Shannon K. Butcher / Paranormal Romance
Book Four, The Sentinel Wars
Review written for The Romance Reviews
For nine years, the Sentinel Nika has had one goal-to save her younger sister from the Synestryn who hold her captive. Now, the psychic bond Nika forged with her sibling on that terrible night is fading, and time is running out. But the one man who can unlock the power inside her may be the greatest danger to her.
I remember when I first found out about this series I was so excited because it contained one of my favorite things when it comes to romance - the alpha male. The author does such a wonderful job in creating stories about these strong and powerful warriors and pairing them with women who are by far their equals. When I saw Living Nightmare was due to be released, it was a no-brainer that I would buy it the second it hit the shelves and devour it. I'm glad I did because not only was this edition to the series exciting and filled with action but it was the best by far when it came to the Alpha male and his leading lady - Madoc and Nika.
There are so many variations out there where the male struggles with the battle within himself and needs to find the one female in the entire world that can quiet that torment and restore peace to his soul. I love the author's version where she gives her warriors life marks in the form of trees on their chests that over time begin to lose its leaves. With the falling of that final leaf, the warrior is lost and his life is forfeit. The only way to save him, the only way to restore his life mark is finding the woman who helps make him whole. As a hopeless romantic who thrives on those kinds of sentiments, this book had me in total heaven and there were many points throughout the story where the only sounds you could hear were of me sighing heavily (in a happy way).
I loved the two main characters of the story, Madoc and Nika, and it was incredibly easy to feel a connection with them and the struggles they were going through. Madoc simply blew my mind with just how far gone he was and straight away, I wanted to reach out and find a way to help restore his gentler side. He was a tortured soul who had come to the point where he just didn't care and knew sooner or later, he would cross a line and hurt those around him. The author wrote him in such a way that my first thought was there wasn't enough good qualities about him to redeem him, but occasionally I would see a small glimpse of decency and the more exposure he had with Nika, the more she was able to influence him. The more time they spent together, the easier it was to see that Madoc was in fact an incredibly passionate man who still had a lot to offer the world. When it came to Nika, he never thought he was good enough for her and worried that if he made any room in his life for her, he would ultimately destroy her.
As Madoc developed throughout the story, I loved seeing him rein in all his aggression and instead use it to protect and love Nika. For me, Madoc is my favorite kind of hero because despite the odds, he was able to rise above everything that would destroy him and became an amazing character. He was still a little rough around the edges but that's who he was and I couldn't stop smiling.
It's so important when creating characters that play love interests, to make sure that regardless of how different they are, they balance and complement each other. Nothing makes me sadder than reading a book where there is a very obvious inequality to the couple and I'm left wondering why the author thought they should ever be together. Madoc was an extremely strong character and so it was important that Nika would have her own way to match that and she did it perfectly. Nika had gone through so much in her life and overcame the torture of being mentally connected with the monsters of the story.
Through the help of Madoc and loved ones, she had slowly regained her mind and transformed from a weak, frail woman to one who was able to speak her mind and go after what she wanted. I loved that she set her mind and heart on Madoc and regardless of how gruff he could be, she showed courage and great patience in letting him know that she loved him and that she would do everything she could to protect and save him. For all the stubbornness of Madoc, Nika brought her own to the relationship and all throughout the book I cheered for her. Where past experiences would have broken anyone else, they only made her stronger and more capable to defend herself. I loved that she didn't allow herself to be weak and that she fought for everything that was important to her.
One thing I found interesting as I read this book, and also from the other books in the series, is the author doesn't solely stick to the main characters' story but weaves in other subplots. You're able to gain insight into the other characters within the Sentinel world and there were quite a few side stories in Living Nightmare that I wish more time was given to explore them because they had me incredibly curious to see what would happen next. A few times, I felt there was a little too much going on and I would definitely suggest readers start at the beginning of the series and read the books in order because without prior knowledge of the characters, it would get a little confusing. But even after saying that, the author writes her characters in a way where a connection is easy to make and you're pulled into the story.
Reading this book was a great experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had no trouble being able to imagine what was happening and my emotions were almost immediately involved. For those who love their romance with a tortured bad boy, this is definitely the book and series to read. I can't wait for the next installment. Happy reading!
What Kind Of Review Can You Expect?
If I could describe what kind of reader I am, I would hands down say I was an emotional one. When I read I want to fully experience the book, from the emotions coursing through the characters to reacting to the twist and turns of the storyline. I'm looking for those books that fire up my imagination and leave me breathless when it's over. It's for this reason why the reviews I write aren't so much what I think and are more on how I feel. My hopes in sharing my review in this way is that something will spark an interest and have you wanting to have the same experiences. This isn't to say I don't have issues with grammar, word choices etc. Trust me I do and most times all it takes is waiting for the story to grab hold for it not to matter. When I do include things about what I thought about the book (for example I've included comments about word choices and being too descriptive), I only do so because it directly affected how I felt. I hope this helps. Enjoy!