you love immortal warrior love stories, you might also enjoy other similar series that are reviewed on my blog. Just go to the CREATURE SEARCH page and scroll down about half-way to the sub-heading "Immortal Warriors." Click on any series title to go directly to the review.
In the fifth book, we have the story of Kougar and Ariana, who were mated a thousand years ago. She is the queen of the Ilinas, supernatural beings who move between solid human form and transparent mist. Just two years after their mating, Ariana was, seemingly, killed by the Darkness, a mysterious disease that rots the soul and kills the person who is infected. Twenty-one years ago, Kougar learned that Ariana never died—that she has been alive all this time, and he now hates her with a passion—with passion being the key word here. As the Persuaders sang a long time ago: "It's a thin line between love and hate."
Here's a glimpse of Kougar's angst as he, for the bazillionth time, analyzes his feelings for Ariana:
BOOK 6: Ecstasy Untamed
As the story opens, the Warriors are expecting a newly marked Warrior to arrive from Poland to replace Foxx, who died several years ago. Hawke is still trying to recover from his week in the spirit trap, but he's having problems with his hawk spirit and is continuing to lose control when under any kind of stress. When the new Warrior, Maxim, arrives with Faith, a pretty young Therian woman, Hawke is dazzled by her, and the feeling seems mutual. But Faith is supposedly meant to be Maxim's mate, so Hawke tries to rein in his feelings. Maxim turns out to be a big jerk, as he looks down his nose at the Warriors, demands a larger room, and treats Faith very badly—both emotionally and physically. Before long, the Warriors are surprised to learn that when the Ilina queen freed Hawke and Tighe, she inadvertently let loose the animal spirits of the Seventeen—the long-dead Warriors who had been caught in the spirit trap centuries ago. Those freed animal spirits are now marking new warriors to take the place of the lost ones.
Here, Kara tells the story to Faith: "Five thousand years ago, the Therians gave up their power to shift in order to defeat the Daemons, locking them in an enchanted blade. Only one of each animal retained the power of his animal...As recently as six hundred years ago, there were twenty-six Feral Warriors until seventeen were trapped in a spirit trap, which we now know to be of Daemon origin. The men were killed, and their animals never marked another." (pp. 89-90)
At first, the Warriors are ecstatic that they will now be at full strength, but their joy soon turns to despair when dark forces interfere with the minds of the new members of the team. The plot follows the Warriors as they deal with yet another Mage scheme to infiltrate their ranks. Hawke must make peace with his hawk, settle the situation with Faith, and fight alongside his comrades against some new, and dangerous, enemies. The twist in this story comes in the identity of one of the newly marked Warriors. This book is typical of the series, with its emphasis on the love story as it carries along the series plot: the Warriors' continuing battle with the Mage forces.