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Thursday, September 27, 2012


Author:  Angie Fox   
Series:  MONSTER M*A*S*H   
Plot Type:  Romantic Fantasy  
Ratings:  Violence-4; Sensuality-4; Humor-3-4
Publisher and Titles:  St. Martin's  
          Immortally Yours (8/2012)
          Immortally Embraced (2/2013)
          Immortally Ever After (8/2013)(FINAL)

     This post was revised and updated on 11/18/13 to include a review of Immortally Ever After, the third and FINAL book in the series. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and reviews of books 1 and 2:  

            BOOK 3:  Immortally Ever After             
     As the story opens, the immortal war is in the midst of a cease firebut not for long. All of a sudden, the old gods begin using kamikaze dragons to bomb the troops of the new gods, and Petra and her colleagues are swamped with new casualties. Just before that happens, though, Petra gets two major shocks: First, her old boyfriend Marc proposes marriage. Then, moments later, her true love Galen of Delphi shows up with Leta, a gorgeous female dragonboth with serious injuries. Marc is a dragon shifter with whom she has been living since he turned up once again in her life after an absence of many years (in book 2). Galen is the warrior whose life Petra saved (in book 1) and with whom she had a steamy affair until he left her at the beginning of book 2, telling her that she should forget him and go on with her life.

     The romance part of the plot concerns Petra's relationships with Marc and Galen, and it provides answers to many questions: Which man will Petra choose? Will she accept Marc's proposal? Will she forgive Galen for walking out on her? What is Galen's relationship with the beautiful Leta?

     The action part of the story involves more mysterious prophecies, each one centering on Petra and each one more dangerous than the previous one. Major events include a baby shower for Medusa, various attempts to keep Galen and Leta hidden from some dangerous military inspectors who are tracking them, a battle between two dragons, and the birth of Medusa's baby.

     This book ties up all the loose ends and provides HEAs for all of the good guys and gals in an unexpected progression of events. Each prophecy plays out, but not in the way Petra (or the reader) expects. The finale brings everyone togethergods, supernaturals, and humans alikeand resolves all of the conflict in a satisfying manner. Click HERE to go to the page for Immortally Ever After. Click on the book cover at the top left of the page to read an excerpt.

     In this world, the earth is completely under the control of the gods of various pantheons, and those gods are involved in a winner-take-all war. As the new gods fight the old gods for control of the world, they conscript humans, shape shifters, vampires, and demi-gods who have skills needed to support the war effort. People who are drafted will probably never see their earthly home and family ever again, because their draft period extends through to the end of the conflict, and the prospects for the war ever ending are slim to none. Time off is almost non-existent: "The army granted each soldier twenty minutes topside for every year served....Regulations prevented anyone from cashing in leave until they had a week. It would take more than five hundred years to get that kind of break." (p. 44)

     The action in this series takes place in and around a paranormal mobile army surgical hospital unit (aka M*A*S*H) that is located in Limbo and is on the side of the new gods. The series heroine is Dr. Petra Robichaud, a half-fairy thoracic surgeon who had just set up a new practice in New Orleans when she was drafted by the new gods. The day-to-day activity in the M*A*S*H 3063rd unit is reminiscent of the prank-filled, humorous episodes of both the M*A*S*H TV series and the movie. The 3063rd is home to a motley crew of oddball characters, and the tight quarters and long, grueling hours combine to amplify their quirkiness. 

     The characters spend a great deal of their downtime watching the Paranormal News Network (PNN) on their battered old television. With its patented newspeak and familiarly named reporters, PNN is a very funny parody of CNN and other real news channels. Click HERE to go to the author's Paranormal News Network web site for the latest gossip about soothsaying scandals, "wise men" who secretly use google to find their answers, and the banning of wolfsbane at the Olympics—plus much more.

     This series is not nearly as frenetically side-splitting as Fox's ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER series, but it does have an interweaving of humorous story threads that involve constant pranks among the staff of the M*A*S*H, werewolf-vampire roommate feuds, and gossipy colleagues always eager to dish the dirt. This humorous streak is balanced by the darkness of the war, with horrifically injured soldiers cycling through the operating room, and imps and other nasty creatures hovering just outside the 3063rd's wards, ready to attack the staff whenever they get the chance.

     Click HERE to read the author's short essay on the series on

          BOOK 1:  Immortally Yours          
     Although Petra is the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the new gods' army, she's also the most cynical and hopeless. Petra works extra-long days and nights patching up wounded humans and demi-gods as they are helicoptered to the 3063rd. In her off time, she heads back to her bunk in a tiny tent that she shares with two males—a meticulously neat vampire and a vegetarian werewolf who misses his wife and kids so much that he thinks and talks about them constantly.

     One day, Commander Galen of Delphi (a sexy war hero) arrives on Petra's operating table, fresh from battle, with a poisoned bronze knife still stuck in his chest. When Galen dies while Petra is removing the knife, she grabs his spirit—his soul—and forces it back into his body, thus bringing him back to life and revealing her big secret to Galen. Petra is terrified that when Galen figures out what happened, he will turn her in for being able to see and touch the dead. As it happens, an ancient prophecy states that a healer whose hands can touch the dead is supposed to be the key to ending the war. Neither side wants that to happen until their feuds are settled, so whenever the gods discover someone who can see or touch the dead, that person is dragged off, never to be seen again. Petra is terrified that she will be next.

     Galen, though, is not interested in reporting Petra's abilities to the gods. He believes that the two of them have been brought together by the fates to complete all three of the prophecies and end the conflict (while enjoying each other's physical charms in the process). The plot follows the couple as they argue about what to do and grow ever closer to falling in love. Galen is an optimist, filled with hope and faith in his belief that he and Petra can save lives by ending the war. Petra is a pessimist who refuses to accept any responsibility for the prophecies. She just wants to maintain the status quo, which includes keeping her secret from the gods.

     This is definitely an inventive mythology—not completely fresh but full of possibilities. Petra and Galen are moderately well-defined characters, with the unusual choice of Galen as the optimist, which usually is the woman's role. Neither character has much depth, though, and their hook-up seems mostly based on physical attraction in the usual paranormal romance way. The humor is chuckle-worthy most of the time, and the quirky characters add complexity and humor to the plot. Click HERE to read the first chapter. 

          BOOK 2:  Immortally Embraced                 
     As this book opens, Petra is shocked and dismayed to learn that her lover, Galen, has been ordered back to active duty. Her grief doesn't last long, though, because she soon gets a surprise visitor—Marc, her dragon-shifter fiancé, whom she believed to be dead. Years ago, when Petra and Marc were still in medical school back in New Orleans, the Old God Army drafted Marc to their side of the war. Then, ten years ago, Petra and Marc's family were notified that he had been killed in action. Now that Petra knows that Marc has been alive all this time and that he has allowed her and his family to believe that he was dead, she has mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, she is ecstatic to see him again, but on the other hand, she is furious that he allowed his loved ones—particularly herself—to think he was dead.  

     So...why in the world would Marc contact Petra now, after all this time has passed? Well, that is the crux of the story. As it turns out, one of Petra and Marc's former professors, who was recruited by the Old Gods to develop weapons, has killed himself. Now, his ghost is hanging around his lab trying to destroy all of his research. Marc wants Petra to communicate with the ghost to find out what is going on, which means that she will have to go behind enemy lines, which would result in immediate execution if she is caught. In the meantime, the oracles make another set of prophecies that mention a powerful weapon. Could  there be a connection between the professor and the weapon in the prophecy?  

     Of course, the development of the romance is just as important as the action part of the plot, and that romance proceeds down a very bumpy road. Marc continues to defend his actions, explaining that he knew that he would never be able to be with Petra ever again, so it was best that he pretended to be dead so that she could live a normal life and find love with someone else. Petra thinks that Marc's arrogance is inexcusable and that he had no right to make a decision that affected her life and emotions, not to mention the effects of his so-called death on his mother. Marc is one of those stereotypical paranormal romance heroes who is so alpha that you want to slap him upside the head. He is always absolutely sure that he knows what's best for everyone in his life, even though his decisions make everyone miserable.   

     In addition to the main action story, several other threads are woven through the plot. Petra has been working on the development of an anesthetic that will work on demigods, and that research takes some giant, but perilous, steps forward in th latter chapters of the book. In related story lines, a pair of rival goddesses face off in a major power struggle that has some lustful overtones, and Medusa goes through a rough, but amusing, pregnancy.  

      This book has the same strengths and weaknesses as the first one. The world-building and plot are inventive, but the characterization is mostly one dimensional. We don't see as many of the quirky supporting characters in this one, so that means the comedic level is much lower. All in all, I'd say that if  you are looking for a light romantic paranormal read that's a bit different from the usual, you'll probably enjoy this book. Immortally Embraced could be read as a stand-alone, but you will miss the expositional background on the god vs. god war that has created the need for these M*A*S*H units in the first place. 

     After his dramatic exit scene at the very beginning, we didn't see any more of Petra's sexy lover, Galen, but he'll be back in book 3, so get ready for some romantic fireworks.

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