Series: Sentinel Wars #6
Published by berkley, Penguin, Signet Select on March 6, 2012
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Jackie Patton has been rescued by the Theronai from her captivity and torture at the hands of the Synestryn, only to learn that she's a potential match for the Theronai warriors who need a woman to literally save their lives.
Forced to choose, she unexpectedly selects Iain, a cold-hearted warrior who doesn't want to be saved. Iain is convinced that it's too late-that his soul is already as dead as his former betrothed, killed by the Synestryn. Still, he is the only one she wants. But is Iain indeed beyond saving?
I was cleaning out my shelves last night when I saw this book. I remember really being into this series. If you’re looking for PNR that isn’t your typical vampires and werewolves, then you should look into this one. A quick rundown is that these warriors who protect the earth from demons live a really long time. Their energy builds up as they age, and without a compatible mate who would link with them and help use this energy in the fight against demons, their souls will perish. They have a life tree tattoo that isn’t a tattoo it’s more of a birth mark, and as they age, it loses leaves, unless they bond with their mate. Then it grows full and leafy again.
Iain is soulless, but their customs dictate that the second they are soulless, they are taken to the slayers and put down like a rabid dog. This is because once they have no soul, they usually turn against everyone. Iain has been hiding his soulless state, and he lives strictly by his honor and rules. He’s found some artifacts that help slow down the leaves falling, but he knows it’s too late for him. He is using it to build up a band of brothers without souls who he is teaching to hide their state, but also to follow the same rules and code of conduct he uses. A few centuries back their women were all slain and they were cursed to be infertile, so they need to stop losing warriors and find mates ASAP.
Enter Jackie. She was rescued from a demon’s clutches and is still trying to find her place in this new world. She spent two years as a blood slave to the demons, but she’s trying to get her life back. However these warriors need her to bond with one of them so she can save them. Jackie wants nothing to do with this life at all. But this life isn’t done with her. She’ll never be safe from demons. They’ll hunt her down again. Her only chance is to bond and use his powers to strengthen herself.
Okay, this is getting long, I know, but you need to get a feel for the world since it’s so unique.
I had issues with Jackie at first. Not that she wanted her normal life back and wanted out, but that it took her until almost the end of the book to realize she can’t go back. I also didn’t get how Iain had no soul, but a caged monster inside that took its place? It was at first like, being soulless is pushing at all of his honor and morals, but it became a separate entity? I honestly don’t know.
The ending really had a big WTF scene, or two to be honest. I still think it was weird. Iain’s friends were all set to kill him, even though he hadn’t turned on them and he’d been soulless for years and doing fine. But then Jackie saved him by sharing her soul with him. I really wanted his brothers to see that he was a good guy and not instantly evil just because he’d lost his soul. It really didn’t sit well with me that they were all, Okay dude, you’ve been our brother for centuries, but hey, tradition and all. Let’s kill you now. Peace out bro. I like that Jackie fought for him. I’m still not sure why she needed to keep his monster? I’m still not sure why someone from his past needed to be brought back? Or at least, not in that way? And I’m still not sure why the ending felt so abrupt.
This series is good, and it’s different, and it’s compelling, but it’s not a happy series. There’s a lot of trauma, rape, (by demons), and a lot of pain. Everyone is in pain unless they get their mate. A gate between worlds was closed, so the vampires don’t have access to people of their blood which actually sates them. Humans help, but the vampires are in constant states of starvation. The warriors are always in pain from the amount of magic built up. Like bone-crushing pain. The demons are horrible and they do horrible things. I’m a moody reader-I read what I’m in the mood for. And lately I don’t want evil to feel like it’s winning. Six books in, I feel like evil is still winning. I want more happiness for the main characters. This series isn’t giving that to me. Also it’s one of those series you can’t read out of order. I skipped the last book since I don’t have it, and I was confused about some things.