Monday, May 11, 2009

Review: Burning Alive by Shannon K Butcher

Title: Burning Alive

Author: Shannon K. Butcher

Published: May 2009, Onyx (Penguin)

Number of Pages: 358

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: The Sentinel Wars #1

Why This Book: Read the excerpt (here) because I saw the pretty cover on Kmont's blog and next thing I know I'm buying it! *dang kmont*

From the Author Site: They are the Sentinels. Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes--the Synestryn. Now, one warrior must fight his own desire if he is to discover the power that lies within his one true love...

For too long, Helen Day has been haunted by visions of her own death, surrounded by flames as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her across a diner, she attempts to flee--and ends up in the man's arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine.

The instant the Theronai warrior Drake touches Helen, the anguish he has borne for years fades away. He is determined to know why this beautiful, fearful woman has such power over him. The answer lies in his very blood--and in Helen's as well. For together, they may become more than lovers--they may become a weapon of light that could tip the balance of the war--and save Drake's people...

The Cast:
Theronai: One of the Sentinel races. All Theronai men absorb magical energy but cannot channel it. A Theonai woman can channel the power from their bonded man. The build up of power slowly kills the men's souls over several centuries and when their souls die they loose the ability to tell right from wrong. The rate of soul death in different for each man. The men are also are born with a lifemark, a giant tree tattoo, which a visual gauge of their souls health, the more leaves the tree has the better the soul's health. Two centuries ago most of the Theronai women were killed and the men became sterile. Zach, Thomas, Nicholas, Paul, Angus are some of the Theronai warriors. Jacob Rayd is their leader. Gilda aka Lady Grey is a Theronai woman.

Sanguinar: One of the Sentinel races. They blood drinkers and cannot be in sunlight. They are also the most powerful healers among the Sentinel races. They have been starving for centuries because the strength of the blood they have had access to is not strong enough to satisfy their needs. They are working on a mysterious project called Lullaby. Logan is one of the Sanguinar. Tynan is their leader.

Gerai: Not sure if they are the third Sentinel race or not. They are basically descendants of humans and Athanasians. Athanasia is the world the Sentinels are protecting and earth is the only gateway to Anthanasia.

Synestryn: Monsters, demons, whatever you want to call them. They are the bad guys that want to conquer Anthanasia. They come in many different forms. Each has its own strength and weakness. They can only come out after sunset and usually den in caves, abandon mines, etc.

Helen Day: All her life she has had a vision of her death. That of being burned alive while a man watches her with a smile. One day she meets him in a diner and is promptly kidnapped by him and his friends.

Lexi: Waitress at diner and Helen's friend with a mysterious past.

Miss Mabel: An unfortunate senior citizen. Helen's friend and fellow abductee.

Drake Asher: A Theronai warrior. While on a hunt he meets Helen and when he touches her the all his pain disappears. When he stops touching her all his pain returns. He doesn't know why this happens so he kidnaps her.

Review: The story grabs you at the beginning with the chance meeting of Helen and the man who Helen thinks will be her murder, Drake, in a diner. But rest of the book just didn't seem to be as engaging. As far as plots go, it was okay. Hero meet heroine who is his "savior". Hero abducts heroine because he needs her. Heroine learns she is "gifted" and "saves" hero. And as far as the greater plot, it isn't all that original either: supernatural warriors, with problems, must keep supernatural monsters from invading/taking whatever they are protecting. But all that taken into account, the story was still interesting enough to keep me entertained.

The world building was okay. There is a lot of information to convey. But the way it was presented was a bit confusing since we get bits and pieces from each character and that made it a bit disjointed. I felt like I was missing something. There is a lot going on and there are definite mysteries that I hope will be explained in the future. Given all that, I'm not sure how it could have been better presented. Maybe if the story hadn't skipped around to so many different points of view it would have been easier to absorb.

What I liked best: I think its the Lexi subplot. Lexi is one cool customer. A petite package of dynamite waiting for her fuse to be lit. She has a mysterious past and it involves the Sentinels somehow. I hope we see more of her in the future.

What I least liked: Sibyl the foreseer. I really hate the whole child prophet route. I also hate the mysterious prophet too.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: An interesting read once you get your head around all the information presented. I'm looking forward to the Zach/Lexi story.

Grade: B


orannia said...

Thank you Aymless! Hmmm...this post has inspired me :)

And KMont is sneaky like that, subtly introducing you to book covers and the like :)

Aymless said...

Kmont is nearly as sneaky as KB when it comes to books.


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