Sunday, February 14, 2010

Immortals: The Reckoning by Jennifer Ashley, Joy Nash and Robin T. Popp

Rounding out the stories of the Immortals universe is this collection of three short stories from the Immortals universe, pairing up secondary or tertiary characters from the Immortals stories.

Wolf Hunt by Jennifer Ashley tells the story of Logan, a Packmaster wolf from a werewolf pack. He used to serve a Werewolf named Matt, but he didn't support all of Matt's ideas, and when Logan's mate decided she preferred Matt to Logan, Logan knew that she was a user who wanted to foment chaos in the tribe. Instead of challenging Matt and fighting him to the death, which was what his mate wanted, Logan left and walked away, leaving Matt's future in doubt and the tribe divided against itself.

But when his old pack attacks and hunts Nadia, a minor demon, she calls on Logan for help, and he discovers a plot to bring him back and kill him to help Matt to keep his stranglehold on the pack. But what will happen when Matt and Logan finally square off- can Matt actually defeat the much stronger Logan without resorting to some kind of trickery? And can Nadia prevent herself from aiding the man she has come to love?

Blood Debt by Joy Nash reunites Leanna, an elven muse, with Jackson Cabot, a former artist turned into a vampire by Legrand, an old, extremely powerful and cruel vampire. Leanna has been imprisoned in Hell and escaped thanks to her brother, Mannanan Mac Lir, and regained her youth due to spending time in Annwyn, the land of death. But Jackson, who was alternately drained and inspired by Leanna, blames her for himself being caught by Legrand and turned into a vampire, then tortured and tormented by his sire.

Now, he wants to kill Legrand, and he wants Leanna to be the one who does it. She has forsworn her Muse magic, and no longer wants to be the death of anyone- her time in Hell has shown her that. But when Legrand takes action against Jackson, who she still has feelings for and is attracted to, can resist coming to his aid and helping him take down the sadistic Legrand?

Beyond the Mist by Robin T. Popp has Jenna, a witch who believes she was responsible for the death of her parents. When Sekhmet gives Poseidon Jenna's name as someone to punish in exchange for the life of her grandson, she truly believes Jenna killed her parents. But Jenna's roommate Dave, who has long loved and been attracted to her, goes after her when she supposedly wins a free cruise on Poseidon Cruise Lines, thinking it sounds like a bad excuse to kidnap women for the sex slave trade. Life on the cruise seems fine at first, but there is a man named Conrad who shows an unhealthy interest in Jenna.

Dave tries to protect her, and when Poseidon realizes that she is innocent of her parents death, he gives her one chance to save her dead sister's soul and undo time so that she never lost her sister. But what about Dave, who loves her and whom she loves as well? If she gets to reverse time on her sister's death, will she ever remember loving him, or will their relationship evaporate like mist?

Again, I hadn't read the books that many of these stories spin off from, but I found them interesting and entertaining. I actually found myself getting more interested in the last two stories than the first, even though I had read another book by Jennifer Ashley right beforehand. All three of the stories were fine, but I just liked the second two better, even though I rather enjoyed the visuals of the first story best, especially Nadia's demon form, which is sort of like a dark angel- white skin, triangular face, completely black eyes and black, feathery wings.

The strange thing was that people reject her for how her demon form looks, but as described, I thought it sounded lovely. Strange, but lovely. If she'd had horns and scales, I could see why people would reject her, For her form as described- not so much. Wouldn't it be more of a challenge to write a romance for someone who wasn't pretty? Ugly girls need love too, you know.

All three stories were pleasing and satisfying, but nothing really truly spectacular. all the characters who find love here were secondary characters in the books that featured them, and it was actually a little annoying that we never find characters who are happy being alone or unmarried/unmated. Silly of me to expect in a romance novel, but still-it almost reminds me of how people who are happily married find the need to match up their unattached friends- apparently in their belief that no one can be happy alone. I get the whole "revisiting the stories of characters you enjoyed", but to me it smacks more of unashamed greed (How much more money can we get out of people who enjoyed this series?) or the "we must match everyone with their perfect/destined mate because no one could ever be happy alone!" I enjoy romances as much as the next person, but I am perfectly happy being alone in real life. So, another book I'd recommend, but nothing that set the fireworks off for me.

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