Published 2009 384 pages
Reviewed by Ania Tyburska
Summary (from the book jacket)
Welcome to the Castle. The price of admission is your soul…
Ex-detective Macmillan always had a taste for bad girls, but his last lover really took the cake—and his humanity. Now half-demon, Mac's lost his friends, his family and his job.
But Constance, a strangely innocent vampire trapped in the supernatural Castle prison, needs his help. Her son has been kidnapped, so suddenly Mac has a case to work—one that embroils him with a mad sorcerer, an even madder city council, and a winged love god. The trail leads deep into the supernatural prison, and Mac soon learns that cracking the case will cost him his last scrap of his humanity.
Fiery, vulnerable Constance will do anything for those she loves, including Mac. He'll be damned if he turns his back on her… and a demon forever if he doesn't.
The Dark Forgotten series by Sharon Ashwood got off to a good start with Ravenous. Scorched is a second installment to the series, dealing with the aftermath of the death of demon Geneva that happened by the end of the previous book. As most of the characters and places are transitory I would really recommend reading the series in order.
The main hero of Scorched, Mac, is something of a novelty, even in the universe where supernaturals coexist mostly peacefully with humans. He got infected by the demon essence in the previous book and turned into a nasty soul eater, but the big magic blast that destroyed his demon mistress brought back some of his humanity. To top things up, vampire Alessandro, the unofficial sheriff of Riverview, does not really think that Mac deserves another chance. As a result Mac gets sent to Castle, an inter-dimensional prison for all that is not exactly human. There he meets his destiny.
The whole concept of the Castle, which was not thoroughly explained in the previous part of the series, gets the full coverage in Scorched. The fact that the action takes place parallel in two dimensions gives the book an interesting angle. The reader does not get confused in different characters and story lines, especially as they all come together in the end. Actually the back stories seem sometimes more interesting than the central plot. It is nice to see how the main characters from the first part, Holly and Alessandro, function as a couple and the introduction of Holly’s vampire hunting sister, Ashe, is another brilliant addition.
In fact, surrounded by all those interesting entities and intrigues, the central love story is somehow subdued. The romance between Mac and, imprisoned in the Castle, vampire Constance is just too simple. The only setbacks they encounter are from the outside world, because inwardly they know from the beginning they are well matched. It is an awful cliché that the best love stories are between enemies or adversaries. Sadly the stories where different goals and life expectations collide are much more exciting to follow than this perfect bliss between Connie and Max. For half of the book I wished they would shag already and the story move to some more interesting events.
Though the lukewarm love story, Scorched is a good book, especially that lately the genre of vampire romance is sadly underrepresented. It has all the necessary elements: main story of love and sacrifice, some steamy bed scenes and a whole gallery of well-written back-up characters. I am certainly going after the next book in the series. Maybe not immediately, as I find Sharon Ashwood writing style a bit tiring, but soon enough.
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