Born in Blood (The Sentinels #1)
Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.
Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally.
I just love getting to start an all new series, especially one by a favorite author, don’t you? Never one to disappoint, the new Sentinels series, by Alexandra Ivy is no less than genius. The imagination of a wonderfully talented and well spoken author is taking us in an all new direction on a new journey through the magical reality of witches, psychics, necromancers, and most importantly the Sentinels who keep them all safe. There was in fact a short preview to this series in the anthology, Predatory, but even if you haven’t read it you will find yourself wrapped up in these people and enjoying every second. The Sentinels series is an all new adventure in the world of Ivy, one that I find myself dying to continue to experience.
Duncan is a dedicated police officer, one that has dragged his hung-over butt outta bed to report to a grisly murder scene, one that requires the expertise of the sexy and sensual Callie Brown to solve. When Callie is endangered by her trip through the murder victim’s memories, Duncan decides it is time he steps up and makes his interest in Callie known, while providing her the protection and assistance she needs. Callie on the other hand is determined to solve her own problems, but is more than willing to give in to the passion that Duncan pulls from her. When the danger around them intensifies and the fate of the world depends on Callie and her ability to stop a dangerous megalomaniac from trying to take over the world, Callie decides that the broad shoulders Duncan offers her are just the place she wants to lose herself. The ultimate battle will be one that only Callie can fight, but having Duncan at her side will be the difference between failure and victory, if only he can keep her safe long enough to tell her his true feelings.
Callie and Duncan are both intense characters, each with their own issues and their own desires for their lives. Duncan is certainly an arrogant and charming SOB, one that had lost his belief in love, but is certainly willing to indulge in the heat that burns between him and Callie. He has never been able to deny his desire for Callie, but there has always been something keeping him from making that final step to claim her, but he is unable to resist her any longer. Callie on the other hand has been denying her feelings for Duncan from the beginning of their acquaintance, but she is seeing an all new side of the arrogant and sexy cop now that they are working together. Callie is a very intriguing woman, she has the power to see into the minds of the dead, but dealing with the living is a bit more difficult for her. She has been ostracized all her life, even by the other high-bloods where she should have been accepted, but when she opens herself to Duncan she find the connection that has been missing from the life. Working together they can overcome any obstacle, whether from the outside world or their own fears, and that unshakable faith in one another is tested in a big way when their world begins to unravel.
The fiery passion between Callie and Duncan burned up the pages from the second they were together. Their individual natures seem to complement each other and allow them to come together in the perfect combination or strength and vulnerability, courage and fear. When Duncan allows himself to accept that there might be more between them than just fabulous (and boy howdy I do me FABULOUS!) sex, the connection that develops is one that I can see lasting for a lifetime. Callie is one of those girls who has accepted what her lovers have offered in the past, never seeking to forge a true relationship, instead just sharing a moment without any chance of a future, but with Duncan she finds she can’t accept that. Together they cruise right into an intensely emotional and physically demanding liaison, that neither of them is willing to give up, for which I am very grateful. Though there were certainly challenges to face on the relationship front, they both forged ahead and demanded nothing less than everything from one another.
As a beginning to a new series there was certainly a lot of world building, with new types of beings described, associations introduced and prejudices expressed. I will say that I am sad to see the portrayal of a good bit of the "norms" in the story as being so hypocritical and bigoted, but I am certainly not surprised, as many of the people I personally know would more than likely take a similar view. Duncan and Callie’s story is one that I enjoyed on many levels. Seeing them kick the butt of a seriously psychotic megalomaniac and his twisted sidekicks was thrilling for me as I always love seeing good triumph over evil, especially with the teamwork required of Duncan, Callie, and all their friends. I will say that the villain in this story chilled me to the bone, not because he was a terrifying beast, but simply because of his twisted psyche and the pure evil I could tell had invaded what might have once been his soul. A very well written bad guy to be sure, though I’m not really surprised. Also getting to see Callie and Duncan each grow in their powers and accept the truth of their magical strengths was a great way to show their personal growth. Of course, the relationship between them could never be underestimated; full of heat, emotion, and the everyday silliness of a new beginning, I loved every second of Callie and Duncan’s private moments. I also loved the little side stories with hinted romantic entanglements between a few of the characters, it's killing me to find out just who’s story might be next. If you haven’t read anything by Alexandra Ivy, I strongly suggest you run to the store or click in your favorite e-reader and purchase, Born in Blood, the moment it hits the shelves.
Rating: 4.75 stars
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.