Series: PALADIN WARRIORS
Plot Type: Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
Ratings: Violence--4; Sensuality--4; Humor--2
Publisher and Titles: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Deliver Me from Darkness (2012)
Deliver Me from Temptation (12/2012)
NOVEL 3: Prince of Shadows
Because of Valin's mixed blood and his irascible attitude, he has never quite fit in with the brotherhood of Paladin warriors. His power is dark, rather than light: the ability to manipulate shadows and transform himself into a gray fog. Valin has never recovered from the murder of his wife and unborn child, even though that tragedy happened long, long ago and he still holds his wife's brother, Roland, responsible for her death because he blames Roland for failing to project Angeline.
In the previous book, Valin met the mixed breed vampire/succubus Gabriella under dangerous circumstances. He realized that she was his one true mate, but she got away from him before he could claim her. At that point, Karessa (Roland's mate) gave Gabriella some of her blood to save Gabby's life, and that has changed Gabby for the good by placing some of Karessa's light inside her. Unfortunately, Gabriella still has extremely low self esteem and is dealing with some dark personal issues. In the previous book, Gabby discovered that Roland (the vampire Paladin) is her father, but as this book begins, Roland is not yet aware of their relationship. Currently, Gabby is working with a group of the gifted (half-human/half Paladin) as they try to combat evil in the world, mostly by killing vampires and merkers. Decades ago, Gabby was unwillingly changed into her vampire form by Christo, the son of Lucifer. At the end of the previous book, Christo was (seemingly) killed, but in paranormal fiction, death for supernatural beings isn't always final. Click HERE to read the deleted Prologue for Prince of Shadows to learn more about what's going on with Christo and Lucifer. In my opinion, this deleted Prologue should have been kept, and the published Prologue should have been incorporated in chapter 1.
The story mostly follows the development of the romance as Valin pursues Gabby; Gabby runs away from Valin; Valin pursues Gabby—repeat this cycle multiple times. The action part of the story involves a person from Gabby's past who puts her in extreme danger from which Valin must rescue her. Then, the two are forced to put their lives on the line for one another. Once again, there's a twist at the end (similar to previous books) that gets them their HEA.
Other conflict in the story arises between Jacob, the leader of the gifted group, and the two Paladins, Valin and Benedict, as they decide to join the gifted group. Both have found their bonded mates among the gifted, and both are determined to follow through on the mating process before the Paladin Council gets into the act and tries to stop them.
For me, this book was tough to get into, mostly because of its lack of summation of previous events. Also, a glossary of terms would be quite helpful, even if it was just on the web site. For example, I can't remember exactly what the difference is (if there is a difference) between a vampire and a merker. I'm sure that this was explained in one of the earlier books, but it was not explained in this one—and since I read the previous book a full year ago (and read a whole lot of other paranormal novels in between), I just don't remember some of the details of this mythology.
The character development continues to be relatively strong, but the action plot drags. It doesn't even really kick in until almost the end of the book. For me, this is the weakest book so far. I'm guessing that the next book will feature the Paladin, Benedict, and Annie, the null, whose talent is to block magic from being used in her general vicinity. Since Annie is Jacob's beloved daughter, there should be some interesting fireworks as their love story progresses. I just hope that Hilaire does a better job of integrating critical details of past events into the story and that she defines some of the terms that she uses to build her mythology. Click HERE to go to the Prince of Shadows page on amazon.com where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.
An important part of the Paladin mythology is the mating process. Paladins believe that God promised each one of them a female soul that would perfectly match their own. Unfortunately, female offspring have become extremely rare, so most Paladins mate with humans, and there can be no true mate-bond between a Paladin and a human. The most common bonding in those cases is a marking followed by a ceremony that tests for compatibility. A true mate-bond is the dream of every Paladin warrior, and as you can imagine, we'll see a few in this series, beginning with book 1.
NOVEL 1: Deliver Me from Darkness
NOVEL 2: Deliver Me from Temptation
The hero of the second book is 295-year-old Logan Calhoun, the last pure-blooded Paladin and the future leader of the council, which is now headed by his narrow-minded, by-the-books father. Logan and his father do not get along, mostly because of his father's kill-them-now attitude toward all vampires, including Logan's fellow Paladin-turned-vampire, Roland, and Roland's mate, Karissa, who is Logan's half-sister and whose human mother was impregnated and then abandoned by Logan's bigoted and cold-hearted father.
One night when Logan, Alexander, and Valin are out chasing down a succubus, they are halted by a female police detective who believes that they are thugs chasing down a helpless female. That detective is Jessica Waters, a human whose life is guided by the hatred deep inside her for all killers, and particularly for men who attack women. Jessica's twin sister was murdered by gang bangers, and she has never gotten over that tragedy.
The main story line follows Jessica as she works on a cold case that, coincidentally, involves Roland. Jessica is so driven by her hate-filled emotions that she takes all kinds of risks, most of which involve going out alone on late-night stake-outs in extremely rough neighborhoods. Almost as soon as Logan meets Jessica, he realizes that she is his mate, and he is devastated that God has chosen a human for him because he knows that he will have to watch her die after a few decades. As Jessica keeps putting herself in dangerous situations, vampires and demons begin attacking her, and Logan has to rescue her time and time again. He can't let her know of the existence of the supernatural creatures, so he keeps erasing parts of her memory, but Jessica eventually realizes that there's something strange going on.
Naturally, there is a big climactic showdown scene with the hero and heroine in danger from the primary villains, but we all know from the beginning that Logan and Jessica will get their HEA. What is surprising is the twist at the end about how they achieve their happiness. The free e-story, "Deliver Me a Paladin for Christmas," is a follow-up to the Logan-Jessica story, so don't read it until after you read Deliver Me from Temptation.
A possible new character for the series is introduced in this book: Jessica's partner, Mike, who has a few Paladin genes somewhere in his ancestry. As part of Valin's continuing story, we see him trying to track down the vampire, Gabriel ("Gabby") after a group of human hybrid Paladins breaks into the Haven with a message from her about demon action in New York City. I'm sure that both Mike and the human hybrids will turn up in future books.
This is another formulaic paranormal romance, but it's a step above the usual SMR novel because the characters are more fully developed and the plot has more depth. This novel can be read as a stand-alone because the author provides plenty of background information on the Paladin world and its primary characters. Click HERE to go to the Deliver Me from Temptation page on amazon.com where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.