Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Marked

Marked (Eternal Guardians #1)

by Elisabeth Naughton 


THERON—Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.
From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.
She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.
As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


I really enjoyed the first story in this new (to me at least) series about the magical world revolving around the descendants of the ancient Greek heroes—the Argonauts.    This was my first time reading anything by Elisabeth Naughton and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing and her vivid imagination.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of this series to learn more about these Heroes.
Theron, leader of the Argonauts and direct descendant of Heracles, is a very sexy guy that is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  On orders from his king he is going to marry the princess of his people, though he doesn't want to marry at all.  When he travels from their isolated world to bring the princess back he runs into a captivatingly beautiful and stubbornly disobedient woman.  After she saves him from and attack by demons and certain death, bringing him to her home to recover, he is instantly and insanely attracted to her.  When he is healed enough, he immediately flees back to his homeland, but when he arrives things only become more complicated for him.
After Casey’s run in with the gorgeous and obstinate Theron, she is stunned to find him back on her doorstep a few days later.  She too felt the insane pull toward him, but resisted his allure and when he fled her home convinced herself she’d only imagine d the strength of their attraction.  But when Theron returns he changes her entire life.  Dragging her into the middle of an epic battle between the Argonauts, a demon, and the gods, she’s sure she’ll never be able to return to her normal life again.  As they work together to find a solution to all their problems, the heat between them is undeniable.  Giving into their lust leads them deeper into the inevitable love that will shape their futures and the futures of their people.
Theron and Casey are both wonderful characters.  Theron is a very loyal and devoted warrior, who has to this point never questioned his ultimate reason for being.  He is to follow his king’s orders to the best of his ability, leading his men against the demon horde, and making sure that his people are kept safe.  Lust and love have never come between him and his duty.  But now that Casey has entered his life, he’s beginning to doubt his commitment and questions the orders that his king is giving him.   Theron’s love for Casey finally turns him into a man instead of the machine he’s been since his birth. 
Casey is a wonderful character as well. She’s alone in the world, having lost everyone else in her life, including the recent death of her aunt.  She’s always felt like an outsider and when she learns from Theron just who she really is, her feeling of separation makes perfect sense to her.  Theron is the catalyst for Casey embracing her inner strength and loving him makes her see that her wants aren't the most important, that she can serve the greater good. 
Emotions run high in several parts of Marked, leaving you feeling a bit like you've been on a roller coaster with lots of heights, dips, and turns.  The ending of the book felt just right to me.  Had the author been less talented the ending could have turned out to be a bit contrived, but the writing and plot development left you feeling like everything ended just as it should have from the beginning, even though you didn't think it could happen.   Being the first in the series there was a lot of world building and meeting side characters but the vivid details and interactions with the main characters don’t leave you feeling like they were just there to be set up for future books.  They were supporting roles that were needed for Theron and Casey’s story to be at its best.
For being a first novel in a new series, I must say this book was beyond my initial expectations.  Theron and Casey were both great characters and I definitely was thrilled that they got their HEA despite all the forces working against them.  The rich imagination and world building was thorough and great for a mythology fan like myself.  I knew right away who the characters were descended from and what aspects of their personalities came from those ancestors.  It was intriguing to me the way the Argonauts were part of this world, but still separate and how the half-breeds were sometimes just as or even more powerful that the full blooded decedents of the heroes.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the books in this series and finding out how the Princess’s deal with Hades and Persephone will play out.

Rating: 4 stars

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