Series: THE SENTINELS
Plot Type: Soul-Mate Romance (SMR)
Ratings: Violence-4; Sensuality-4; Humor-2-3
Publisher and Titles: Zebra
"Out of Control" (.5 novella in Predatory anthology, 5/2013)
"On the Hunt" (2.5 novella in On the Hunt anthology, 8/2015)
Blood Lust (novel 3—5/31/2016)
NOVEL 3: Blood Lust
Bas Cavrilo is a wealthy and powerful witch who has always lived outside high-blood law as a mercenary and a Sentinel Assassin. In the previous novel, Bas's four-year-old daughter, Molly, was kidnapped, and Bas got himself in trouble with the Mave by kidnapping a psychic Sentinel to find Molly. Now Bas is on Valhalla's to-be-captured list, so he's hiding out in one of his well-secured hotels. As the story opens, Molly tells Bas that her mother is coming to visit, which shocks Bas because Myst—Molly's mother—disappeared on the night of her conception, returning only once—to abandon Molly on Bas's doorstop nine months later. Bas has always believed that Myst has to be a hard-hearted, uncaring person to abandon her infant child and never look back, but then Molly tells him that Myst has been talking to her telepathically throughout her entire life. His shock magnifies when Myst easily bypasses Bas's security system and walks into his living room.
As it turns out, Myst had some very good reasons for leaving Molly with Bas, and soon Bas realizes that Myst is a great mother, that he is still madly in love with her, and that she feels the same about him. Before long, they bond over their shared stories about their terrible parents and horrible childhood experiences. The plot follows them as they sort out Myst's problems, which center on a prophecy that she will produce a weapon that will destroy the world, beginning with Valhalla. The Brotherhood gets involved as its new leader, Stella (who murdered the former leader), plans to steal that very same weapon and use it to destroy all of the high-bloods.
In the background the Lana/Wolfe relationship simmers along, getting closer and closer to boiling over into its own angst-filled novel, which should be coming soon. Kaede, too, will almost certainly be getting his own novel as he prepares to confront his past by traveling to the high-blood temple that was uncovered in Blood Assassin.
Although Ivy is a great story teller, she makes the clues to all of the plot mysteries so obvious that she pretty much erases all of the suspense. I recognized each clue as soon as it was introduced—even the nature of the weapon—so the only "suspense" was to read through to the end to ensure that I was correct. Also, Bas makes several rookie mistakes that lead to severe injuries and plot snags that serve only to lengthen the story without adding anything of consequence to the plot. Bas is much too smart and experienced to be making these implausible TSTL mistakes.
Regardless of these weaknesses, this is still a good story. Molly is delightfully charming and self-sufficient, and Bas makes us forget about all of his past transgressions as he keeps both Myst and Molly safe from the villainous Brotherhood. Regular readers of the series won't want to miss this one because it reveals that Molly has a very special magical talent that will certainly affect future plots. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Blood Lust.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My review of Blood Lust is based on an electronic advance reading copy (ARC) of the book that I received from the publisher through NetGalley. I received no promotional or monetary rewards, and the opinions in this review are strictly my own.
The high-bloods are led by the Mave (aka Lana Mayfield), a powerful witch. Within the high-blood community, law enforcement is handled by the Sentinels, who are big, strong, handsome, alpha males with varying types of magical talents. The Sentinels are lead by their Tagos, Wolfe, and are divided into three different sects:
> the Assassin Sentinels: This group was disbanded years ago, but a few have managed to survive. They had only one purpose: delivering death.
Unsurprisingly, the distrust and hostility between the high-bloods and the humans percolates continually, with occasional violent flare-ups. One human group that is quite proactive is the Brotherhood, a secret society that hates the high-bloods with a passion. In general, high-bloods and humans do not intermingle, but whenever human law enforcement discovers a crime that may involve magic, they call in a high-blood to assist in solving the case.
If the magical crime is murder, a high-blood necromancer is called in to find the killer. In this world, necromancers are different from the traditional reanimators of other mythologies; in fact, they prefer to call themselves diviners. Most of these necromancers do not have the ability to reanimate a corpse. Instead, their talent is to delve into the mind of a newly dead person and replay the victim's final moments.
.5 NOVELLA: "Out of Control"
This review was originally posted as part of my review of the Predatory anthology, which also includes novellas by Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall, and Hannah Jayne. Click HERE to go to my complete review of Predatory.
FIRST PARAGRAPH: "Valhalla was the stuff of myths. Named for the home of the Norse gods, the sprawling compound was a safe house for those people too 'special' to be mainstreamed into society (a nice way of saying an orphanage for the children and adults unwanted by their families). Everyone knew that it was a home for freaks."
Even though this will probably be a standard paranormal fiction series, Ivy is a good story teller, so if you love alpha heroes who sweep willing heroines off their feet and straight into bed, with a bit of conflict thrown in to liven up their stories, you will probably enjoy this series.
NOVEL 2: Blood Assassin
As the story opens, Fane has decided to turn his back on Valhalla—and Serra—and move back to the monastery in Tibet where he spent his childhood. Although he lusts for Serra, he believes that it would be wrong to bond with her because of his dangerous Guardian Sentinel duties. Serra, of course, is furious that Fane is turning her away once again and vows to find another man, even though her lust-filled heart truly belongs to Fane. Almost immediately, Serra is bespelled by Bas Cavrilo, a wealthy and powerful witch who has always lived outside high-blood law as a mercenary and an Assassin. Bas's young daughter, Molly, has been kidnapped, and Bas needs Serra's psychic powers to find her. Bas uses a compulsion spell to force Serra to leave Valhalla and come to his office. He warns Serra that he has injected a deadly poison into her body and that if she doesn't find Molly and bring her safely home within 96 hours, he will withhold the antidote and Serra will die. By this time, Fane has tracked Serra down, and he insists on staying by her side so that he can help and protect her as they work together to find Molly. The bulk of the novel follows Fane and Serra through the ups and downs of their relationship and their investigation. Soon they have an additional problem when the kidnapper begins sending men with lethal weapons to ambush them.
Meanwhile, a sub-plot surfaces, one that is related to events in the early history of the high-bloods. That story line focuses on Wolfe, the Tagos (leader of the Sentinels), and Lana Mayfield, the Mave (leader of the high-bloods). Wolfe has had the hots for the Mave for decades, and now that they are off on an adventure together, his thoughts run constantly to lust (although he doesn't follow through on them in this book).
This novel is very much a formulaic paranormal romance with its anguished lovers who stumble through frequent misunderstandings and miscommunications of their feelings for one another (especially Fane). Also a problem is the constant repetition of their physical descriptions of one another. Yeah, we get it: they're both utterly sexy and totally hot. We don't need to read dozens of nearly identical over-the-top physical descriptions in their angst-filled interior monologues.
Surprisingly enough, the only character who brings any originality to this book is the villain, Bas—one of the few who is not a stereotype. His well-developed character is much more nuanced than any of the good-guy Sentinels. In the beginning, we see him as evil and egotistical (which he is), but then we see his paternal anguish and fear for his child and learn more about his checkered history. Even though Bas has done (and continues to do) some really bad things, we begin to empathize with him. At the end of the book, something happens in Bas's life that will change it forever and will probably become part of the next novel. I wouldn't mind reading a novel about Bas's second in command, Kaede, either. Kaede is a fascinating and complex character who is frequently more interesting than the lead lovers.
I enjoy Ivy's novels because she is usually strong on plot and action, but this novel is one of her weaker ones (except for Bas and Kaede). There are a few plot holes and a number of word usage errors that should have been caught by the editor and copyproofer, respectively. Here's the worst of the plot problems: Near the end of the book, Serra asks what happened to Anna. I can't tell you who Anna is without providing a spoiler, so I'll just say that Serra never knew anything about Anna and her problem, so how could she be asking about her?
If you are a fan of the series or if you love genre romances, you'll probably enjoy this book. Even though there are a few references to events that took place in book 1, you could probably read it as a stand-alone without any problem. Click HERE to go to the book's amazon.com page where you can read or listen to an excerpt by clicking on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon.
NOVELLA 2.5: “On the Hunt”
This review was originally posted as part of my review of the On the Hunt anthology, which also includes novellas by Alexandra Ivy, Rebecca Zanetti, Dianne Duvall, and Hannah Jayne. Click HERE to read my reviews of the all of the novellas in On the Hunt.