Immortals: The Awakening
When I realized that the author of the third book in the Immortals fantasy/paranormal series was the same Joy Nash who wrote two books set in the unusual and not often used time period of the Roman Empire, I boo-hoo’d a bit at the loss of another historical romance author to the paranormal romance bandwagon. However, while Nash has shed writing in uncommon time periods for the moment, she hasn’t shed her solid storytelling skills and has penned a great paranormal romance in her most recent book, Immortals: The Awakening.
The world is in terrible straits. Death magic has surpassed life magic. Undead creatures born from death magic have multiplied alarmingly. Vampires, zombies, and golems boldly roam everywhere and attack everyone. Violence and vandalism are on the rise as well as drought, flood, and famine.
Christine is a painter eking out a living selling watercolors to tourists in Rome. She is also a powerful witch. She doesn’t usually associate with other witches, but now has decided to seek them out. Christine finds and joins the Coven of Light, a group of witches and creatures of life magic amassing to fight the forces of death magic.
The Coven asks Christine to find Kalen, an Immortal Warrior. Long ago these immortal men protected the human race during its infancy. They are extremely powerful and strong and wield magical weapons and powers. When she uses scrying to find him, she winds up supplanting the body of the woman to whom Kalen is about to make love. Kalen is puzzled as well when he finds himself holding another woman in his arms, but then Christine quickly disappears and returns to her original location while Kalen’s lover reappears in his arms.
From the information that she gets from her encounter, Christine finds Kalen in Scotland. He is in the company of that same lover, and Christine sees the other woman surreptitiously perform a spell that would conjure up a demon. Using her magic, she stops the woman. Leanna, angered by the interference, uses her magical powers and fires at Christine. Kalen intervenes between the women and to save Christine from Leanna’s wrath, opens a portal in space and spirits Christine away.
Kalen has lived 3000 years so far of an immortal life. A tragedy seven hundred years ago imposed on him a terrible punishment. He has felt helplessness and shame ever since. Part of the punishment means he could no longer respond to the call of the Immortals; he could no longer help humankind. Christine restores his faith in himself. It was wonderful to see this powerful, proud warrior show vulnerability. And to see that after all the many, many, many women during these millennia, yet never feeling love with any of them, he finally experiences love with Christine.
Christine has less emotional depth than Kalen, but she is still an appealing character. She is feminine, brave, and strong-willed. Two years ago, she stopped using her magic since it brought about a betrayal for her and the death of someone she loved, but now she’s willing to use it if she can to help save the world. She gives Kalen forgiveness and helps him to feel released from the guilt of his tragedy.
This book is fantasy romance done right and done well. Battles with demons and other evil creatures, magic blasting everywhere, and walk-ons from a variety of supernatural creatures made turning the pages very enjoyable. Plot twists and turns, the characters scrambling out one perilous situation only to land into another, romantic drama, and the imminent risk and danger of the world falling to the forces of death magic, kept the story exciting. The identity of a major supporting player was a fun surprise, and the Big Secret concerning Kalen had a satisfying explanation when later revealed. Ms. Nash wrote some very nice love scenes, and I felt she showed a real emotional connection growing between Christine and Kalen. Nash also impressed me by giving Kalen a deeper character growth, a realization and progression toward becoming a better person, something that occurs all too little in romance fiction.
The only real strike against this book was a coincidence that was one too much and unnecessary to the story. Otherwise, Immortals: The Awakening was great, delivering an exciting, action-packed plot and a sexy, tender romance. With two B grades at AAR to her credit already, Joy Nash is shaping up to be a Buried Treasure, but I hope that she does not stay buried for too long.