Reviewed by ShellyI couldn't wait to read the second story after reading the The Charmed, the first book in this series. Although this is a connected story, you can definitely read it independently of the first, so don’t let that stop you from enjoying a very good story.
In my review for The Charmed, I said that this isn’t the typical vampiric retelling and thank goodness Wenrick didn’t make a liar out of me. She does an excellent job of continuing along that line and not falling into any stereotypical traps. This book had me laughing out loud, sniffling – okay maybe full on crying would be more descriptive-- and yes, even gasping in shock about the surprises.
As I re-entered the world of the Dhampirs, vampires, and humans Olivia’s story continues with a dare – learning to use her skills as a Charmer and a Dhampir to protect herself from the things that go bump in the night (and sometimes the day) in order to return to her only love, daywalker Caleb Wolfe. For her to do that, she has to be separated from Caleb and reside at a safe house for training. Assigned to her training is human Guardian, Alec Lambert, mortal enemy of Caleb. Yikes, you can imagine the tension that creates. It’s all good though because Olivia is the beneficiary of all that tension.
Wenrick doesn’t pull any punches in this story. By page nine, I had to stop reading to get a box of tissues – dang it! After Alec takes Olivia to a safe community, The Oracle, she has a chance to settle in and train. During her time there she also finds about quite a lot about her old and new family and meets some new friends along with some new enemies.
What I liked about this story was that not once did I feel sorry for Olivia. She never had a moment of self-pity and that whole woe-is-me attitude. She did a remarkable amount of growing --not just the physicality of her training-- but her emotional maturity was by far her greatest improvement. She started seeing herself as what she is - a Dhampir, half human and yes, half vampire. It was wonderful to witness her acceptance of her vampire side without compromising or denying her human side. Well done there.
Oh, that male hotness that is Caleb – I could hear the growl that just rolls through his frame. Grrr! He’s come a long way with words, he’s using them more and more and guess what? He’s very good with them. Oh yeah. There were a few moments when I just wanted to reach out and give him a big hug (and let’s be honest here – I wouldn’t mind giving him a few more things, if ya know what I mean).
The other members of the Walker Coven are back. Jax Walker, head of the Coven is still impressive in every possible way. He’s a great influence on all the other members of the coven. There were a few times that I just wanted to beat him down for not giving it up to Gemma, but he comes around to my way of thinking just in the nick of time. We get to find out a bit more about Gemma and her quirks. She adds a nice dimension to the storyline.
Olivia’s Guardian Alec is unequivocally my favorite character in this story. Maybe it’s because he and Olivia are together so much and we find out that Alec is what is termed as a ‘good guy’. He’s honest to a fault and loyal until you prove that he shouldn't be. Gotta love it! The other characters, some new some returning, are all part of Alec’s circle: Alec’s Uncle Reese Lambert, one of the Elders at The Oracle; Lucas Rayner, the foulest mouth Guardian around; Phinneas, Maya, Gideon, and the unforgettable horndog, yet pleasantly perverted Kane. I’m looking forward to reading more about all of these characters in the next book.
There were some sex scenes between Olivia and Caleb, and for me they were well paced and not gratuitous in any way. This is a definite recommend and I’m anxiously awaiting Book 3.
Happy Reading Folks!
*Book provided by author for review
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Charmed Soulsby Christine WenrickRelease Date: November 22, 2012Publisher: Red Tree House Publishing