Saturday, November 17, 2012

ARC Review: King of the Damned by Juliana Stone - 5 Wine Glasses!

King of the Damned (League of Guardians, #2)King of the Damned
(League of Guardians #2)
by Juliana Stone
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2012 by Avon
ISBN 0062102311
ARC Courtesy of Edelweiss
For millennia the struggle between light and dark, between the upper and lower realms, has been policed by a secret group of warriors culled from every fabric of existence. They are both otherworld and human, male and female. They are light and dark themselves and known to each other as the League of Guardians. Their pledge, to protect the line between dominions and make sure neither side grows too powerful. If they fall, so shall the earth, the heavens and hell. And there will be no more.
With darkness all around him, The League of Guardians is his only means of redemption…
Azaiel, the fallen, has been given a second chance to atone for the sins of his past. With demons gathering and threatening the league, he must find out if their circle has been breached. What he doesn’t foresee is a woman—a fierce warrior—who will turn his world upside down and awaken his tortured soul.
Rowan James is a powerful witch out to avenge the death of her beloved grandmother, but she needs an ally. Will she be able to trust a man with secrets as dark as the sorrow in his eyes? Loving Rowan means risking salvation and yet Azaiel cannot ignore the hunger burning hot between them—his one last chance at happiness. With danger all around them, will these two desperate souls finally find love in each other? Or be forever damned…
Pre-Order at Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble and The Book Depository 

Crystal's Thoughts:
If you're looking for a sexy paranormal romance with an edge of danger and suspense then look no further, Juliana Stone is your woman!

Following the events in Wicked Road to Hell, Bill, the leader of the League of Guardians, has sent the Seraphim, Azaiel, to investigate the death of a witch and find out if a traitor is behind her murder. Not everyone in the League is happy with who Bill picked for this assignment but Azaiel arrives in Salem determined to find answers.
Rowan James is a powerful witch, maybe the most powerful of all, but she is followed by a dark curse that has plagued her family for centuries. Returning home to Salem after six years away, Rowan finds her grandmother brutally murdered and a stranger in her house. And in the midst of Rowan's grief, demons attack, forcing her to put a being she doesn't know or trust at her back.
Rowan and Azaiel must band together to find the answers they seek and Rowan knows that to defeat the demon that hunts her, she cannot do it alone. Calling in her coven, hunters and two sullen Guardians, they prepare for Sahmain when it will come down to either the demon's life or Rowans. But as an impossible connection kindles between Rowan and Azaiel, Azaiel questions whether he'll be able to fulfill his duty. Even if they succeed in the end though, he knows that a relationship between a witch and a Seraphim is damned...

I absolutely loved Azaiel and Rowan's story and it really surprised me that I found it even better then Declan's (Wicked Road to Hell) because, hello, Declan! Hold on, I can't even say that hot piece of sorcerer meat's name without drooling. *wipes chin* Okay, and we're back...King of the Damned blew me away with its non-stop action, intrigue and all that delayed gratification of lust just oozing from our main characters. I was seriously feeling frustrated along with Rowan every time the brakes were hit. Rowan is a warrior all the way though. She is strong willed and kick ass, but she's not stupid and recognizes right away that she needs help to defeat the demon. She's a heroine that I could easily get behind. The dialogue between her and Azaiel is really fun and entertaining because they're both born alphas so naturally butt heads. But Azaiel knows that this is Rowan's fight and backs her up, the perfect Robin to her Batman. Readers first met Azaiel in the Jaguar Warriors series, books two and three, where we learn why no one trusts him and resents his involvement in the League. But despite the other Guardian's attitudes towards him, Azaiel is never bitter or brooding over it. This was a breath of fresh air for me because I have found, in the paranormal romance genre especially, that most heroes carry a huge chip on their shoulder with a past like this. But Azaiel accepts the blame for his actions and instead of being resentful about it, works hard to make up for them and prove worthy of that second chance he was given. Azaiel is also pretty oblivious to his many...charms, which makes him even more of an endearing character. Rowan and Azaiel made a perfect fit for each other not only because of their combustible chemistry, but because Rowan and Azaiel have both done things in the past that they need to atone for in order for others to trust and respect them again.

The world that Juliana Stone has created in The League of Guardians is constantly evolving with each book and I never know what otherworld creature to expect next! A colorful cast of characters in King of the Damned, consisting of not only Rowan's family, or coven, but the League as well as a few others, kept the plot moving forward at a fast and entertaining pace. I'm chomping at the bit for more and can't wait for the next installment. Rowan's brother, Kellan, and the Dark Fae really piqued my curiosity. And Priest, oh Priest, me thinks I have found another book hunk to add to my harem... In the meantime though, I vote for Leroy the Donkey having his own little short story! Another extraordinary read from this author, Juliana Stone is truly a rock star in the romance world!

Despite King of the Damned being the second book in a spin-off series, Juliana Stone weaves bit's of Azaiel's past throughout the story and more towards the end so new readers don't feel left out of the loop, but if you would like the full story on Azaiel then I would recommend reading His Darkest Embrace and His Darkest Salvation from the Jaguar Warriors trilogy. However, you can jump right into King of the Damned without reading Wicked Road to Hell with no problems.

Rating: 5 Wine Glasses


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