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Thursday, February 23, 2012


Author:  Tes Hilaire
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)
          "Deliver Me a Paladin for Christmas" (free  on-line short story) 
          Prince of Shadows (12/2013)  

     This post was revised and updated on 12/31/13 to include a review of Prince of Shadows, the third novel in the series. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the series world-building and reviews of novels 1 and 2:  

            NOVEL 3:  Prince of Shadows            
     This novel is not a stand-alone and should be read only after you read the first two novels. Hilaire does not provide much of a summary of past events, and she does not include a glossary or character listnot in the book and not on her web site (which, by the way, is rather glitchy and takes a long, long time to load). 

     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 Gabbyrepeat 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 oneand 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 where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.

     In this world, the immortal Paladin warriors were chosen by God from volunteers among the ranks of the angels. "They were given various gifts and sent to earth to protect His children from the evils seeping into the world." (Deliver Me from Darkness, p. 53). Their lives went smoothly until the eighth century, when jealousies arose over the leadership of the Paladins, and one of them (Ganelon) betrayed his brother warriors, causing many Paladin deaths. Since then, Ganelon has waged war on the Paladins, enlisting aid from Lucifer and his minions and from the vampires, who, in this world, are the dregs of supernatural society.

     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            
     As the first book opens, Logan, a Paladin warrior, has burst into his best friend's home with an injured human female in his arms. Roland, a former Paladin, doesn't like company. He's hiding from the rest of the Paladins because he's supposed to be dead. Centuries ago, Roland was enthralled by a succubus and turned into a vampire by the evil Christos and then forced to witness the bloody murders of his family members, including his pregnant sister, who was married to another Paladin. He was immediately banished from the Paladins. In fact, he was put on their kill list. Eight-nine years ago, Logan saved Roland's life by helping him conquer his blood lust and telling the Paladin Elders that Roland was dead. The female who winds up in Roland's bed is Karissa, a twenty-something beauty with the power to read a person's intent and the ability to teleport. Logan and Roland are convinced that Karissa is the first female Paladin to exist in centuries. Almost immediately, Roland and Karissa are attracted to one another. By page 15, Roland is thinking, "Mine!"

     The plot focuses mostly on the ups and downs of the romance, with a secondary plot that involves the efforts of various bad guys to kidnap Karissa in order to take her blood. A brief story thread deals with the attraction that all of the Paladins have to Karissa. They all want to mark her and make her their own—perhaps to achieve a true mate-bond. These scenes are pretty creepy, with Karissa surrounded by big, beefy alpha men who are determined to mate with her. But...they're out of luck, because Karissa and Roland are definitely true mates. In the climactic final scene, Karissa's life is in jeopardy, and Roland must save her in the nick of time. By the end of the story, both Roland and Karissa have life-altering experiences that change the Paladins' minds about Roland's vampire self.

     In many ways, this is a typical paranormal romance, with its damaged hero and clueless heroine thrown into an angst-filled soul-mate situation that they both fight until the heroine's life is threatened. We've seen this story line hundredsthousandsof times. What puts this series a step above the average SMR series, however, is the well-developed cast of supporting characters, both good and bad. Even Lucifer is interesting. Among the Paladins, Logan seems to be the most fair minded and open to change, while Valin (aka Dark Knight) is just as tortured as Roland. He was married to Roland's sister, who was expecting their first child when the vampires murdered her, and he has lived in darkness ever since. In Deliver Me from Darkness we see him finally take an interest in life when he rescues Gabriella, a young vampire, from captivity. Future books will no doubt feature situations that force the stodgy Paladin Elders to wake up and face the 21st century.  Click HERE to go to the Deliver Me from Darkness page on where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.

            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 where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art at top left.

1 comment:

  1. I liked Tess Hilaire's world of Paladin Warriors -who are former angels that choose to become protectors of mankind and their descendants - plus vampires, demons, and a fallen Paladin who are evil, and various crossbreeds of all of the above who may or may not be evil. Since the hero Roland who is a Paladin that was turned vamp and is dead as far as the rest of his former brethren know, he's outside of the main brotherhood so there's not much male bonding or insight into the relationships and regular workings of the Paladin brotherhood yet. And actually the few views of the Paladins en masse is not wholly favorable as the heroine Karissa is a hot commodity - since she's a rare female of the bloodline - and all the Paladins want to claim her for their own.