Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.
As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.
I enjoyed book 1 of this series but this book ratcheted up both the tension and the overall arc to give me something that exceeded my expectations. I like the curveballs and the danger that Chase and his crew keep getting hit with. I like the expanding arc and that the bad guys are pretty darn bad. I like that Chase is so everloving clueless about what’s happening to him. Sure, I wouldn’t mind him asking for help a little more often, but that’s one of the things that makes Chase… Chase.
Speaking of Chase, the poor guy’s still reeling from his loss and all the revelations about his father. Suddenly he’s got a bagful of new magic to learn about, an enemy that can invade his dreams and a bunch of pissed off supernaturals who want what he’s in possession of. I can see how that could, maybe, kind of, be tough on a guy. Still, he does what needs to be done when he’s called and that counts for something.
I’m not going to lie, I like the shapeshifter dynamic. To start with, Rayna’s dealing with some pretty heavy issues as her beast tries to claw its way out. It’s not pretty and the danger factor is through the roof. Chase’s attempts to help her aren’t getting the job done and when they do end up accepting outside help it comes from someone with the potential to be a great ally. I also enjoyed our (somewhat brief) glimpses of life inside the werewolf packs. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of those guys. Hey, I’m a lover of all things werewolf. If they’re furry, fanged and swayed by the moon they get a big thumbs up from me!
Highly enjoyable with the type of bloody action that I get a kick out of, M.R. Merrick’s imagination is a brutally wonderful place. Chase’s continuing journey should prove very interesting.
As an aside, I know people say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that jazz but I totally do. And this one? It hits the spot. It’s making my inner cover whore sit up and squeal even now.