Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review: Unchained

Unchained (Men in Chains #3)

By Caris Roane


Stalked by a vampire. Stolen in the night. Seduced by a lover. Anthropology student Shayna Prentiss wakes up to find herself trapped in a world she never knew existed—with a man she cannot escape…nor resist.
Drawn to her beauty. Driven by lust. Doomed by his destiny. The vampire Marius knows he must bond with this captivating mortal with hidden powers…or both their races will be destroyed forever.
Bound by a blood chain that seals their fates together, Marius and Shayna must stand and fight the ultimate enemy—a madman hell-bent on destruction who will test every ounce of their strength, their power, and their passion. When the final weapon is unleashed, will their love remain unbroken? Or will darkness shatter their chains…for eternity?
Themes: vampires (both good and bad), Magick
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating:  
I have to say I have had mixed feelings about not only this author, but also this series in the past, thankfully Marius and Shayna’s story was awesome and I am looking forward to more great stories in this series in the future.  Though there was a conclusion for the major battle and that overall story arc, I am hoping the series will still continue in another direction perhaps. The previous two novels in this series were good, but they were missing a little something and Caris seems to have found it in this third story. That being said there is no doubt that Ms. Roane is a gifted writer and a woman with a very fluid imagination.  Her attention to details, world building, and dramatic flair is wonderful, though in previous novels there seemed to be a lack of romance between the lusty H/h’s, but that was not to be found with this novel.  Throughout this story, the characters developed a depth and emotion that was a bit lacking previously and I thrilled to see it.  Marius and Shayna’s story was often heartbreaking and just as often sweetly fulfilling and the love that develops in the end is lasting and obviously destined. 
Marius has finally escaped from under his father’s evil thumb and is able to embrace his chance to bring that bastard down, but he needs the help of a human woman, Shayna, to find the weapon his father seeks. Shayna is ripped from her world and forced to face the truth that has been hidden alongside the human realm since the beginning of time, but the most startling realization is how attracted she is to Marius, a man who isn’t quite a man.  Unwilling to give up her goals for her life, Marius has to show her the true extent of his father’s ruthless evil so she will help the vampire nation to defeat this dictator, but even though she gives in to their need, she knows she will have to return to her world soon. The passion between them leads into uncharted territory as she begins to have deeper feelings for Marius and finds herself wondering if they could have a life together.  When the long awaited battle between both sides of the battle is fought, will Marius be able to keep Shayna safe and by his side? Or will they forever find themselves separated by their desires and destinies?
Both Marius and Shayna were great characters, though for vastly different reasons.  Marius was a devoted brother and defender of his people from the time he and his brothers escaped the disgusting hands of their sadistic father.  The guilt he has carried that entire time has kept him from entirely embracing his powers and keeps a distance between him and his brothers.  It was terrifying to see him relive the torture at his father’s hands and I cried a lot for him in those moments, but the strength of character that keeps him from becoming like his father is not to be overlooked.  His gentleness and understanding when dealing with women in general and Shayna specifically shows that even though he is a ferocious fighter, he uses his strength and skill to protect others and keep them safe especially from his father’s twisted plans.  I loved seeing him come in to his own and embrace all his strength in order to rescue Shayna and find a way to finally kill that bastard Daniel. His obvious verve for life stems from being tortured and trapped as a child and seeing him share that verve and passion with Shayna as she learned more about his world was magical.
Shayna however is a bit socially stunted and has gotten herself into and thankfully out of a bad relationship because of that.  She has dedicated her adult life to the study of cultures, both modern and ancient, and has never really found her match in a man, at least not until she meets Marius.  Though he lives in a deadly and dangerous world, his world also has many beautiful parts and she is infinitely intrigued by the new world she’s moving in. Burned by her last lover, Shayna finds it difficult to trust her instincts with Marius, but as she sees his true kindness and nature she knows there is no way she can resist him.  But even though she is falling for him, she is determined to return to her life and academic future.  While I was sympathetic to the issues she was dealing with, Shayna bugged me a bit here and there, but maybe because it was anathema to me that she wasn’t immediately willing to help the tens of thousands of women being held as slaves by the evil Daniel.  Once she comes to her senses and embraces the mission completely, I began to like her and her intellect and wit reminded me a bit of one of my friends so ultimately I couldn’t help but like her, even if I didn’t always get her.
Action-packed, full of plot twists, and awesome world building, Unchained, is a story of a man with a mission to rid his world of evil and find peace for himself, his brothers and his people. Marius is one of those tortured alpha heroes that you just want to drag to bed, wrap yourself around him, and keep him safe from all the emotional damage that can leave a person broken, but he’d fight you ever step of the way (well once he got what he wanted from you in bed). Driven by guilt and a need for atonement, he is the man that will forever battle those that seek to take advantage of those weaker than them, and his passion for retribution carries over into other parts of his life.  Shayna is a bit of an egghead, often getting wrapped up in her own thoughts, but she is a good person and in the end almost pays the ultimate price to keep her new friends and family.  Both of these characters are loving, strong, determined, and smart as hell, leaving no doubt that they are going to defeat their enemies, no matter how long and how many deaths it takes. Well written characters, both hero and villain, interesting side stories and lots of sexy love scenes round out this paranormal masterpiece and make you wonder just what else the author might come up with in the future.  Unchained may well turn out to be the end of this series, but if so, it certainly is going out with a bang.

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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