Series: Empowered, Book 1
Rating: 1 Star
Length: 92,000 Words
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Carina Press via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Too Many Contradictions and Inconsistencies
There is a war coming, foretold by prophecy. Daegan Blackwell didn't need prophecy to remind him, though. He felt it in his bones, coursing through his blood. Changes were coming. After two hundred years as a warrior, the leader of the few remaining Empowered, a race of beings with special gifts and abilities dating back millennia, could practically scent it on the wind.
That's why he's at the large mansion overlooking the ocean, touring the huge estate he may be buying. He and his brethren need a home base near the water that is the source of their magical power, a home base where they could prepare for the coming war against the darkest evil. As leader he would provide for them before it is once more into the breach.
Daegan hadn't counted on the sledgehammer of need that slams into him when he shakes hands with the real estate agent. He sure hadn't seen this bit of imminent disaster rolling at him like thunder, or read about it in any prophecy. Realtor Olivia Farrell is one of them. She obviously doesn't know it. What's more, she's also Daegan's destined mate.
Meeting her, touching her skin, feeling her warmth...nothing could have prepared Daegan for the onslaught of emotion and need for possession that sweeps over him. It couldn't have come at a worse time...he doesn't want it...he can't just take her...he can't live without her... As his mind whirls and his body revolts, one thought and one thought only is paramount in his mind. Olivia Farrell is his.
He better explain his world and his history to her quickly, though, and convince the headstrong and independent woman to accept not only him, but the truth of her heritage, because the clock started ticking the moment that they met. The prophecy has begun.
One of the drawbacks of writing a review based on an ARC version of a book is I'm never quite sure just how close to the final, released version it is. Most of the time it's not that big a deal. I can ignore the minor errors or typos I find, remain happily blind to all but the most egregious grammatical errors and such, because I figure they'll be caught before the book is available to buy. I'm not as good at ignoring larger or more numerous issues like those I found in this book. Those compounded the problems I had with the story and characters and made such a big mess for me that it gobbled up whatever pleasure I found in the read.
There were some bright spots in the first half of the book, and Cross' writing style is fluid and easy to read. The world and the mythos of the Empowered had points of originality in the details, even if it didn't break new ground in overall concept. I could definitely see the influences of J.R. Ward and other paranormal romance series similar to her Black Dagger Brotherhood, but as I happen to like those influences, that's not a problem for me.
One of my problems is that this book lacks complexity and depth in the plot conflict and the main characters suffered a lack of appeal because of it. In fact, I got to a point of such strong dislike for Daegan that his painful demise wouldn't have upset me. He's supposed to be the Coven Leader of the Empowered, but his lack of communication with Liv over what was going on with her and his martyred suffering as a result just made him seem like a total emotional coward to me. I get that he has baggage, but after two hundred years, a prophecy and an impending war, suck it up and deal with it.
Liv didn't bother me to that degree, but she ended up too often in the role of target and damsel in distress. Given her lack of information and inability to make cognizant decisions based on accurate information, I could see the plot conflicts with the Bad Guys coming a mile away. It felt like I spent most of the middle of the book waiting for that stereotypical B-grade horror movie moment where the blonde runs up the stairs instead of out of the house to escape the homicidal maniac.
And that moment did come. That's also when things went very, very wrong for me in the story.
I'm not going to belabor every point of contention, or spend paragraphs dissecting every element. I'll even admit that at least some of the issues I had were issues because I'm so damn anal retentive. Believe me, I wish that wasn't so. My life would be so much simpler. But the truth of the matter is, there were huge contradictions in the established mythos, especially relating to Liv's abilities, and major inconsistencies in the written details.
The biggest problems started around the sixty percent mark of the book. They completely knocked me out of the story and made it impossible to enjoy any other element of the read. Most of those bigger errors include spoilers that have been hidden for those who prefer to avoid them, but those interested in the details may read here:
Click me to read spoilers
I know those sort of issues don't bother every reader. I wish they didn't bother me, especially as they occur at such climactic moments in the story. Like I said, though, this review is based on an ARC, not the final product, so it's possible some of the things that made this book so troublesome for me don't exist anymore. I do sincerely hope that's the case so other readers can enjoy this series debut by Cross.