Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Shadowed (mild spoliers)

Shadowed (Dark Protectors #6)

by Rebecca Zanetti 


Jase Kayrs was the fun brother. The warm, charming, easy-going brother of the vampire leaders. Until he was taken and tortured by demons with their evil mind tricks for nearly five years. Upon his return, he’s dark, violent, and not the man they all thought they knew. Not the man he once was. He’s haunted that the only reason the demons would have let him live was to use him as a weapon against his family—but he can’t figure out when or how he’ll explode. Plus, once again the demons are after Jase with a vengeance…or rather, a female demon he rejected is out to destroy him.
Then the king asks Jase for a favor…a big one. To mate with one of their allies in order to save her. She’s everything that’s good and light in the world…while he’s at home with darkness. Yet he agrees…knowing mating may be the only chance to save them both.
Themes: vampires, witches, shifters, paranormal
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Honestly, I just don’t know where to begin with this review.  I have been looking forward to reading Jase's story for so long, wondering and anticipating who his mate might be, and never expecting this turn of events.  I was thrilled when I finally got the chance to read this story and thought I’m sad it is over, I can say I LOVED this story every second my nose was stuffed in the pages. The series, to this point, has taken a long time; I think the overall storyline is a twenty or so year gap from book one to this one, but the time has been filled with war, chaos, alliances, betrayals, and the love that conquers it all.  Jase being the last of the Kayrs brothers to get his story signals to me a coming end to the series and though that makes me a little sad, knowing that this fabulous family will have peace again soon gives me a happy feeling in my brain and heart. While Jase’s story is on the heavy side with a lot of issues being dealt with for both Jase and Brenna, the love they find in each other and the healing that comes from that love gives the story a heartwarming angle that was unexpected, what with all the war, death, and psychosis being dealt with. If you haven’t read the previous stories you will definitely be lost, but Zanetti writes with enough flair and skill that you will find yourself engrossed regardless.
After being held captive for five years, Jase is not the same man anyone remembers, least of all his family, or the woman who once had a crush on him.  But when Jase comes to Brenna with a chance to regain her strength and perhaps find a measure of happiness as his mate, what’s a girl to do other than reluctantly accept his offer.  Though Jase has his own motives for offering to mate with Brenna, there is no denying the heat that she kindles in his body or the emotions that she brings to the surface.  She is a light to his darkness, even when he knows that darkness has consumed him.  Working together to try to find a way to keep Brenna safe, and possibly save the world from imploding on her birthday, Brenna and Jase quickly develop a deeper connection, one that could keep them both safe or could destroy them both in the end. 
Brenna is a character that has always intrigued me a bit, one that we have met in the past, but never really gotten to know as more than the miraculously born eighth daughter of a seventh daughter—something that is unheard of in the history of Witches—and Moira’s little sister.  Her strength has been waning for years since she was poisoned with the only substance known to be able to sicken witches.  She has been battling it with every method, both scientific and magical, but she is losing the battle and only by regaining her strength before her birthday can she have any chance of averting a disaster prophesied to be caused by a combination of extraordinary events culminating on her birthday. Thought she has never believed the prophecies, others do, and the factions both for and against her have placed her in danger more times than she can count and mating with Jase might be the best way to get her life back and have a future.  She has had a crush on him for years, but never imagined she’d have a chance with him.  Even knowing the practical nature of their mating, she quickly begins to fall for the dark and scary vampire and protecting her heart becomes her new life goal.  But most importantly she has to save him from the darkness he has descended into so he has a chance to recover his loving and light nature.
Oh what to say about Jase.  He was once such a light and joyful guy, even as he was a trained killer and soldier, finding happiness in the smallest of experiences and the love of his family and friends. But all that changed when he was kidnapped and tortured by the demons.  Though he was rescued by his family he has not really recovered and doesn’t really want to heal.  He lives only for duty and vengeance now, for the chance to take his revenge against the sick demons that tortured and twisted him and ruined his family.  Even mating with Brenna is just another weapon for his quest for vengeance, believing that by mating with her he can regain his gifts and even earn some of hers so he can wreak havoc on the world. He never imagined that he would feel anything again, much less the love he begins to feel for the sweet, slightly naïve, and loving Brenna.  Brenna gives him the chance to change, to become a man worthy of her and though she is way too good for him, Jase begins to work toward becoming that man.   When the chance for ultimate revenge comes along, his only thought changes to keeping his mate safe and finding a way to heal for her.  Finding his true nature and becoming again the man he was becomes possible in the light Brenna shines on his life.
Having said all that, I can say for sure this book is full of some serious drama; kidnappings, betrayals, battles, escalations of the war, changes in the entire world of the Realm and even the chance for peace in the near future.  The war is definitely winding down and we get hints that soon the end will come one way or another and it will come down to the three kids we have been watching grow through the entire series: Janie, Kalin, and Zane.  Jase and Brenna’s story gives us hope for change, even as the war continues to wage, but their mating certainly has quite the impact on the world.  I loved seeing Jase face his demons (no pun intended) and finally find the healing he has needed, as well as finding the love he buried deep for his family and being able to give that love to Brenna.  Seeing Brenna come into her own was amazing as well, because though she has been declining in health for several years, she never stopped hoping for a cure and a chance to regain her powers, and boy howdy does she get her power boost at just the most important time. Brenna and Jase’s passion burns up the pages whenever they are together, even if they are just sniping at each other or challenging one another’s dominance, but my favorite parts are when Brenna pulls the sweet side of Jase out to play.  The love that they discover for one another is one that will lead to many happy years for them and will give them both the confidence to tackle any challenges or defeat any enemies. I am seriously looking forward to whatever comes next in this series, but most notably I am looking forward to finding out what happens in the ultimate battle to win the war.  I have never found a Zanetti book or series I didn’t enjoy, but Jase’s book pulled on every emotion and reminded me why I became such an avid reader almost a decade ago. 
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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