Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bound By Darkness by Annette McCleave

Soul Gatherer Brian Webster has long lived with the guilt of his failure to save his teenage sister. When another girl dies in his arms as she protects an ancient coin from a demon, he takes up her cause. The coin is one of thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas. United, the coins are a dark relic of immense power, and in the wrong hands, they could destroy civilization.

Lena Sharpe is on her own mission to find the Judas coins. A Soul Gatherer by day and a thief by night, she's negotiated the most important deal of her life. When Brian intervenes and kidnaps her to obtain the coins, she attempts to escape. But the brazen warrior is unrelenting, as he is fearful that the beautiful felon has made a pact with the devil himself. And he's not entirely wrong.

Bound together by burning desire and a similar darkness in their hearts, they race against time to recover the missing coins. But as the truth behind Lena's bargain surfaces, Brian is faced with a desperate choice: save one or save many.

My Thoughts:
Throughout the book (that took me almost 2 months to finish) I was so frustrated with, what I thought as, cheesy dialogue. I had trouble seeing the connection between the two main characters too. Having read the first in the series I knew the background. It's about gatherers who collect the souls of the recently departed for Death, herself. They entered into a contract when each of them died for the period of 500 years. The series is based on Good vs. Evil with archangels, demons, Satan, God and a whole lot of religion chatter. Nothing as exacting as scripture quotes and I highly suspect that much of the stuff within the book is fictionalized (it is a fiction novel after all) but I got easily bored with it all. This book is about a bunch of coins that if Satan has them in his possession he can cause thousands to suffer on earth. I never really understood why. He had roughly half of them (there was something like 36 of them) but when a character within the "Good" camp accidentally destroyed one of the coins the rest of the coins "inherited" it's power giving Satan more than 50% control (it felt very big business takeover-ish to me). So the Gatherers need to make sure Satan does not get the rest of the coins.

So, Lena (a Gatherer) found them and plans on handing them over to Satan's minions for her own reasons (which we kind of learn why throughout the book but not specifics until close to the end). Brian (another Gatherer), who fell for Lena on sight, believes she has motives that are not purely selfish even though she doesn't confide in him....about anything. I hated their romance. I never warmed up to them. I hated Brian's "Babe" term of endearment for Lena because it reminds me of how much I hate smarmy men in bars who try to pick up women by calling them Babe or Baby and every time he said it I had this going through my head "My first name ain't baby. It's Janet. Miss Jackson if you're Nasty." which really pulled me out of the story.

The swearing in the book was not on every page but when used it also pulled me out of the story because it seemed so unnecessary. At one point one of the characters used the big ole "C" word that we women hate with a passion. He was referring to another man being one but it was still jarring.
I also didn't like the names. Weird I know. I am so used to unusual names when it comes to paranormal heroes that Brian Webber just didn't scream "Save me you hunka hunka magic man!" Others might find the average Joe name refreshing but to me it brought pictures of pocket protectors and chess games to mind.

The Gatherers have magic too to fight demons when they collect the souls (because demons are also trying to get the souls to add to the army of the underworld or something.) I just don't understand where they magic comes from. They recite incantations and poof they have shields that stop demonic fireballs, mostly. Anyway, they talk a lot about training but this part didn't really get discussed on how they do it. Do they have a book on it or what? I don't know. Lena ended up using magic chants from ancient Egypt and paying prices for the help to those gods during battle. I didn't understand that at all since they are Gatherers who work for Death who essentially works for God (she hates Satan). So the Gatherer's powers have to be connected to God. Not sure how Lena was able to tap into the ones she did. It kind of explained a bit about which god she had help from (she didn't exactly say they were gods either by the way I just interpreted it that way) but I'm still confused. Also it seemed that the only magic the gatherers had (except for Lena) pretty much was to make shields which didn't stand up to more than a few fire balls honestly. You would think that they would be far better equipped to fight demons than a with a sword and a magic shield.

Now that I have gone on and on about what I didn't like I have to say there were some highlights. Thank goodness otherwise this would have been only a 1 Star read.

1--The secondary characters were very interesting. Specifically Carlos, Emily and Murdoch. Despite my irritation with this book I will read the next book because it's about Murdoch and I'm hoping for more storyline for Carlos.
2--The fighting sequences were actually entertaining. Somewhat thrilling and exciting. There were a few of them and I wish there were more. It would have made the story go a lot faster.
3--When Brian comes clean with Lena about his addiction it was a rather touching scene. It was the first time I actually viewed him as a hero and a tormented man which was a good thing. 

I have to say that without those last 3 things this book would have been horrible for me. As it turned out they made the book bearable and brought my thoughts and feelings about the book to a 3 Star rating. I will continue with the series by reading the third book in the series (since I already bought it) but if it turns out to be 3 stars or less I probably will not read any more books by Annette McCleave.

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