Order of the Blade, Book 1,
Stephanie Rowe, March 2012I confess to this being my first Stephanie Rowe book despite the poking and prodding by Jenn to "read her right now!". I can now say this is another series that goes on my must-read shelf. Darkness Awakened is the first in the Order of the Blade: Primal Heat Trilogy and I have plans to read every one. Now, understanding this is the first book in a series, there was a lot - a lot - of world building that left my head spinning at times. Didn't love that aspect but I did accept it as necessary because this is a unique world that demanded explanation.
The Calydon Warriors are a band of warrior brothers - strong, loyal and super alpha. Right now, their mission is to stop those attempting to free evil into the world they are bound to protect. They each hold unique personalities that entices the reader to want to know just what kind of sheva would bring them to their knees. Sheva, you might ask? That's their one destined woman (their mate) who is both drawn to him but will be led to ultimately destroy him - and also the one part of the story that confuses me and makes me less than happy.
First comes the part I love though - where the hero, Calydon Warrior Quinn Masters, feels this immediate connection to Grace even from miles away. Grace Matthews is an Illusionist, shunned because of her powers that she doesn’t even know how to control until Quinn helps her embrace them. From the very first moment, their attraction begins building and doesn’t let up even once - it's deliciously intense. They're drawn to each other, craving the intimacy only mates can provide through a soul connection.
Now, here's the glitch... Calydon Warriors go rogue when they meet their sheva. When Quinn tells Grace about the legend and she comes to understand she is his sheva, she refuses to believe her destiny is set. They are both determined to break the curse but Quinn has to convince his brothers in arms he is not going rogue. In fact, Grace can help them on this mission. It seems ridiculous to me that these warriors sworn to protect the innocent would be compelled to kill an innocent just because they are one of their brother's sheva. They do it in the name of honor but oh, please I say. These men are simply afraid of allowing any emotion to play a part in their decision-making. In my head, it all boils down to these warriors afraid of the L-word... love.
With that set aside - because even this didn't ruin it for me - Rowe's world is fantastical with plot twist strong enough to give me vertigo. Such unique elements as the tattooed weapons on the Calydon Warrior’s arms, the magical Illusions blend to create this incredible world readers can become lost in. The unpredictability both intrigues me and leaves me slightly off-kilter, a feeling I don't often embrace but for this series, I'm in for the ride.
RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
This book was given to us by the author for an unbiased review. Many thanks.
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About the Author:
Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is a nationally bestselling author of more than twenty books. She writes romance (paranormal, suspense and contemporary), as well as teen, pre-teen and motivational nonfiction. A life-long reader, she began crafting stories at age ten, but didn't realize it was her dream until she was an adult.
Once the light dawned, she immediately left behind "work" as the world defines it and went to "work" as she defines it, which means getting up every morning with a smile in her heart so she can spend the day doing that which makes her spirit sing.
Stephanie believes in learning to listen to your heart in order to figure out what your dreams are, and then opening yourself to the inspiration that will direct you there. She believes we all deserve the right to enjoy life, and for the ride to be as easy as we want it to be, and that we all should accept nothing less than making our dreams come true.
Stephanie lives in New England, and spends every day doing her best to fill it with people, observations and activities that uplift her soul, which include writing, tennis, friends, and her amazing family