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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hunger Untamed by Pamela Palmer

Hunger Untamed by Pamela Palmer
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (357 pgs)
Heat Level hot
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

They are called Feral Warriors—an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release . . .

For a thousand years she has haunted him—Ariana, Queen of the linas, a beauty of mist and light. His love, his life mate . . . Kougar believed her lost to him forever, until the truth of her stunning betrayal left him bitter and hungry for revenge. Now she alone holds the power to save two trapped and desperate Feral Warriors.

Ariana, caught in a deadly battle of her own, is neither the soulless creature Kougar believes her to be nor the savior he seeks.

And when darkness threatens to annihilate both races, the greatest danger of all becomes the glorious love Kougar and Ariana once shared. A love that must never rise again. A love that has never died.

When a reader is in the mood for a gripping and suspenseful read on the dark side, where the hero and heroines have to be strong because the villains seem stronger, then this book delivers with nail biting intensity.

Hunger Untamed is the latest adventure that follows the Feral Warriors – men with animal spirits who guard the unsuspecting human population from an unspeakable evil. Their world is harsh, violent and blood flows freely. The bad guys are a tragedy because they weren’t always this twisted and bent. There’s another force trying to break free into our world and it not only has corrupted people of magic and beauty and consumed their souls, it has destroyed families and lovers. The only thing that stands in its way is the Feral Warriors.

That’s a lot of pressure and stress to place on someone’s shoulders. There’s been four Feral Warriors that have found their happily ever after for now, so far. I say that they have a HEAFN because their lives are always on the line; danger stalks them at every turn, so love and tenderness, sentimentality and passion are treasured gifts that possibly could be taken away at a moment’s notice. That is where this book picks up. In the last book, two of the warriors are caught in a trap set by the corrupted mages – magical people who are tied to the earth. It would be helpful for readers to have read the previous books but by no means mandatory. Ms. Palmer presents enough information for a reader by the emotions and actions of the characters within the story, and through internal and external dialogue so what is at stake and who can be hurt by the current conflict is clear and concise.

In Hunger Untamed, Kougar reunites in a bitter fashion with the absolute love of his life. There’s a ton of angst, anger, hurt and mistrust muddying the waters. Add to the potential loss of his brethren and Kougar’s a man on the edge, willing to do whatever he has to do save his brothers. But will that include forgiving the woman who betrayed him? That’s a tough call and one that seems an impossible task. The author allowed me to get into Kougar’s head a bit where none of the other characters seem to be able to. There are things that are hidden still, but I found out about the depth of his pain through the telling of the story. The fact that he survived what he has, that he didn’t go mentally loony as I know I would have, is a true testament to his courage, loyalty and honor. It describes the man that he is and he fits my description of a tortured hero.

Ariana is a warrior queen who, unbeknownst to Kougar, has had to carry a burden of equal severity for a thousand years. Her loss is a tragedy itself. Her fears are real and she’s haunted, tormented and on the run. She’s a woman of great beauty inside and out with a fierce loyalty and dedication to those in her care. She’s paid the ultimate sacrifice by losing Kougar the first time, but to lose him again will kill her. Talk about drama and emotional connection. This book has it all.

What shines through is the love the hero and heroine truly have for each other. It should have died because of all the lies and deception but true love, the kind that weathers the storms and brings strength out of chaos, never dies – it just gets sidelined for a bit. Their love is battle-born and stronger for it, much to my fascination. As harsh and cruel as things seem to get, I still found hints that gave me hope that had me rooting for their love to conquer all.

Like all good books, heroes and heroines need a little bit of help from their friends. Secondary characters abound. Again, although most are from the previous stories, I don’t believe readers will get lost. If anything, it might intrigue them enough to read the previous adventures in the series. Roar is really cool and I enjoyed his tale. Ms. Palmer is great with tortured heroes and every one of them fits the bill to one degree or another. There’s even a secondary thread that I think might be a curveball. Although it seems resolved, with Wulfe and Natalie, I somehow don’t think so. When you read this book, keep an eye out for that part and how Wulfe reacts; it could be my wishful imagination, but I don’t think so. Then again, the author never seems to do what I expect of her. Half the fun is the surprises she throws at me.

I do have to warn readers about some of the violence. There’s this one part that really grossed me out. It wasn’t gratuitous and it wasn’t arbitrary and it turns out to be the only course of action that would have worked. What I’d like to know is how in the world Ms. Palmer even imagined such a thing in the first place. Didn’t it give her nightmares? Feel me shudder.

A different kind of shuddering goes on when Kougar and Ariana succumb to their passion and explore their physical love. It’s scorching and worthy of a cold shower. Or two. Kougar sure knows how to please a woman and Ms. Palmer sure knows how to write all about it.

Hunger Unleashed will grip a reader’s imagination, heart and emotions. I wanted to rail against the injustice of it all and kick the bad guys into the next worm hole for daring to mess with my favorite guys’ happiness. All the Feral Warriors deserve their happily ever after and Kougar’s story is one that satisfies on many levels. Now, I’m chomping at the bit for who is next because every one of those hot and hunky men has a story to tell and a woman to find. Readers who enjoy the talents of J. R. Ward will find much to enjoy in the Feral Warriors series – the men are just as charismatic and alpha as one could wish, tempered with the ability to love a woman senseless. What more can a reader ask for?