Every Thursday, Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews host “Daring You to Read”. Each site selects a book from a series or a stand alone (release date more than six months ago) and we ‘dare you to read’.
You can find Tynga’s Reviews at: Tynga’s Reviews
This week THE READING CAFE is featuring the magnificent author Shannon K. Butcher and what better way to start our week with Shannon than daring you to read the first book in The Sentinel Wars series: BURNING ALIVE.
BURNING ALIVE is Shannon K. Butcher’s first novel in the Sentinel Wars series of books. Released in May 2009, this paranormal story introduces the premise and characters behind the Sentinel Wars series. The Sentinels are three races descended from an ancient race of guardians known as the Athanasians, who defend and protect mankind from the demons at the door. The Theronai are the protectors, the Sanguinar are the healers (as well as blood feeders) and the Synestryn-the demons. There is a lot of background information contained in Burning Alive, and hopefully I can do Shannon’s writing justice.
Helen Day is a young woman who is haunted by a dream about dying-burning alive, while a smiling man, watches her burn. When she finally meets the stranger from her dreams, she feels an immediate connection with the man.
Theronai warrior Drake, is in constant pain from the excess of power inhabiting his body, and is nearing the end of his life. His Theonai lifemark-Tree of Life-has been shedding leaves for 100’s of years, and Drake has only a few leaves remaining. Without a mate, to save his dying soul and syphon off the excess power, his Tree of Life will die, along with his soul. The lifemark is a visual gage of a soul’s health, and all of the warriors are suffering with the pain, and are running out of time. The Synestryn demons murdered most of the females over a century ago, and there have been no children produced in almost as long.
The fates intercede, while Drake and his fellow warriors (Zach and Thomas) are on the hunt for the Synestry- who are in possession of a fallen warrior’s mystical sword. With one touch from the frightened woman- all of Drake’s pain disappears, but how is he going to keep in physical contact, while fighting to save mankind? When Helen releases her hold on Drake, the return of the pain is agonizing, and the couple must figure a way to either keep their distance or return together as one. But a demon attack at Helen’s house, and the appearance of Logan, the Sanguinar, does not bode well for the couple, and they must return to the compound where the warriors live.
Logan, as a gifted healer with the ability to read memories, requires blood, and without the Gerai around (blooded human descendant from the Athanasians), Helen is the nearest candidate. When she allows Logan to feed, she is now permanently connected to the Sanguinar, and must be available for feeding whenever Logan insists. Drake is beyond angry, for his mate now has a blood debt with Logan, as well as Logan having had access to Helen’s memories, and his presence, was only necessary as a healer. The Sanguinar are considered ‘bloodsuckers’ because of their need to feed, but they are Sentinel warriors, none the less.
As the story progresses, Drake talks of the luceria-a necklace and ring combination, shared by mates. As the couple’s relationship grows, the colors within each piece, swirl into a solid color, but if one of the pair should walk away or die, the luceria would return to its’ original state. A female must agree to wear the symbol of Theronai mating, and is only able to remove the collar, by its’ intended wearer. But Drake convinces Helen, that she must agree to wear the necklace, so that he is able to protect her, should she have need. When one of the other Theronai warriors may also be compatible with Helen, he lets it be known, that Drake has not been honest with his intended mate. Without that knowledge, Drake has not been honest and must now offer Helen a means with which to end their relationship.
Meanwhile, Helen must be trained in the ways of the Theronai warriors, if she is to fight by Drake’s side. Now that the couple has started their mating, and she has accepted the luceria, Drake no longer suffers with the pain, as Helen is able to syphon his excess power. But it is Logan, who reveals to the Gray Lady, a queen of sorts, that Helen is not all that she seems. There are powers within Helen that have yet to be released, but something is holding her back-buried so deep, that she is unable to use the powers within.
As the Theronai warriors pledge their honor and protection to the newest female, Drake and the others are convinced that Helen is not a mere human, but perhaps a descendant or product of a human/Theronia interaction. But, the story evolves, and their history of no children and no females reveals, that Helen never had knowledge of her father.
A death of a warrior, a young female seer and a missing waitress named Roxi, add plenty of background information for the reader. But the dream of burning alive-still haunts Helen, and only when she is told, that the fire is ‘within her’ to control, does she realize her dream may very well come true. A lesson in power, from the Gray Lady and a vision from a young child, haunt Helen’s dreams- a fight with fire, that could very well end Drake’s life. Without the ability to control her internal flames, Helen could destroy the man, who has become her life. But her life with Drake takes on new meaning when their luceria colors turn a matching red, as does her title as The Red Lady.
BURNING ALIVE is a wonderful debut book in the Sentinel Wars series. There is an eclectic mixture of demons, warriors, sword fights, sexual tension, passion and some humor. The Hall of the Fallen will bring a tear to your eye, and the death of a warrior, will be forever etched in your soul. As with every debut book in a serial storyline, Burning Alive was filled with plenty of background information and character introductions, that you know will evolve into something even bigger. Burning Alive is a great start to Shannon K Butcher’s Sentinel Wars series.
Reviewed by Sandy
READING ORDER: The Sentinel Wars
Burning Alive (May 2009)
Finding the Lost (November 2009)
Running Scared (May 2010)
On the Hunt – “The Collector” (February 2011)
Living Nightmare (November 2010)
Blood Hunt (August 2011)
Bound by Vengeance (February 2012)
Dying Wish (March 2012)