Wednesday, August 18, 2021

TBR Challenge: Elisabeth Naughton - Wicked

Zagreus—Dark, depraved, cursed. In every way the Prince of Darkness.
Then he found her.
She was his salvation. His sanity. His strength. The only constant in his immortal life. Even when fate ripped her from his arms, he always found her again. But five hundred years has passed since her last death, and with no sign and no guarantee she’ll be sent back, the darkness inside him is swirling out of control.
Then fate drops a female in his path. One with violet eyes he’s sure he’s looked into millions of times across multiple lives. Talisa may be the daughter of the Eternal Guardians’ leader, but Zagreus is convinced she’s the missing half of his tattered soul. He doesn’t care that she doesn’t remember him. He’ll never let her deny that wicked-hot connection still sizzling between them.
This time, Zagreus is willing to risk everything—his present, his future, his destiny, even war—to keep her.
Because this time, even if he has to hold her as his prisoner for all eternity, he won’t lose her again.

Comment: No wonder time seems to fly! It's time for another TBR post and this month the chosen theme is "author with more than one book in TBR" and I could have picked one of so many but decided to go with a PNR series I follow. I chose this because I have other things by the author but this book is the latest installment in the series and this would allow me to be updated on it.

In this 9th book the adventures of the Argolean Eternal Guardians carry on, now with the children of the original characters already grown up. Talisa is the daughter of the couple from book #1 and when the story begins she is annoyed at not having been accepted to be a warrior, even though she has the marks, like her father, making her a true Argolean. While trying to come to terms with it, Talisa visits a bar usually attended by all kinds of supernatural beings and there she is mesmerized by a man that entices her, not knowing he is Zagreus, a constant enemy of her family.
Zagreus, too, is mesmerized for he believes this woman to be the reincarnation of his beloved, and he decides he will not lose her out of sight. But when Talisa's cousins try a rescue, things go terribly wrong. Will it be possible for them to reach the goals they need?

This is a series that, by this point, doesn't make much sense if one hasn't read the previous installments. Several things can be inferred by context and some information is shared in all the books but there are several nuances that can be lost and a lot feels confusing...I have read the books and time apart between releases is enough to make me forget some details, which is why I recommend this series should be read in order.

I think this had all the necessary ingredients to be a good paranormal romance. There's adventure, a world filled with mortals and gods and special powers, secrets to uncover, a romance between supposed enemy sides and enough secondary hints about other characters which makes them feel like friends. There's also what seemed to be a hint about whose might be next and the way things ended feels promising for another good novel.

Since I have liked the series, these elements seem good to me and while reading I managed to remember several things from other books but it's true time makes one forget a lot... the plot of this one isn't too complicated, at its base it's only about a rescue and what goes wrong/different in the process. Of course, as the Guardians try to save Talisa, they learn interesting new information, especially about the gods, which are based on Greek myths, and the surprises some hid. There's a revelation close to the end which was hinted at but when told it makes some information more relevant in previous books too..

The main characters, Talisa and Zagreus have different backgrounds and to be fair, this whole "reincarnation" tactic only seemed necessary to explain the obvious age difference between them. I mean, in the big scheme of things that's not even an issue, for this is PNR and usually most rules don't apply but the age difference here isn't as much maturity or common interests, it's actually about the fact they should be too different to make it work but, of course, they are soul mates! This should not be an excuse but it makes it easier for the author to bring them together.

Talisa I found a bit annoying.. a little too entitled even if her behavior didn't always show it. I can't explain but she read to me as any other PNR heroine and I wasn't too sold on her personality. Zagreus, for more than one reason, is the one going through the biggest evolution and I did like what the author thought for his character. The best thing about a romance is to see how they become better people or special while together and, in this regard, I think the result was positive for them as a couple.

I thing there some irritating issues, namely regarding how things happened so that a new story can (probably) happen next but the Greek myths twists and situations impacting the characters made for it and I had fun wanting to know what and how things would happen next. It was obviously great to have scenes with previous couples and characters and see how they sort of are now, which is even funnier since some are now parents.

I wouldn't say this is always the most stable series, meaning some books aren't as great, but overall I believe this to be a good series, solid enough to keep the interest as it moves along.
Grade: 8/10

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