I would just like to say this before I begin: I bought Sharon's first book, Ravenous, a while back. However, due to a large TBR pile--as I'm sure most bloggers can relate to--I did not have the chance to start the first book. In fact, it was months before I finally fished it up out of the book pile.
That was one of the stupidest mistakes of my "reading life".
I'm always pleasantly surprised when I find a paranormal romance that resonates with me. I adored Ravenous, as you will see with my review sometime soon. I haven't read Scorched yet (shame on me), but I plan on doing so immediately...or maybe I'll save it for when I need an amazing book fix, since I am positive Mac's story will not disappoint.
I would also like to mention my reviewing slump I had experienced. I read plenty of books within the past few weeks, and yet... I couldn't find the words to give any of these books justice. And boy, have some of the books I've read deserved it. Now, imagine my pleasant surprise upon finishing Unchained: I had things to say! I know I've found an excellent book when it has the ability to delight me out of a slump.
Okay, so all of that aside, I absolutely love the Carver witches. Ashe is the older sister in the family, and she is a badass slayer. She has a gun, a motorcycle, and a daughter. Strange combination for a mother, right?
Wrong. She pulls off the multitasking required of the modern day mother so perfectly, I was actually. Well. Surprised. While juggling the duties of two different lives, Ashe becomes a convincing heroine that the reader can connect with. On countless occasions, I desired nothing more than to offer a helping hand in order to ease the burdens this young woman was forced to experience. And then, to have Ashe desire a man whenever she sees how happy her sister and her lover are? It felt real. She felt real. I wish she was real (no I don't, because then Reynard would be real, and I would love to gobble that man up).
We see characters from the earlier books make guest appearances once again, which is an aspect in series that I adore. It's always fun to see the characters you initially fell in love with reappear, reassuring you with a huge grin that finding the love of their life hasn't made them dull. If anything, Holly and Alessandro are still buzzing with life, even with certain changes. I will readily admit that sometimes, I hate the after story of couples, simply because they settle down and come off as boring. Not the case with these two.
Then, there is the wonderful Englishman, Reynard. I feel like I didn't know as much about his character as I might have liked, probably because I have not yet read Scorched. I think I'm a sucker for a younger heroine, and then a seemingly immortal hero who could pretty much claim to be said heroine's great-great-great (tack on about five more of those) grandpa. It's always entertaining witnessing the hero's shock upon adjusting to the modern world. In fact, one of my favorite books of all time explores this. But Reynard had an air of dignity about him as he marveled at the sights. Not to mention, there was an inner bad-boy in that guard that made me pretty much want to ravish him like every other female in that book did.
Ashe's daughter added an entirely new element to the story that I enjoyed, both because she added her own sort of urgency at certain points, and she also assisted in redeeming some of the other secondary characters. Lovely characterization all around. Just like in Ravenous, I was convinced, I was holding my breath in anxiety, and then exhaling (when I wasn't suffocating) in relief. I loved it. I loved this. What more is there to say?
The plot is unpredictable. You know it's a paranormal romance, so you know there's going to be a HEA, but the journey towards that happily ever after made everything entirely worth it. I was surprised, and Sharon kept me guessing until the last page. Which, by the way, was the perfect ending for that couple. Like I said on Twitter last week: I giggled like a madwoman while feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Thank you Sharon, first for an amazing start to the series, then by granting me the opportunity to read Ashe's story, and then by inspiring me to actually write up a review. I think it's safe to say that if you have not yet read The Dark Forgotten series, that you should do so immediately. Sharon's characters are amazing, I promise you won't regret it :)