Author: Elisabeth Naughton
Series: ETERNAL GUARDIANS
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V4; S4; H2
Publisher and Titles:
Marked (LoveSpell, 2010)(reprint from CreateSpace, 3/2012)
Enraptured (Sourcebooks, 4/2012)
Enslaved (Sourcebooks, 11/2012)
In the first scene, the Argonauts have allowed Gryphon to accompany them on a mission for the first time since his rescue, and Gryphon blows it—he goes so deep into a daemon-killing frenzy that he accidentally injures two of the Argonauts. When Nick announces that Gryphon can no longer stay at the Misos (half-breed) colony, Orpheus decides to take Gryphon off somewhere—just the two of them—so that Gryphon can fully recover. Gryphon can't allow Orpheus to make that kind of sacrifice, so he decides to escape form the Argonauts' custody. As it happens, there is another person in the colony who wants to escape, and that is Maelea, the illegitimate daughter of Zeus and Persephone, who has been on the run from Hades for most of her life (more than 3,000 years). Maelea has spent all that time trying to find her way to Olympus, where she believes that she will be protected from Hades' wrath. She has always lived alone, keeping away from other people. Now, she is afraid that Hades may have found her in the Misos colony, and she needs to leave so that the rest of the colonies' inhabitants will be safe.
Gryphon and Maelea serendipitously meet up on the night of their escape and are pursued by the Argonauts and Nick's warriors into the tunnels leading away from the colony. When Maelea causes a rock slide, she and Gryphon are washed away by a river that takes them even deeper underground, where they are attacked by various monsters. Eventually, they make their way to the surface, but are under constant attack by squads of daemons. The Argonauts believe that Gryphon kidnapped Maelea, and he actually did do that, but the couple's situation soon changes into one of mutual respect and then into passionate lust/love—because, of course, Maelea is Gryphon's one true mate.
Atalanta and Hades continue to be the primary villains of the series as Atalanta sends her daemons after Gryphon, and Hades sends his after Maelea. (Remember, Maelea is the product of Zeus' rape of Hades' wife, Persephone, so Hades has always wanted Maelea dead.) The Orb of Krónos turns up again late in the story as a focus for the requisite closing showdown among the various good guys and villains.
This story is typical for the series with its tragic hero and heroine falling in love in the middle of chaos and emotional trauma. We see the beginnings of a mate-match for Titus when he meets a mysterious red-headed beauty named Natasa who has some kind of a connection to Maelea. The two meet briefly in the midst of the Gryphon-Maelea story and then Natasa disappears, but you can be sure that she'll be back in a future book. We also get a peek into the sad family situation of Callia and Zander as their son, Max, acts out in a dangerous manner as he attempts revenge against Atalanta, who had him in her clutches for much of his childhood.
Like the earlier books, the ending of this one is a cliffhanger that leaves several of the story lines unresolved, particularly the determination of the future of the Orb of Krónos. Another unresolved issue (and a weakness in the story line) relates to Maelea's earth-shaking powers, which she accidentally lets loose a few times but which are never explained. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Enslaved.
The series story arc involves the evil Atalanta, who was one of the few females among the original Argonauts. Atalanta was passed over when it came time to select the seven strongest, and she now lives only for revenge. Atalanta commands an army of daemons and sends them out daily to kill Argonauts and Misos. As the series opens, Atalanta uses the souls of her daemons' victims as gifts to Hades to ensure her immortality. The series has another sinister pair of villains: Hades, god of the underworld, and his wife, Persephone. This couple doesn't want revenge; they just like to cause trouble because they feed on pain and suffering. Hades and Persephone enjoy interfering in the affairs of all of the characters—both good and bad—for their own amusement.
This is a typical immortal-warriors romance series, with its über-alpha heroes and its fragile heroines. Although the action slows down when the mythology sections appear, it does kick back in eventually. The characters have appropriately tragic back stories, but they're all fairly stereotypical to this sub-genre.
Click HERE to go to a page on Naughton's web site with biographies of some of the Argonaut heroes.
BOOK 2: Entwined (Zander & Callia)
Zander is a descendant of Achilles, and legend has it that he cannot be killed. (We learn in this book exactly what his single weakness is, and it's far different that the one in the famous legend.) Ten years ago, Zander had an affair with Callia, the king's healer, but it ended very badly. Each one has been living with deeply hurt feelings about the way their romance ended, but (as is always the case in paranormal romances) neither one was given accurate information at the time of the break-up due to outside interference. Once again, the romance is the main story line, but this one is more messed up than usual.
Early on, the king tries to force Demetrius to marry Isadora, but when Demetrius vehemently refuses, Zander—feeling that he has nothing to live for anyway—steps up and volunteers. Poor Isadora—no one really wants her. Soon after that devastating scene, Zander is badly hurt in a daemon battle, and Titus transports Callia to his side to heal him. Titus then leaves the couple alone while he goes back to the battle. As Zander heals, the attraction between the two ex-lovers heats up and secrets begin to be revealed. If you haven't figured out the big secret of this book by this point in the story, then you haven't been paying attention to the clues that have been sprinkled, like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumb trail, all the way from the beginning of the book. Suffice it to say that the wicked Atalanta is involved, and her intentions toward Callia and the Argonauts are horrifically evil. The ending is a cliffhanger that leads into book 3. This book is a strong follow-up to Marked. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Entwined
In my opinion, this is the weakest book of the series so far. Demetrius, a descendant of Jason, is a hulking, bad-tempered, uncommunicative jerk throughout most of the story, heaping insults on Isadora and treating her like his worst enemy—for no apparent reason (at first). Demetrius' bad behavior is linked to his family history, which, unbelievably, he has managed to keep totally secret from everyone in Argolea for all the centuries of his life. So...the whole premise of the plot is illogical and unbelievable, right from the start.