Helyce's Reviews > Embrace of the Damned

Embrace of the Damned by Anya Bast
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May 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed-for-smexybooks, pnr-romance
Read from April 30 to May 01, 2012

http://smexybooks.com/2012/05/review-...

Over one thousand years ago, Broder Calderson committed such a horrific crime that the Norse Gods punished him by putting him into the service of Loki, The Trickster God. Immortal, he’s spent the last 1,000 years as a member of the Brotherhood of the Damned, killing the Blight, blood drinkers created by the goddess Hel. If that wasn’t enough, his punishment included the fact that he could not be with a woman until Loki himself allowed it.

Jessamine Hamilton is the woman that Loki decides to “gift” Broder with, but being with her will not be a simple task. The Blight are after her and Broder’s instinct to protect her is strong. But Jessa is more than human and when Broder realizes who and what she is, he realizes that no matter how much he may want or need her, a future for them is impossible.

Embrace of the Damned is the first book in this new series by Anya Bast. I was immediately drawn into the world Ms. Bast creates here. I am a total sucker for a series that revolves around a group of hot, sexy, bad boy types who will do whatever is necessary to win over the heart of the woman who he is destined to be with. Additionally, I am instantly drawn to any paranormal that has a mythological feel to it. This series answered to all those traits with the added bonus of having some very well placed humor.

After Broder rescues Jessa from her first interaction with a Blight creature, she awakens in a strange room. Her first instinct is to bolt, but as she’s about to she is stopped by a gorgeous man named Tyr who encourages her to stay for her own safety…

She hesitated for a moment, then walked over to door number two and peered into the room. Within, ranged on various chairs and couches, was an endless array of men, all of them with their gazes focused on her. They’d gone silent in her presence.

Some of them were pretty, some weren’t pretty, but all them were compelling. All of them were muscular, either leanly or more of the beefcake variety. It was a festival for the eyes and female senses. All of them seemed intent on her, though it wasn’t in a physically appraising or sexual way.

Jessa panics and attempts to leave, only to be stopped at the door by Broder himself.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m leaving. You have a whole house filled with beefcake and no explanation for it.”

He narrowed his eyes and tilted his head to the side a little. “So you’re fleeing because of beefcake.?”

“No. I’m fleeing strange, inexplicable beefcake in a big fancy house because every last one of you gives off a don’t-fuck-with-me vibe. So here I am, obeying the vibe, as in, leaving. Right now.”

The attraction between Broder and Jessa is instant, but Jessa is extremely hesitant to move forward and poor Broder, who has not been with a woman for over 1,000 years is forced to back off on more than one occasion. Rather than this being the cause of sexual tension in a good way, I found Jessa’s teasing to be frustrating and somewhat repetitive and I began to struggle with the fact that Broder was made to suffer so much. While I understood the fact that Jessa was struggling with a lot of pretty unbelievable information in a short period of time, after the second or third instance it got on my nerves. When they finally get around to it, Broder’s frank honesty says it all:

“I do want to fuck you, skatten min. I want your bare skin moving against mine. I want to smell the trace of perfume at the nape of your neck. I want my hands on you, making you moan.” He paused, his gaze never leaving hers, “I want to be inside you.”

While Broder continues to temp Jessa’s senses, her true goal is to find out exactly who and what she is. While this is revealed early on in our story, some very shocking information is brought forward at one point which totally and completely changes the whole situation, especially for Broder. While he is clearly falling in love with Jessa, the odds against them continue to build and when Broder finds out exactly who Jessa is, he knows there is no hope for them.

The world Ms. Bast has created has a wonderful mix of old world and new. I loved the hint of Norwegian lore that is spun throughout this story. What I especially enjoyed was that as this is a first book in a new series I was in no way overwhelmed with world building and a parade of character introductions. The premise is clear, we are aware of the main protagonists and their goal and while we meet a few of the other members of the brotherhood, we are left intrigued and curious enough to want to read more. As the story takes place in present time, there are a few flash back scenes to set up the “why” of Broder’s punishment but thankfully, there is not a lot of back and forth between times.

While Jessa got on my nerves a bit, I came to like her character’s strength near the end when push comes to shove and important choices needs to be made. I enjoyed Broder as well, and while I found it hard to believe that this barbarian of old would be so patient after 1000 years of forced celibacy, I began to feel that perhaps this was a way the author showed the fact that he was truly reformed (for lack of a better word) and had remorse for his prior crimes as well as showing the adaption from old world to modern times. There is a fabulous double cross at the end which I found quite fitting to round out Jessa and Broder’s HEA. I look forward to seeing where the author takes us with this series.
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