Title: Exiled (The Protector #1)
Author: M. R. Merrick
Publish Date: August 27, 2011
Pages: 288 pages, e-book
Reviewed by: Isalys
Reason for Reading: E-book provided by author for review purposes
Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped.
Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the others life depending on it.
Merrick offers us a fresh, new take on an old concept. Chase, our male lead was trained to be a Hunter (the good guys) but when he is exiled by his father for not having an elemental power, he and his mother are forced to live on their own, away from the refuge of The Circle. However, just because he's not officially a part of that world anymore does not mean he's not still a target for Demons (the bad guys). One day, during a battle with a demon, he's
rescued...er...helped by another Hunter, Marcus who was working alongside a demon, Rayna. Wait, aren't demons supposed to be bad? This was a huge turning point for Chase because he's forced to rethink everything he's ever learned about Hunters versus Demons.
Chase was a great character because there was so much to him. He was impulsive, protective, vulnerable, strong and a fighter through and through! He did frustrate me at times because he was a bit too impulsive. He meant well, but going off half-cocked usually gets you into more trouble (not less). Rayna was a total badass! I love strong female leads and this chick is as tough as they come, but she too has her share of vulnerabilities. One of my favorite aspects of reading any book is character growth and I loved watching these two characters mature and learn to trust in each other. Of course, we can't forget the secondary characters. Merrick gives us a motley crew of Hunters and Demons who have to work together, even when they're at odds with each other and most of it is quite humorous. (Side note: You'll learn a bit more about them over the course of this week's feature posts *wink*)
As for world building, Merrick gets two thumbs up from this gal. There are actually three worlds in this book and he connected them together almost seamlessly. Each world is vastly different and completely fascinating and all relevant to the plot of the book. They were all beautifully described and it's just as easy to get lost in them as Chase and Rayna did. There's also no lack of action! The fight scenes practically leaped off the page and I was tempted to duck a few times. Ok...not really...but you get my point!
With layered and likable characters, an interesting plot, solid world-building, and good writing, this was a wonderful debut to what promises to be a great series by M. R. Merrick.
Check out other reviews by my co-conspirators:
- Ash from Smash Attack Reads!
- Ashley from The Bookish Brunette
- Loretta from Between the Pages
- Amy from Book Loving Mom