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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rapture Untamed by Pamela Palmer

Rapture Untamed by Pamela Palmer
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (372 pgs)
Heat Level: hot
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Some characters are a challenge from the day they first appear on the page, though that challenge can come in different forms. Sometimes they’re a challenge for the author — they’re hard to get a handle on or hard to understand. Sometimes they’re a pain in the butt to the other characters. Sometimes they simply fight tooth and nail against the role they’re meant to play. The hero of my latest book, RAPTURE UNTAMED, book four in the Feral Warriors series, is all of these things. And more.

From the moment he first appeared in book one, Jag has been trouble. He’s a jerk and knows he’s a jerk. And loves being a jerk. He has a bad attitude, a foul mouth, and enjoys nothing more than making the other Feral Warriors lose their cool and go feral, ripping into him with fangs and claws. Jag loves a good fight and loves getting a rise out of people, especially the pretty little redheaded Therian Guard, Olivia. The first time they met, she drove her heel through his instep at his crass welcome. The second time was in the war room at Feral House.

This action filled, dramatic and intense book is not for the faint of heart or stomach because the hero and heroine not only fight beings that fight dirty but their relationship is far from sweet.

I’ve read other books in the Feral Warriors series by Ms. Palmer and I’m telling you, I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions that have left a lasting impression. Sometimes they are so intense I simply have to walk away but I always come back because I simply have to know. Will they survive the impossible? How in the world can their love be strong enough to weather the brutality these tortured heroes and heroines have had to live through. The writing is always tight, with all their emotions - fear and hope - all brought to life in vivid imagery. I’m still reeling in shock from reading Rapture Untamed. I am almost in tears as I write this. Sure these are fictional characters but this is the fourth book in the series and even though every one has gripped my heartstrings and played the most melancholy tune I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing, this book totally got to me. It has a happily ever after that really is as sweet as it could be considering Jag’s personality. But it also proved that Ms. Palmer doesn’t let a happily ever after get in the way of telling a good story. Or of making me very antsy, enough where I am demanding the next book, pronto. I can’t begin to express my feelings at this point in time but I’m still horrified for the characters.

Jag is short for Jaguar which is what his animal is. The word ‘jag’ is also symbolic of his heart because it has a jagged tear in it that’s festered for centuries. In the other books, he came across as a taunting jerk. And no, a reader does not need to read the previous ones to get into this story. It has its own strengths and will prove to a reader that Jag is a jerk just the same, until he meets the one woman who can reach the darkness inside and make him face it. Olivia gives him sass and a few well aimed punches to get her point across, and he needs that as much as he needs her.

As for this book being a standalone read, it is. However that being said, having read Obsession Untamed made the ending of Rapture Untamed that much more poignant and shocking. I guess that’s why it affected me so much, because I had read Tighe’s story before. Ms. Palmer has completely and unequivocally insured that her next book is going to be an auto-buy for me. It’s been awhile since I’ve been this passionate about a book and this series has earned my fandom.

Olivia is the tortured heroine who has secrets and fears just as volatile as Jag’s. Her talent is an amazing concept and the author did an excellent job of getting a reader into her head and heart. Right from the get-go Ms. Palmer had me sympathizing with her plight and impressed with her courage and determination. Love allowed her to survive and love will eventually give her the reason to live and to fight harder. I enjoyed her ‘take no prisoners’ attitude and that she can hold her own against Jag. In fact, she gave it right back to him. She’s no wimp, she’s the whip.

I will caution readers to the darkness in this story. It has violence, drama and some very intense scenes between Jag and Olivia that may make some sensitive readers wince. Personally, I found it true to character and if their ‘courting’ and relationship encounters had been done in any other manner, it would have undermined both the inner conflict and the ultimate expression of their love when the time came. Okay, sure, reading it got me a bit hyper but Olivia is not written as a weak or ineffectual personality. She’s aware at all times and understands where it’s all coming from, if not where it’s going. Underlying it all is respect for the integrity of the characters and without that, their growth would not have been believable. Add to that a hint of mischief and humor during one of their physical interludes and it brings a healthy dose of insight as to how their relationship will eventually be once all the external and internal conflicts are resolved. Well, at least in relation to Jag and Olivia’s own personal lives, not to the world at large.

Rapture Untamed had me in its grip as soon as the sixth page of the prologue, and it never let go. This book has everything a paranormal romantic suspense reader could wish for and then some. Get ready for the book of the year because Rapture Untamed has everything in it to keep you on the edge of your seat with anticipation, thrills, suspense and action. The bad guys are really bad and the good guys have to be as tough or more in order to save the day. The rocky relationship between Jag and Olivia was powerful and potent and the happily ever after solid and heartfelt. Ms. Palmer has a winner with this one.

I couldn’t ask for a better reading experience, except to get ahold of the next book and find out what happens next with my new favorite alpha guys.