Review: Chosen

Reviewed by Jen

The Dark Breeds series has changed a lot over the course of three books.  Or maybe it’s just that the main character has utterly transformed –from a maligned mixed breed to a goddess of the Greek pantheon.

This third installment begins with Kyana ensconced in Olympus as the new goddess of the hunt.  She is happy with Ryker and learning more about her new abilities.  Her best friend Haven is recovering from her possession by Cronus. And all seems well until Haven begins having prophetic dreams about Cronus coming back to punish his enemies and regain his power.  It turns out that Cronus is resurrecting the dead to become his minions and it’s a race to see if Kyana and the other gods can stop him before he achieves his goals.

Honestly, I think I preferred the Kyana of old. She was so damaged and gritty and angry.  The first half of this book, I just wasn’t feeling the pull.  I remember thinking to myself as I read that it just wasn’t dark anymore. Then, I swear to you, about two pages later, horrors unfold for Kyana that I never dreamed of. Things picked up at that point.  The action was fast and the team takes at least one brutal emotional hit. And yet I just didn’t love this one.  I was, indeed, shocked by the gruesome attack on Kyana and suitably saddened by the Really Bad Thing that happened, but overall, I was kind of meh on the book.

The ending felt like a series finale, but there are threads left hanging. Like how did Cronus escape the island?  (This is pretty significant, as it’s kind of the whole starting point for the book.)  Why was Henry with the bad souls? (He seemed like a good man.) And while I’m talking about Henry, I felt like there should have been more in that reunion. There could have been more emotional resonance there –and with the Bad Thing that happened.  I felt like the Haven resolution was abrupt. Poor Silas was just left hanging. I felt like there was untapped potential across the board.  And except in a couple of powerful moments, it all felt kind of superficial.

Eh. I wanted to like it more than I did.  I just don’t feel like the series ended with the same feel in which it began.  Even the romance lacked oomph, despite the fact that it finds a HEA. It’s a shame, because I liked the first two books.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Chosen
by Sable Grace
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: Bedeviled

Reviewed by Jen

If you liked Ascension, I really think you’ll love Bedeviled. It picks up right where the last book left off, and takes readers on a fast paced ride filled with action, mythology, great character evolution… and sex. What more could an Urban Fantasy fan ask for?

When we first met Kyana, she was a reviled Half Breed, part Vampyre, part Lychen. But she used her powerful skills to help the Order protect humanity, and fight the threat that the ancient God Cronus will rise again and wreak havoc on the world. But as this story begins, Ky’s identity is changing. She is evolving into the new Goddess of the Hunt, which means she is developing new powers, while losing the attributes of her other species. It’s a very difficult time for her. Ky’s entire sense of self has been wrapped up in being a half-breed for centuries. The change is shaking her foundation.

Add to that, Kyana is searching for her best friend, Haven. The former witch is now a mixed breed, since Kyana changed her over to save her life. But Haven isn’t just a powerful, unstable hybrid… she is also now possessed by Cronus, who is using her abilities to help resurrect his body. Haven is a huge target for all the Gods and tracers of the Order, but only Ky is interested in saving her life.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The world-building stays true to the first book… and it’s a fun mix of demonology, Greek gods, and various supernaturals –ranging from vamps and shifters to witches and zombies. Ky is a very damaged and complex character. And often, her internal struggle is her greatest weakness. I liked watching Ryker continue to break down her walls. Their relationship is changing and growing… and I really like them together. There’s also a great cast of secondary characters that could easily support stories of their own, like Haven, Geoff, and even Silas.

Thankfully, this book didn’t end on the same kind of cliffhanger the last one did, but there is clearly more to explore in this story. And I want to read it. If the Dark Breeds series is new to you, I strongly suggest you pick up Ascension first to get the most out of this book. 4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Bedeviled
by Sable Grace
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Avon

Review: Before the Fall

Reviewed by Jen

In this prequel to Ascension, we get a close-up look at what it was like when the walls fell between Hell and Earth. The story is told from the perspective of Zach, a retired soldier of the Order who is being called back into service to help deal with the slaughter to come. He’s being summoned to meet with the rest of the army. But before he leaves, he knows he must find Shanna, the love of his life.

Zach tried to tell Shanna about his history months ago, but she thought he was crazy and ended their relationship. And convincing her to come with him takes some arm twisting. But it’s only a matter of time before she is unable to deny what is right before her eyes. All the nightmare creatures Zach tried to tell her about are real, and they’re hungry.

This is a fast paced short story with a lot of action. And it really does a good job filling in some of world-building in the Dark Breeds universe. We’re treated to one good love scene and a pretty big cameo from Kyana, the main heroine of the series. Not bad for just 70 pages.

There was only one part that wasn’t a win for me… the plot device that cements our couple together at the end. I would have believed in their future even without it and it felt a little trite. (**sigh**) I still liked the story though. It’s worth picking up, even if you’re not familiar with the series. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Before the Fall
by Sable Grace
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Avon Impulse

Review: Ascension

Reviewed by Jen

Kyana is a half-breed: part Lycan, part Vampyre… the only one of her kind. And since the gates to Tartarus have been unlocked, she has been tracking the dark beings that have escaped and are wreaking havoc on the human world. She is part of the Order, a group of supernaturals devoted to fighting and policing those of their own kind who do wrong. Ky is a great tracker, and frankly that’s a good thing, since her job is really the only thing in her life, aside from her best friend Haven.

As our book begins, the Fates and the goddess Artemis tap Haven for a special job: to find the key that can lock the doors to Tartarus and re-imprison the members of the Dark Breed who have escaped. Ky is willing, but things get more complicated when they tell her she’ll have to work with Ryker, a demi-god who rejected her advances long ago. She is still attracted to him and feels the sting of his denial. What she doesn’t realize is, Ryker wanted her then and he still wants her now. He only rejected her proposition for a meaningless affair because he knew he needed more from her. He knew he would be the mate she wasn’t ready to accept.

There is a fair amount of world-building necessary here. We’ve got a book filled with Greek gods, Titans, vampires, lycans, zombies, mystics, and witches. They interact on earth, “below,” and in the realm of the gods. Personally, I didn’t have trouble keeping it straight. I thought it was all integrated quite easily into the story. The plot was pretty straight-forward and the characters clearly defined.

I liked Kyana. She’s tough and independent, though that comes from living a difficult life. She’s been through a lot, and it has made her strong, but also hard. Her feelings for Ryker seem genuine, but it’s clear he feels more for her. She just doesn’t know how to love someone… or more to the point, she doesn’t know how to be loved. This is definitely more Urban Fantasy than Paranormal Romance, but I found the relationship between Ky and Ryker to be book’s center for me. The action was great, but I wanted to see Ryker break down Ky’s walls. The sex was pretty good, though not blush-worthy. And I feel like they’re on the right track. But this book does NOT have a neat ending. There is a lot left hanging for the impending sequel. So don’t expect a HEA. Kyana isn’t there yet. But I’m left with the hope that she’ll get there… in time. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Ascension
by Sable Grace
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Avon