Forged of Shadows
I love paranormal novels, but I must say that it’ll be nice when there aren’t quite so many paranormal series out there. Forged of Shadows is the second novel in the Marked Souls series. While it was entertaining enough and didn’t have much to detract from it, I wasn’t exactly impressed either, and wouldn’t offer it up as a recommendation.
Jilly has always been trying to save people. Unfortunately, she’s just been fired from her position at a halfway house for youth. The bad keeps coming when she’s accompanying some of her former charges through some dark alleys and comes across some freakish monsters that appear to be a mish-mash of a bunch of different animals put haphazardly together. As she’s trying to face them down, a tall, lanky man wielding a giant hammer pops in and quickly dispatches the beasts. When he reveals that he’s been following her because she’s about to be possessed by a demon, she figures it’s right on par with the way her life’s been going.
Jilly doesn’t want to have anything to do with Liam, the supposed leader of a league of repentant demon-possessed fighters, but the crazy man will not go away. He explains that she’s been marked by a demon and he needs to stick around until the demon ascends and officially takes up residence in her body. If everything balances out nicely, and she survives the ordeal, without going to the dark side, she’ll join his group of warriors in the fight against evil. There’s one problem: Jilly didn’t ask for any of this and she’s not one to take orders. She proudly proclaims that she’s a rebel, with her spiky blue hair and rude in-your-face persona, and she’s not going to be told what to do by anyone.
Destiny keeps intruding and forcing Jilly’s hand as she and Liam realize that they are mated and their bond could help save or destroy the world. Despite her completely cantankerous attitude, she actually wants a relationship with Liam, but wants him to want her for her and not for what she, or they, can do for mankind. Liam is all about the mission and protecting the league in any way necessary. That’s apparent right from the get-go as sex is a surefire way to safely tame the demon during its ascension and ensure a harmonious balance within the possessed person. So, Liam rather reluctantly accepts his role in saving Jilly by taking one for the team, so to speak. The required sex was a bit of a cop out for me and seemed to be used simply to force these two characters into a relationship without having to actually develop one.
My biggest issue was with the action scenes and the paranormal world. There seemed to be an odd mixture of vagueness and too much detail. For example, there are lots of terms, so many that there is a glossary, but it didn’t seem necessary to have so many. Rather than enriching the text, it just bogged it down. There’s the possessed talya, the possessor teshuva, the newbie tyro, the other realm tenebrae, along with the tenebraeternum. The fact that they all start with a ‘t’ doesn’t help matters. So that’s the detail-heavy side, but when the action picks up, things get vague. Often, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, especially physically, or how they were using their powers. I could have done with more physical doing than raising a hand and somehow sucking energy into oneself. Not that that’s not an okay way to deal with evil, it just needed some more explanation, so I could understand it better.
Ultimately, I didn’t have a problem reading Forged of Shadows and it was at least a bit above average. But the heroine was too snarly for my taste and the romance didn’t do anything for me. Because the paranormal aspect of the story also fell flat, I won’t be recommending it.