Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's Treasure: Surrender to Darkness by Annette McCleave

ISBN: 978-0-451-23193-2
ISBN-10: 0-451-23193-7
Publisher/Imprint: NAL ~Signet Eclipse
Release Date: 01/04/2011

Jamie Murdoch is an immortal demon fighter with a Norse “berserker” curse that sparks an uncontrollable rage.  Because his latest rampage injured an Ignoble, he’s sent on a goose-chase of a mission to Japan to secure a dark relic that no one is sure actually exists.

Kiyoko Ashida, schooled in the ways of the onmy­­√≤ji, has dedicated her life to fighting evil. Near death after a failed attempt to save her dying father, Kiyoko uses the Veil- a relic her family has safe-guarded for generations, to sustain her life-force.

When Murdoch comes looking for it, Kiyoko learns that the cloth she’s always believed to be something good is actually a weapon that dark forces could use for evil purposes. She’s torn between surrendering the fabric to a delegate she knows can protect it and forfeiting her life.

To complicate matters, Murdoch’s berserker reacts to her in an all-consuming possessiveness that she would like to explore. Only he forbids any touching between them for fear of setting off his berserker and killing her.  Now he’s located the dark relic, Murdoch will have to harness his desire, find a way to safeguard the Veil and keep Kiyoko alive before a fallen angel rips it away to destroy the world and Kiyoko with it.

Once again, I’ve jumped into a series out of sequence. Surrender to Darkness is the third installment in the Soul Gatherers series by Annette McCleave. Her website at www.annettemccleave.com allows readers to peruse terms common to the series world building and blurbs on the individual Soul Gatherers.  I recommend those new to the series check it out before delving in. 

I enjoyed the intermix of the Japanese culture and a creative paranormal mythology. Since I’m familiar with martial arts terms and Asian culture in respect to martial arts (because dear hubster is such a fan), I didn’t need to reference the glossary at the back of the book. Good thing, because I didn’t realize it was there until I got to the end.

There are a few jarring pulls, places where the POV changes to introduce new characters and the story location shifts outside of the hero and heroine’s awareness.  The first time this happened, it was disconcerting. Since this is the first book I’ve read in the series, I’m not familiar with the ancillary cast of characters. To fans of the series, these unexpected POV changes may not seem as abrupt. By the end of the story, I understood what the author was accomplishing with these switches; however, as a new reader to the series I wished that the transitions had been smoother.

The relationship between the hero, Murdoch, and a secondary character- Emily (who seems to be the thread that weaves the series together) isn’t fully explained in this installment. Perhaps that ground work was laid in a previous book, but the explanation of the close relationship they share in this story didn’t quite materialize.

There is a lot of sexual tension between Murdoch and Kiyoko. In fact, it seeps from the pages. Considering all the delicious build-up, I expected an explosive climax that rocked the rafters. Unfortunately, the long awaited consummation didn’t live up to the hype.
In spite of that little disappointment, I enjoyed reading Surrender to Darkness and will gladly venture into the Soul Gatherers series.

Gold Coin Rating:  3.3
Heat Level:   2 (Candlelight)

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E.C. Smith said...

Thanks for the review, Kristal Lee. I've read the first book in the series and enjoyed it. I will make sure I read them in sequence, though as you suggested.

Have Mercy! Killer Reviews said...

That was an insightful review. Thank you for the add as well! I love your poage.

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