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Saturday, June 18, 2011


Author:  Alexis Morgan (Pseudonym for Pat Pritchard)
Plot Type:  SMR
Ratings: V4, S5, H2
Publisher and Titles:  Pocket Star
    Dark Protector (2006)
     Dark Defender (2006)
     In Darkness Reborn (2007)
     Redeemed in Darkness (2007)
     Darkness Unknown (2009)
     Defeat the Darkness (2010)
     Bound by Darkness (2011)
     The Darkness Beyond (2011)
     Darkness on Fire (e-novella, 9/2011)                 

     This post contains an overview of the series world-building as well as reviews of the seventh and eighth novels (Bound by Darkness & The Darkness Beyond) and the e-novella (Darkness on Fire).

     In the Paladin’s universe, the human world is in constant danger from the world of the Others, dangerous beings who live deep in the earth and who try to cross the Barrier between the two worlds at times of geological upheaval (e.g., earthquakes, active volcanoes, electronic interference). The Others are actually insane members of an alien race called the Kalith. The Barrier that keeps the Kalith out of the mortal world is located deep underground in tunnels that are defended by the Paladins—immortal warriors born to hold back the Others at the risk of their own mortality. Ironically, the Paladins are, in fact, products of human-Kalith liaisons, but they identify with their human side. Paladins live and die and are reborn repeatedly, becoming more like the Others with each death, until they finally go totally mad and must be destroyed by their handlers. Set in cities located near fault lines (e.g., Seattle, St. Louis), each book tells the story of one Paladin’s battles with the Others and his discovery of his soul mate.     
     Although this is a fairly typical immortal warrior SMR series with the usual amounts of sex and violence, I like the inventiveness of the close relationship of the two enemy groups: the Paladins and the Kalith. All of the guys are über-alpha and all of the gals are smart and sassy—just as you would find in most paranormal romances of this type. If you are looking for a well-written soul-mate romance with plenty of angst, you’ll probably enjoy this one. Morgan has also written another paranormal romance series with immortal warriors: TALIONS.

     If you love immortal warrior love stories, you might also enjoy these, which are all reviewed on my blog. The V/S/H code after each title refers to my ratings for Violence, Sensuality, and Humor. Click HERE to go to my Ratings page for an explanation of those ratings. To read my review of any these series, just click on the series title:
     > Andersen, Jessica: THE FINAL PROPHECY (V5, S4, H1) 
     > Bangs, Nina: GODS OF THE NIGHT (V3, S3, H3)
     > Day, Alyssa: WARRIORS OF POSEIDON ON (V3-4, S4, H3)
     > Cole, Kresley: IMMORTALS AFTER DARK (V4, S5, H3)
     > Kelley, Karen: PRINCES OF SYMTARIA (V3, S4, H3)
     > Knight, Angela: MAGEVERSE (V4, S4, H3) 
     > Knight, Deidre: GODS OF MIDNIGHT (V4, S4, H2) 
     > McCleave: SOUL GATHERERS (V3-4, S4, H2) 
     > MacAlister, Katie: DARK ONES (V2, S4-5, H5)
     > Palmer, Pamela: FERAL WARRIORS (V5; S4; H1)
     > Showalter, Gena: LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD (V4, S4, H3)
     > Silver, Eve: SOUL REAPER TRILOGY (V4, S4, H2)
     > Stone, Juliana: JAGUAR WARRIORS (V4, S4+, H1) 

     Here are some additional immortal warrior series that are summarized in my book, Fang-tastic Fiction: 21st Century Paranormal Reads, which is available on and at many libraries: 
     > Kenyon, Sherrilyn: DARK-HUNTER SERIES (V3, S4, H3) 
     > McCray, Cheyenne: MAGIC (V5, S5, H2) 
     > Moning, Karen: HIGHLANDER SERIES (V3, S4, H2) 
     > O’Shea, Patti: LIGHT WARRIORS (V4, S4 [book 1 = 5+], H1) 
     > St. Giles, Jennifer: SHADOWMEN (V3, S4, H1)
Here's a list of the romantic couples in each book: 
     > Dark Protector: Devlin Bane, leader of the Seattle Paladins, & Laurel Young, his handler
     > Dark Defender: Blake Trahern & Brenna Nichols
     > In Darkness Reborn: Barak q'Young & Lacey Sebastian
     > Redeemed in Darkness: Cullen Finley & Lusahn q'Arc—Barak's sister
     > Darkness Unknown: Jarvis Donohue & Gwen Mosely
     > Defeat the Darkness: Hunter Fitzsimon & Tate Justice
     > Bound by Darkness: Larem q'Jones & Sasha Wilson
     > The Darkness Beyond: computer geeks D. J. Clayborne & Reggie Morrison
     > Darkness on Fire: Penn Sebastian & Jora b'Larth 

            BOOK 7:  Bound by Darkness           
     In Bound by Darkness, the romantic heroine is Sasha Wilson, daughter of a member of the Regents, the administrative body that pays the Paladins’ expenses and which tries to control the Paladins in other ways as well. Beautiful, red-headed Sasha has been assigned as the new administrative head of the Seattle Paladins. The entire organization is still recovering from the recent discovery that Kincaid, the former Seattle administrator, had siphoned huge amounts of money to his own personal accounts and had been involved, along with a still-unknown mystery man, in causing the death of a Regent in St. Louis. Sasha's hero is Larem q’Jones, a Kalith warrior who defected to the Paladins in a previous book. Larem is trying to make a new life for himself in the human world, but he still has many enemies (including most of the Guards) who believe that he is spying for the Others. In addition to following the passionate, angst-filled romance between Sasha and Larem, the plot focuses on Sasha’s attempts to recover Kincaid's stolen money and to discover the identity of his secret helper. As the love affair and the money search become more intense, attempts are made on Sasha’s life, and a mysterious, unnamed villain manipulates a series of violent events through e-mails to sympathetic Guards who hate both the Paladins and the Kalith. By the end of the book, we learn who the secret bad guy is, and we watch Sasha and Larem stroll off to their HEA ending. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Bound by Darkness .

            BOOK 8:  The Darkness Beyond           
     As the eighth book opens, D. J. Clayborne, the Seattle Paladins' computer whiz and expert hacker, has himself been hacked, and he's determined to track down the culprit—a guy named Reggie. When D. J. discovers that Reggie (aka Regina Morrison) is, in fact, a beautiful young woman, he is immediately attracted to her—and vice versa. Suddenly, however, Reggie is kidnapped by corrupt employees of the Regents and is dragged through the barrier into Kalithia to be used as a slave—and worse. D. J. has no choice but to follow Reggie into an alien land so that he can rescue her and bring her back. What made me smile in this story was what D. J.'s  Paladin buddies tucked into a backpack of supplies for D. J. to carry with him into Kalithia: shampoo, a bar of soap, a toothbrush, and...plenty of condoms. Better than the Hilton! You gotta love your brother Paladins! This is a typical angst-filled love story that doesn't get its HEA until the very last pages, even though you know it's going to happen from the first time D. J. and Reggie lay eyes on one another. A new character is added to the series when the Paladins identify Reggie's young friend, Cody, as having the unique Paladin genetic heritage. Click HERE to read an excerpt from The Darkness Beyond.     

            E-Novella:  "Darkness on Fire"           
      This novella tells the love story of the Paladin, Penn Sebastian, and the Kalith, Jora b'Larth. Penn has spent the past few months healing and trying to rehabilitate his wounded right arm (his sword arm), which was slashed horribly by a Kalith warrior. He has not been involved in any active fighting since his injury, and he’s thrilled when Devlin Bane sends him on a mission to Montana to investigate an anonymous tip that someone has been tapping geothermal energy from the caldera under Yellowstone National Park, causing it to become dangerously unstable. When Penn meets the mystery woman who contacted Dev, he is shocked to find that she is a Kalith.

     Jora has lived on this side of the barrier since she was an infant. Her parents, who died in a car accident several years ago, crossed over from Kalithia in search of a better life. Jora went to college in Bozeman and is trained in geology. In addition, Jora is able to control the Barrier and to pull energy from the Earth.

     Of course, Penn and Jora immediately fall in lust/love (but we knew that before we opened the book). The plot follows them as their relationship moves from a spark to a full bonfire as they attempt to track down the villain who is putting the entire area in danger of a major earthquake.

     The action plot is disposed of quickly and cleanly, mostly because this is a novella rather than a novel (so everything is condensed). It’s good to see Penn get his mate and recover from the mental and physical anguish he has suffered because of his wounded arm. Morgan always does a good job developing her lead couples, making sure that each one has an interesting back story and some kind of a flaw or weakness to add depth to the romance and to the adventure. Click HERE to read an excerpt from "Darkness on Fire."

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