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Monday, October 17, 2011

Ecstasy Untamed by Pamela Palmer

Ecstasy Untamed by Pamela Palmer
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (253 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 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 . . .

Shattered by recent nightmarish events, Hawke feels his bond with his animal spirit weakening—and once it breaks, he’s finished. The arrival of Faith sends his life spinning even further out of control, for although she delights him and enflames his deepest primal passions, she’s promised to Maxim, the newest Feral Warrior.

Faith is drawn to Hawke from the start, but Maxim holds her in his thrall and has secretly bent her to his malevolent will. Though gravely damaged, Hawke is the only one who can end Faith’s slavery and protect the Feral Warriors from Maxim’s evil designs. But first they both must embrace the wild . . . and surrender body and soul to a forbidden, all-consuming ecstasy.

Turn on all the lights, cuddle your pillow and hunker down with this dark and meaty story that will make your heart race and your mind scream. It doesn’t sound romantic but the hero and heroine have to battle such tremendous odds, the romance is in watching their love conquering all, despite the obstacles.

Ms. Palmer has established a reputation with the Feral Warriors series that not only includes a satisfying happily ever after, but graphic and horrendous descriptions that sear the senses and helps a reader identify with the horrors the main characters have to fight against. Ecstasy Untamed continues that tradition.

If a reader is a fan, then they’ll remember that Hawke was caught in a spirit trap in Rapture Untamed,. He didn’t escape unscathed and his issues that were hinted at in Hunger Untamed are brought to fruition in Ecstasy Untamed. For a first time reader jumping into the adventure, this book has no problems being a standalone. One thing the author has shown is a skill in recapping the vital parts of past stories that are relevant to the current tale without it ever being an info-dump. A reader will understand in essence, what happened to Hawke and what is happening now.

One thing a new reader cannot know is who Hookeye was. He was the bad guy in the previous book that was responsible for Hawke getting trapped in that spiritual wormhole in the first place. He was casting poisonous spells to suck them all into that sensory deprived space that tears the spirit animal out of the man. What this story does is reveal what the real agenda was and it’s both horrifying and exciting.

Ms. Palmer totally set me up. I was all excited when the new guys started showing up because the evil dude that is causing all the problems is getting smarter and smarter minions. The stakes are sky-high and every ally is needed. There are hints that things are not as they should be when the heroine, Faith, is prominently on scene. And that is where having all the lights on is a good idea. Maxim, one of the new Ferals, isn’t what he seems. What he reveals and what he does made me sick. I was furious and helpless all at the same time. By the time Ms. Palmer revealed this component of the conflict, I was completely invested in Faith and Hawke. I understood where the author was going to be heading but in no way could I have anticipated how I’d be getting there. My emotions were affected quite effectively.

The author also walked a fine line with keeping all the secondary characters on board. I enjoyed that aspect because of the sense of community and storyline continuation but she also was able to balance their presence to ensure that the relationship between Hawke and Faith was never diluted nor was my attention distracted. There was never any doubt that everything and anything that is said or done or described, happens to enhance the plot, and that the action and conflict revolved around the two main protagonists as it should.

This wasn’t an easy book for me to read. It’s dark, action filled, suspenseful and heroic. It didn’t leave me feeling down because the romance between Hawke and Faith is spectacular. So much wonderful sensual build-up, so much sharing of pain, of hope and character growth -- there is not one aspect the author left untapped.

I strongly support the theme of ‘hope’ that I found in this story. What the eventual outcome of the evil plot is, the author is leading me on through each book as I make my way where she wants to lead before I can find out. One thing I do see is the evil machinations this time around having a good chance of boomeranging on the bad guys, giving the Feral warriors something they’ve not had for centuries. Just the thought of that possibility is enough to hook me with enthusiastic curiosity for the next installment. What is even better is the hint that another warrior is about to find true love and I knew it was coming. I knew it! This book confirmed it and it’s going to be so exciting. I’m sure it’s also going to be equally dark and challenging to read. The thing I’m almost afraid to ask Ms. Palmer is: “What dastardly conflict is she going to come up with to curl my hair this time?”

Ecstasy Untamed continues Ms. Palmer’s hair raising storytelling tradition of a well told romantic suspense between two strong individuals who bring out the best in each other in order to fight the worst that evil throws at them. I found it gripping, entertaining and a thrill ride from beginning to end. There is no way a reader can be unaffected by the drama and suspense that try to thwart Hawke and Faith’s happily ever after. It has a wonderful ending and it left me completely satisfied. This is a must read.