Kathy Davie's Reviews > Living Nightmare

Living Nightmare by Shannon K. Butcher
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's review
Sep 17, 2012

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bookshelves: paranormal, romance
Read in July, 2012

Fourth in the Sentinel Wars paranormal romance action series revolving around an endangered group of enhanced warriors based in Dabyr who are protecting the world from demons. The couple focus is on Nika and Madoc---and it's about time!

My Take
There's a good lesson in this—LISTEN. Listen to the people around you. Pay attention. Hear what they're saying. If anyone had listened to Nika, Madoc and Tori would have suffered less. That said, Nika goes off half-cocked once they do start listening. Of course, time is of the essence.

Eeeeyew...Helen's reasoning as to why the demons are experimenting with humans makes awful sense. Really awful.

The whole rescue was botched. It didn't have to take place then and they knew it was a trap. But, oh no, they just had to follow stupid Nika. Stupid, stupid woman. Yes, they rescued many, but they took too great a chance and lost too much. If they had waited a few days for more reinforcements and done some reconnoitering, it would have been a better outcome. That said, it makes me wonder w...actually, no, it doesn't make me wonder. Obviously Butcher needed to kill off those particular characters. I just keep getting so involved!

I don't know if Butcher is getting better at the writing or if I'm simply getting used to it. I do like her characters and she keeps interjecting enough of a twist that I want to know what happens next. That and that Project Lullaby she's been teasing us with! At last we do learn more about the Sanguinar and what Project Lullaby is. Whew… And Gilda comes clean to Angus only to have tragedy strike.

The Story
No one ever listens to Nika. They won't believe, so she takes action on her own. Its results snowball into anger, recriminations, and rescues.

Time is running out for Tori about to give birth to the monster inside her, unlikely to survive its arrival. It's also running out for Madoc---his last leaf is barely hanging on.

The Characters
Nika Madison is one of three sisters attacked by the Synestryn nine years ago. While her body escaped them, her mind did not. Scattered into too many fragments, the human doctors think she's insane and she's been locked up all these years. Tori is the little sister who did not escape, but Nika has managed to maintain a psychic bond, providing Tori with at least a sense of warmth. For the demon lord, Zillah, has been torturing her, changing her, preparing her for the destiny he has in mind for his future children. Andra is the oldest sister. She managed to escape the attack and fought to rescue Nika just as Nika now fights to rescue Tori and Madoc.

Madoc is a Sentinel barely hanging onto the last leaf on the lifemark tattooed to his chest. Unless he can find his soulmate before that last leaf falls, he will go mad and kill all around him. He wants so desperately for that one to be Nika but his luceria does not respond to her. Instead, he performs the only service he can, killing Synestryn, helping Nika regain the fragments of her mind.

The Sentinels
The Sentinels are a broad group which encompasses the Theronai, the Sanguinar, and the Slayers, amongst others. The Sentinels about whom we've been reading are Theronai.

Joseph Rayd leads the Theronai Sentinels, but he is oh, so tired of his own struggle. Carmen is a human, a Gerai, whom Joseph is training. Paul is Andra's mate. Together they are rescuing children targeted by the Synestryn. Gilda is the Gray Lady, the betrayer, old and weakening in power the longer she refuses her husband, Angus. Ricky is a very unhappy seventeen-year-old, easily brainwashed. Additional Sentinels include Nicholas, their tech guy; Helen and Drake; Briant; Liam; and, Morgan. Grace is a Gerai in love with the crippled and dying Torr. She would do anything, give anything to help him recover.

Iain is the leader of the secret group, the Band of the Barren. All are Sentinels living on borrowed time, hoping to find their soulmates. But Iain lost his mate. Now only his promise to Serena keeps him going.

Ripped apart in the womb by their mother, Maura and Sibyl both see the future although Maura can kill with a touch. Yes, they are Gilda and Angus' children. Cursed when they made a promise to their distraught mother that they would never grow up.

The Sanguinars
The Sanguinar are like vampires and work in an uneasy partnership with the Sentinels as healers. They need blood to survive, but there isn't enough. Most of them are in a type of suspended animation. The Solarc, Tynan's grandfather, "banished, cursed, and cut them off from the source of their power" a millennia ago. Now they starve unless they can speed up Project Lullaby. Connal has become addicted and is now bonded to Zillah, a traitor. Alexander. Logan. Tynan. All of them are willing to do whatever is necessary.

Andreas Phelan now leads the Slayers, those who slay the Sentinels whose souls have died.

Jackie Patton was one of the women rescued and one of the women for whom the Theronai have been searching. It seems she is compatible with several men. Hmmm, I don't know if this will result in a multiple partnership or fighting...

Meghan Clark is fulfilling her promise---part of Project Lullaby??—to the man who saved her father from dying of cancer. John Hawthorne, a building contractor, rescues her when her car goes off the road.

Canaranth is Zillah's second-in-command, but has fallen in love with one of their human captives, Ella.

The Cover
There is a very dreamy quality with all the cloudy white surrounding and fogging Madoc's body. Only his very muscular torso with the bare branches of his lifemark shows as his body twists toward us, his sword raised across his chest ready to protect.

The title is the the twenty-four-seven dreams that haunt Madoc who is barely hanging onto his soul and the minds of the Synestryn who scrabble at Nika's mind---their individual Living Nightmare.

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