Stacey Kennedy / Paranormal Romance
Book 4 in the Magical Sword series
Liquid Silver Books / January 2011
One woman, one bond, one final battle … can even Nexi Jones defeat the deepest darkness of evil?
Meet Nexi Jones—Witch, Guardian and now, Lady of the Underworld. Embracing her new role, Nexi begins the task of changing a world led by darkness. But not everyone is happy to see her rise to power. Before long, a resistance within the Underworld is forming. As the darkness begins to close in around her, Nexi’s magical abilities flourish in response—forcing Nexi to dig down deeper into her past to discover this source and why she was gifted with such incredible strength. With her Guardian, Kyden by her side, Nexi will meet her greatest challenge yet as she begins to discover that fate might have been a bitch, but she was a bitch with a plan.
You honestly can’t go wrong when you decide to read a book written by Stacey Kennedy. I have followed her Magical Sword series from the beginning, completely becoming involved and connected with Nexi and Kyden as they’ve fought against everyone and everything that threatened to destroy all they love. The ending to The Devil’s Kiss left me in a mess of tears as the emotional climax touched my heart and so I knew… I just knew with FIRST AND LAST being the last book in Nexi and Kyden’s journey, it was going to be nothing short of spectacular. I knew that Stacey knows how to write a powerful story filled with intensity and passion so why am I sitting here stunned, tears streaming down my cheeks as my heart tries to recover and put itself back together? FIRST AND LAST is by far her most powerful book yet and I can’t think of a better way to end the series.
Straight away, I was thrown into the middle of an emotional scene as Nexi and Kyden return back to their friends in the Otherworld. Having just defeated Magnus and his claim over her, Nexi is free now to follow her heart and complete her bonding with her beloved Guardian. What she doesn’t want to do though is begin her new role as leader of the Underworld, a fact she has no trouble expressing. With Kyden by her side as Lord and her friends gathered around to support her, Nexi reluctantly gets down to business learning what is expected, appointing demons she can trust to help her in her duty. Of course, the Underworld is in uproar over the idea of a White Witch ruling them and true to their demonic nature, lead an uprising that strikes fear into the very heart of Nexi – with the goal of unleashing evil, six Demon Lords are being summoned, the most powerful of all the Devils’s followers and once they arrive, their sights will be set on destroying her. Armed with the history of the world, of the battles between God and the Devil, Nexi struggles with the knowledge that it is she and she alone that holds the power to end the threat and banish them back to Hell. With time running out, new powers surface that hold the key to her success but will she know enough before it’s too late? What do these powers mean and why has the bonding with Kyden given him access to some of her other powers? Nexi has a lot on her plate and with everything on the line – the lives of all she loves and holds dear – will she have the strength and courage to do what she was ultimately born to do?
I have LOVED watching Nexi through this entire series, to see her incredible heart, her uncertainty, her sass and her plain frustration at having to go through things that would stretch others beyond their limits. You can’t help but love and cheer for her, to laugh at the way she throws herself into some of the situations she faces. All through this book, I felt for her and could totally empathize with her wanting everything to go back to as normal as possible. Here is a character that has been challenged at every turn and has had to fight to hold onto what she loves and it has shaped her into an incredibly strong woman. Sure, she groans a lot and throws the occasional “Oh hell no I’m not going to do that” but that’s what makes her such a real character, one you can connect instantly with. Who wouldn’t be reluctant to go straight back into danger or deal with situations beyond their scope of understanding. One thing that has always impressed me but was driven home hard with this book was her incredible sense of commitment to those she loves and her decision to always put those people first – regardless of what is happening at the moment. Some of my favorite scenes in the book were where something critical was happening or about to and where you would think it was the most important, it wasn’t. For example, demons were attacking and her life was in danger. Most people would think to deal with that first but not our beloved Nexi. With a wave of her hand she freezes the threat and focuses her attention on what’s important – ripping into Kyden for acting stupidly and not trusting her LOL The book is filled with gems like this and without a doubt, she has been a character I have loved getting to know.
The only way to describe my reaction to Kyden is that he’s like being dipped into warm, sweet, seductive chocolate and then having it slowly licked off, one glorious inch at a time. His mere presence in the book is like standing naked in a field filled with sunshine and having gentle strands of the wind caress your skin. *sigh* I don’t know what it is about him but he touches me deeply and I’m sad to say goodbye to him because he has given me everything I love in the alpha males I read – heat, masculinity, pig headedness that comes from an overwhelming need to protect and a raw energy that kept me entranced. In FIRST AND LAST, there was more to the sexy Guardian as he strived to adjust to the effects of the bonding. Something that both he and Nexi enjoyed, they were now able to tap into each other’s emotions and powers. I loved how he took advantage of the mind connection they had as he stirred Nexi into a passionate frenzy that required immediate attention regardless of the serious meeting they were in. I loved how deeply he cared for Nexi, using the knowledge he gained about her to come to that compromise where he could lessen the grip he had on needing to protect her and trust her enough to take care of herself. That was such a difficult thing for him but he truly was there for her in every way, supporting her anyway he could. And the words he shared at the bonding ceremony – not only did they have me laughing one moment then sobbing the next but they were priceless. *sigh* I’m going to miss you Kyden.
I know I’ve mentioned it before but this series has a depth of emotion that I couldn’t get enough of and the experience of reading FIRST AND LAST has left such a sweet feeling in my heart and made it a series I won’t ever forget. More than ever, the importance of family and friends was driven home as scene after scene I read Nexi put her loved ones first regardless what was happening. You need to know that the ending scenes are by far some of my favorites and I actually had to step away for a moment because I was so deeply touched. These are characters to connect with, ones worthy of every praise I can think of and although this part of the journey is over, the author continues to share tales from the Otherworld with us. Make sure to look for her new book An Everlasting Bite which features Rynn and Briggs *sighs* Ahhhh Briggs *sighs again only this time with a dreamy look in my eyes* But that’s another story. Happy reading!