Embrace of the Damned
One of the best parts about reviewing books is discovering new authors. Sometimes I pick a book and it takes me a while to motivate myself to read it because I am just not sure I am going to like it. When the book that I was procrastinating on ends up being a great read, it reminds me why I love to review books and learn about new authors I would otherwise have passed over.
Embrace of the Damned is the first in Anya Bast’s new Brotherhood of the Damned series. This book features Broder Caulderson, a Viking berserker who has been damned by the god Loki for the sins he committed in his human lifetime. Broder has been fighting the Blight in an attempt to stop their apocalypse against humans. During that time, he has never been allowed to feel emotions or to have relations with women. But Loki promised him that after he serves for one thousand years, he would be rewarded with a woman who was made just for him. Jessamine Hamilton is that woman.
Jessa is at a point of crisis in her life. She has lost her beloved aunt and as she cleans her aunt’s home, she discovers that her past may not be what she thinks it is. In this time of personal turmoil, she gets attacked by a demon twice, saved by a guy who looks more dangerous than the demons, and finds out she is really a witch. As her crisis turns into a complete tail spin, Jessa wants nothing more than to depend on Broder, but knowing that she can’t keep him forces her to hold back her emotions.
Though the relationship between Broder and Jessa seems to jump from lust to love rather quickly, some of it can be excused because the two were clearly soul mates created one for the other. Broder’s tough demeanor hides a true gentleman and his attempts to do small and thoughtful things for Jessa show his nature. Jessa handled the total restructuring of her life well, but not so well that it was unrealistic. Instead, it showed her as a strong willed character. The two spent more time than I would have liked keeping secrets when a simple chat could’ve smoothed things over considerably. But the pace of the action in the book made this a minor annoyance, not a serious flaw.
The major concern I had with the book was the ending, which of course, I can’t share. I thought that things were, at the same time, tied up too easily and left hanging. Although this is a series and it is clear where the next hero can come from (Broder has a group of Brothers who must be screaming for HEAs), where Broder and Jessa can fit into that series is a mystery based on the conclusion. I will be anxious for the next installment to see where the Brotherhood goes from here.
I can see a lot of potential in this series. Jessa and Broder’s story kept me reading long after the clock said I should’ve been sound asleep. If the ending was a little unfinished, it just gives me an excuse to get my hands on the next one.