Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: Awakened (Eternal Guardians #8)

DAMON – For twenty-five years he’s served as a plaything for the gods. With no memory of his past, he has no way of knowing if this is his ultimate fate, but he senses there has to be more to life.

Damon’s hope for more comes in the form of the Sirens’ newest recruit. Elysia is unlike any trainee he’s ever met. Not only can she remember where she came from—an ability the Sirens block—but she has an instant connection to Damon, one he’s never felt and doesn’t understand. Soon Damon is willing to do anything to have Elysia. Even risk the wrath of the gods to break her out of Olympus so he can keep her for himself.

But Damon’s past isn’t a mystery to everyone. Evil forces are at work beneath the surface, and before long, Damon realizes that the connection he shares with Elysia isn’t a random coincidence. His fate—and the darkness it brings—was cemented long ago. And when it is finally revealed, no one will be safe.
Themes:  paranormal, Greek mythology, magick
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
I have been looking forward to the continuation of this series, but I didn’t realize until I’d begun reading it that it was actually a huge jump in time from the previous stories in the series.  The series has jumped ahead 20 years until the children of the original Guardians are now the main characters.  Elysia is the daughter of the Queen and her Argonaut and she has grown into a lovely but stubborn young woman.  Fans of this series will be pleased to see how happy the men and women we fell in love with in the previous stories in the series have been in their twenty years of peace, making babies and living life to the fullest.  This story is one that was seriously heartbreaking and reminded me that no matter how well intentioned a person might be in the way they live their lives, more often than not, we are all pawns in the machinations of those with more power than us. I loved reading this story and cannot wait for the next full length novel to be released.  If you haven’t read the previous stories in the series, you will be missing out on a lot of the subtext in this story, but overall you’ll get the info you need to appreciate the greatness of this series and the awesomeness of the characters and their creator as well. 
Elysia is running from the future her parents have planned for her when she finds herself pulled into an age old feud that could cost her life, unless she is able to prove that she is more than just a pampered princess.  Dropped alone on the island of Pandora, Elysia must prove her ability to survive in the most inhospitable place in all the realms, and if she survives her hell will have just begun as she begins life as a trainee in the Order of Sirens.  Ill equipped but determined to survive, Elysia works her way through her assigned tasks until she suddenly finds herself faced with a sensually and deadly man—an injured man—that she is immediately drawn to and works to save.  Damon is a trainer in the Siren program and a salve that has no memory of his original or previous life, but when he claps eyes on Elysia he knows she is someone that he has to get to know better.  Constantly pulled apart and then coming together again puts immense pressure on their emotions but soon there is no denying that they are meant to be together.  But escaping Olympus will only cause more problems and sooner or later the chess game that is going on with their lives will have to come to an end.  The question is will they survive the game and if they live through it, will their relationship survive the trauma that the truth causes?
Elysia was a great character and I found myself more and more interested in the way she was able to overcome challenges. In the beginning she seems like a spoiled princess, no pun intended, and she is running away from being forced into an arranged marriage.  But the more you get to know Elysia the more you can see she is a very determined and intelligent woman, one of those ladies that have a true backbone under all the beauty of royalty, which isn’t hard to believe knowing who her father is.  I also loved how once she gave her heart and soul to her man; nothing could bring her to believe that he would ever betray her.  She gives her all to her relationship and even if it means losing her life to keep her love safe she is willing to sacrifice.  Damon is an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle, when we first meet him.  He seems so nonchalant about his life as a slave to the gods, but the more you get to know him you understand that his hatred for them runs deep, but his intelligence keeps him from rebelling until just the right moment.  Even though he doesn’t realize it, Damon is a missing piece of the Argonaut family and once he is brought back into the fold his life changes forever.  But the forces that draw on him, using him for their revenge, places not only his life, his soul, and his love in danger but always pose a threat to the entire universe.  I loved seeing Damon overcome adversity, and his determination to keep Elysia alive no matter the personal cost.  Elysia bring out the light in his soul and she really is the only person that could truly destroy the man he has become. 
Awakened is the story of two people truly coming into their own and finding their place in the world, individually as well as together.  Their love was a powerful force, strong enough to overcome years of forced amnesia and the loss of an identity that means everything to them.  I loved seeing Elysia come into her own, both as a woman and as a warrior, and finding her true place in the world thanks to Damon.  Her destiny to become queen someday is cemented and there is no denying she will be just as great as her mother before her, after all a woman that has found, lost and rescued her soulmate from the hands of a god will make an unstoppable ruler for her people. Damon has some serious issues to overcome, there is no denying that, but once he finds his way with Elysia’s help, Damon becomes the truly great man he was always destined to be and I immensely enjoyed watching him find his way. The passion between these two explodes from the second they come within viewing range of one another and the heat is enough to burn to world to ash.  I never imagined where this story was going and to me that’s the sign of a truly great author, because though I might have had inklings of some things, the surprises and twists never ended.  I am looking forward to whatever comes next and can’t wait to see more of the children of my favorite Argonauts come into their own. I have read very few series able to successfully make this jump to the next generation, but I can say without any doubt that Elisabeth has done it and done it well. 

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

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