Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review of SOUL DEEP by Anne Hope

Soul Deep

(Dark Souls, #2)
by Anne Hope

Rating: 4.5♥s Excellent/Highly Recommended
Sensuality: Mild
Audience: Adult
Length: Novel
Cover: 4.0♥s
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Kindle Edition

From the publisher:

Save her life…or save mankind. His choice could cost him his soul.

For nearly two centuries, Marcus has been the Watchers’ most faithful soldier. Sworn to protect humanity, driven by an unrelenting compulsion to atone for past sins, he has rarely found a compelling reason to question his mission, let alone defy his leader.

His partner, Regan, is his exact opposite, an enigma he longs to solve. A free spirit and reckless to a fault, Regan acts first and thinks later. Her smart mouth and tender heart have fascinated Marcus for decades, but the Watchers’ strict vow of celibacy has forced him to ignore the sizzling attraction between them. Until now.

When Regan goes rogue to protect a very special little boy, Marcus is forced to make an impossible choice—commit an act of treason or watch the woman he secretly loves die.

Hunted by enemies and allies alike, Regan and Marcus run for their lives, fighting to thwart an age-old prophecy and guard a boy whose destiny may very well be to destroy the world…or save it.

My analysis:

Marcus and Regan are compelling characters. Even though they're soulless Watchers, they feel emotions, attraction, and desire when they shouldn't be able to. In addition, Marcus is weighed down with guilt when he betrays the leader of the Watchers, Cal. He chooses to go rogue with Regan in order to save her life and the life of the powerful boy, Ben, that she is protecting. But he is adamant about not breaking that final vow to Cal, the vow of celibacy, even though his soulless heart and body need her. His stubbornness over the years had a surprising consequence.

Regan has always been able to access her feelings. When she discovers Ben in tragic circumstances, her maternal instincts kick in. An indefinable instinct kicks in, too. Both Regan and Marcus are drawn to Ben in a way that they can't explain. The answer is intriguing, and the result changes fate.

Cal determines that Ben is the prophesied False Prophet—having potentially tremendous destructive abilities—and he must die. Regan determines to protect Ben at all costs. She takes Ben on the run, and Marcus follows Regan to protect her from the Watchers who are out to kill both her and Ben. And to protect Regan from their enemies, who also want Ben for the power that they would gain with his death. Their life on the run is suspenseful and dangerous, yet all the while they grow even more mysteriously attracted to each other.

The page-turning action races at the end, when lives are on the line, the future of humanity is at stake, the plot twists, and motives are revealed. I particularly liked what was revealed to Marcus <snicker>, and the appropriate gift that Regan received.

Soul Deep is a story of trust. Regan trusts her instincts over the very people she had entrusted with her life. Marcus has to decide whether to trust Regan's instincts or Cal, to whom he owes more than his allegiance. Regan's son, Jace, must decide which side he's going to trust. Cal trusts … well, you'll see.

Soul Deep is also the story of Marcus's personal journey. I won't spoil the end of that journey, because it's also the last line of the book.

Anne Hope's writing style is lyrical and a pleasure to read on a deep level. She imbues inanimate objects with human characteristics in order to bring her settings to life and evoke atmosphere and emotions. Sunlight, moonlight, shadows, and the weather also play important roles in the setting and characterization. 

I've glossed over the world-building here, because it's not germane to my summary. However, the world of Dark Souls is rather complicated, with Watchers, Hybrids, Rogues, Kleptopsychs, Fallen angels, Seraphim, and Nephillim. I recommend that you start reading with Soul Bound. That way you'll not only be introduced to the world, but to the characters in Soul Deep.

In Soul Deep we get to know Adrian a bit, Marcus's Rogue son. Adrian will be featured in a prequel novella, Soul Thief, coming out in the fall of 2013. Book 3 is also about Adrian. Book 4 is about Cal, and I can't wait to see what happens to his vow of celibacy …

Until then, enjoy Soul Deep!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Dark Souls series:
Book 1
Soul Bound
Book 2
Soul Deep

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