Series: Guardians of Hades
Author: Felicity Heaton
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: November 26, 2016
Publisher: Felicity Heaton
Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Fire, Ares was banished from his home by his father, Hades, two centuries ago and given a new duty and purpose—to keep our world and his from colliding in a calamity foreseen by the Moirai.
Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence. Caged by the manifestation of his power, held apart from those he loves by his own fire and starved of physical contact, Ares lives a cold existence driven by duty and the desire to return to his world.
Until his world collides with a daemon who steals his power and a mortal female who shatters the ice around his heart and awakens the true fire within him—a soul-stirring passion both dangerous and seductive.
Megan has wandered far from her home, driven from everyone she loves by the devastating realisation that she is different to them all. Unsure who to trust in the world, she keeps to herself, until a fateful stormy night brings a temptingly handsome warrior crashing into her life and into her heart—a warrior who seems to hold powers more frightening and marvellous than her own.
When the New York gate comes under threat, and Ares is put to the test, will he choose his duty and regain the power he needs in order to save his world or will he choose the desires of his heart and sacrifice his fire so he can be with the woman becoming his whole world?
The daemons in New York are getting numerous, cocky, and stronger. And one of them just got away, but Ares, one of the seven sons of Hades, tasked with protecting the seven gates to the Underworld to prevent this world colliding with the "other", is determined to find the bastard and do what he does to all the daemons—dispatch him.
Unfortunately (for her mostly), Megan gets in between. Stuck in the middle of the fight, she had no idea what's going on, except for the fact neither of the two fighter is entirely (if at all) human. But she's willing to trust one of them, the one who saved her life and is now unwilling to let her go, despite his brothers' obvious animosity.
War is brewing, that's for certain, and now certainly is not the optimal time to lose his power to a power-sucking daemon, but Ares is fully prepared to make lemonade from the lemons Fates have given him. After centuries of no contact due to his volatile and fiery power, he can finally touch again. And the woman he wants to touch is more than willing to let him. But sooner rather than later, he will get his power back...And then what? Before meeting Megan, there would be no choice between his power and touch. Now, it is looming on the horizon and he knows he'll have to choose. And the choice of touch is oh-so tempting...
This was a definite improvement from the PWP that was Her Dark Angel. The premise was good, and so was the world-building...Although I couldn't shake the been-there-seen-that-read-that feeling. What is it with most paranormals these days involving some sort of end of the world scenario or another? Yes, it's a great creator of conflict, agency, and plot twists, but come on, the trope is getting old and stale with seldom a spark of originality to light up the darkness of rehashed plots.
The characters and their characterization have also improved significantly from the aforementioned story, although the melodrama (in both their musings and ruminations about the other) definitely needs to be cut in half (or more). It got old pretty fast...And boring...And repetitive.
Speaking of repetitive, the story would've benefited from some serious and ruthless editing. The hero went on and on about how he didn't have a choice, but he wanted one, how he was lost without his power, but liked not having it...Rinse and repeat.
The heroine went on and on about how lonely her existence had been until she met the hero, how hot he was, how she couldn't resist him, how she should resist him, how he only wanted her because he could touch her...Rinse and repeat.
The brothers went on and on about how Ares was weak due to the loss of his power and even weaker due to the mortal woman, how Esher (or whatever his name was) abhorred the humans (without explanation why—it's not a cliffhanger if it drags on too long and becomes boring!), how some of them couldn't touch anybody and so resented those who could...Rinse and repeat.
And the repetitions about the brothers' quick temper, how their eyes were their barometers, how Ares went all gooey and tremble-y whenever Megan was near, how possessive he was because it obviously runs in the family, blah, blah, blah, blah, really started to annoy me.
And because of all those repetitive fillers, the pacing severely suffered. I'm not talking about the usual ebb and flow of a story, but more of a record-scratch, pulling-the-parking-break, screech-to-a-halt because of the poor editing choices kind of pacing problems.
The action scenes were good (although slightly rehashed, again), but instead of building on the intensity, of keeping and/or speeding up the pace, Ms Heaton decided to stop the flow completely by going into either melodrama and/or repetition (see above) or throw in a sex scene on a bike in the middle of Tuscany (while the other sex scenes went well with the story and provided the necessary ebb-and-flow without calling a halt to all proceedings, that last one was rather redundant if you ask me, and made the scene that came after seem out of place and "staged").
This stop and go was jarring and truly made me want to skim the pages until the story picked up its pace again.
It definitely had potential, and because of that potential (and the premise of the overall series arc) I'll probably read the next one in the series as well (although I found the hero of the next one to be quite an asshole). I hope not to be disappointed.