Brenna Nichols waves goodbye to her father on his way to work. That is the last thing she remembers until she wakes up aching in a hospital. Finding out that harm has befallen her father, Brenna comes face to face with the one man who has always held her heart in the palm of his hand, Blake Trahern. Still mad at him for leaving without a word twelve years ago, Brenna doesn't really want to listen to anything he might have to say. Her stubbornness almost makes her lose her life, but once again, Blake rescues her and carries her swiftly away to safety.
Blake Trahern left Brenna for a reason. While her father was his Paladin mentor, he could not tell Brenna what he was. With her father's murder, Blake knows that he has to come clean with her in order to keep her safe. He doesn't count on his feelings getting in the way and when he realizes that he craves Brenna's touch, he is startled but decides that he will love her and keep her safe for as long as he has breath in his body. His possible demise is a topic he thinks about every day and while he longs to be with Brenna forever, he knows that his life as a Paladin warrior could end at any given moment.
Brenna is full of dismay when Blake explains things to her. Once she has calmed down enough to listen, Blake vows to her that he will find the person responsible and take him down. They don't expect to find the love of a lifetime, but sometimes even deadly warriors deserve happiness.
After reading Dark Protector and loving it as much as I did, I figured there was no way that Alexis Morgan could ever write a follow up that would be as awe-inspiring. This is one time that I am glad I was totally and completely wrong. Dark Defender was everything that I hoped it would be and more. Blake Trahern caught my eye and heart in Dark Protector. Sitting on pins and needles, I found myself agonizing with Brenna over Blake and his possible descent into madness. Blake needed Brenna in his life and their passion for each other transcended time. Their love was not only passionate; it was electrifying.
I proudly and joyfully recommend Dark Defender. Full of powerful emotions, sensuality that could make a nun blush and a wonderfully written plot, Dark Defender took over my life until the last word. I find myself totally absorbed by these strong, loyal, and sexy guardian warriors and I can't wait to read the next installment!
Alexis Morgan's DARKDEFENDER is every bit as delicious as her other Paladin books. Once I discovered her "guys," as Alexis calls them, I had to scarf up all the books. Sexy and suspenseful and humorous and touching in turns, the stories are page turners. Now I'm on to the next one in the series. Write faster, Alexis!
This is a very enjoyable read
Alexis Morgan continues her tales of the Paladins in DarkDefender, the second book in the series. Dark Defender is the story of Brenna Nichols, an historian, and Blake Trahern, a Seattle Paladin whom we met in the first book of the series, Dark Protector.
Blake Trahern was taken in by Brenna's father, Judge Nichols, when Blake was a troubled teen. Brenna, who is several years younger than Blake, had a tremendous crush on him, but had no idea what had happened to him after disappeared from the Nichols' household after graduating from high school. Brenna knows nothing of the Paladins or that Blake had become one of the secret warriors that defend Earth from the Others. When Brenna's father is murdered, Blake returns to St. Louis to help in the investigation and protect Brenna.
This is a very enjoyable read. Brenna must come to grips with the return of Blake Trahern and revelations about her father, Judge Nichols, and the Paladins. At the same time, Blake is trying to solve the mystery surrounding Judge Nichol's murder, protect Brenna, and deal with his attraction to her. In addition, the plot deepens concerning the blue stones carried by the Others as they try to cross the barrier between worlds and also who is helping them on the Earth side of the barrier.
Reviewed at Bitten by Books Paranormal Fiction Review Site by Sally
The Bitten by Books review score for this book was 4.5 Tombstones
The Paladins are warriors who fight OTHERS who live underground and cross over during earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This is the story of Blake Trahern and Brenna Nichols. The hero and the Heroine and the rest of the gang dazzled me throughout the book. I've just found books by Alexis Morgan and am reading the Forth Book (Cullen's Story) now. She does it over and over again. So far all books have been advantageous, sensuous, and simply fantastic. I'll definitely follow the series closely in the future. I absolutely do recommend the series. Ms. Morgan Talions Series is on the top of my reading list.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time going on and on about what I liked about Blake and Brenna's story in the second book of the Paladins of Darkness series, but I will say a few things. I thought the relationship between them was a little more developed and interesting than the one between Devlin and Laurel in Dark Protector (Paladins of Darkness, Book 1). Part of that was the simple fact that there was more time for Brenna and Blake to be together, as there wasn't the need for the world-building and mythos setup that there is in a first book of a series, the other part is that the scenes between them were simply written better - more realistically, with better dialogue and a stronger chemistry. I had a problem with aspects of the romance between Bane and his handler in the first book. I didn't have the same sort of problems here. True, I had different ones...but I'll get to that in a moment.
I'm a self-confessed sucker for the unrequited love of youth becoming deliciously requited in adulthood, so that aspect of the Blake/Brenna pairing was particularly enjoyable. I also thought the plot of Dark Defender was paced more evenly and started off with more of a bang...both literally and figuratively...than the first book. As far as the characters, I enjoyed Brenna's spunky, indomitable spirit even when faced with horrific loss and unbelievable reality. Trahern was a favorite character in the first book, so I was also pleasantly surprised to get a bit of backstory on him and see him developed a bit more. Jarvis was a nice addition to the Paladins (though he was sort of two dimensional and not too individual - there sure ARE a lot of John Doe's in the Paladin ranks). Frankly, I don't have any big complaints about the lead characters or the romance part of this paranormal romance.
It's the REST of it that gives me some trouble.
I'm struggling with being honestly critical without overly spoiling the plot, so I don't know how much detail I can get into here, but some things need to be said. I was willing to let a lot of unanswered questions and undefined world/mythos parameters go in the first book because it was, in fact, a first book of a series, but after finishing the second book, I'm starting to get a little concerned. I do NOT feel the world of the Paladins and their rather large-seeming organization is very well defined for the reader in EITHER book. Yes, we got nearly a Venn diagram of the structure of the Paladin organization in this one, but not enough of the overall picture and the people (beyond Paladins) involved in that picture to feel truly satisfying. And even those non-Paladins in the overall organization are treated more like barely-tolerated nearly-enemies to the cause than actual comrades in the fight against Other invasion.
Also, everything about this series so far feels VERY much like the reader is being told how things are for the Paladins, and it sucks, but everyone is resigned to just live with that same status quo they've been living in for millennia despite technological, medical, and communication advancements. Nothing has changed for the Paladins and no one seems to care to make that change (except for one lonely handler who is in love with one Paladin...and that was the driving plot of the first book). And that INCLUDES the Paladins who live their lives with a death sentence over their heads! I do not understand that "this is how things have always been so that's just how it is" mentality in the characters and without some reason why, or some far more in-depth world definition, this aspect of the series is not working for me at all. It makes the books and the series feel very two dimensional. Even mentions of attempts and failures would be SOMETHING to show that doctors, scientist, historians, and others were a bit more...human (what scientist do you know that ISN'T interested in solving BIG PROBLEMS like the Paladins turning Other?) and this would definitely flesh out the world a bit more.
There are also some things in Dark Defender that really struck me as wrong. A large continuity error between this book and the last comes to mind first. In Dark Protector, Devlin is teetering on the brink of turning when he's killed at the beginning of the book and his "revival" takes five days. It's stated that three is about the norm. In THIS book (and I'm really trying not to include major spoilers) that no longer seems to be the case. That's a problem that an editor should have caught, because it's a defining point of the Paladins as a group/species/whatever. Smaller but equally annoying issues: Brenna just suffered a tragedy and she's hopping on Blake's...er...bandwagon...a little too soon after for me to truly buy her decisions. It COULD have been written more like a comforting thing, or an affirmation of life thing and I would've bought that. Lust and a youth of unrequited love wasn't motivation enough given the nature of the tragedy (IMO).
Barak the Other we meet in the first book is STILL not explained. If the race is so bloodthirsty and wrong, why isn't he...and why is no one asking that question? And in the first book it indicated that Others that escape the tunnels spread dissonance in our world and pollute it because of it. Even the ones that blend in versus the ones that go on a killing rampage. So...explain Barak to me again?
And STILL no answers as to why the Others want over here so bad, no glimmer of interest in finding out motivation, or improving the way to deal with them, either. Just an almost childlike fascination with gems that don't exist in our world and an odd wonder about what their value would be to the people in the organization double crossing the Paladins and taking them as bribes. But...just how are they doing that - making contact with the Others to GET that payment and MAKE those bribes if every time the barrier drops the Paladins are there to kick butt? How did it start?? When would the first muckity-muck to turn against the Paladins even get that original opportunity?
Oh...one other thing...HOW did the judge know from the first moment that Blake was a Paladin?? Are Regents psychic? Do they have some sort of genetic detector we don't know about? Was it foretold somewhere? Did Blake heal really wicked fast in front of him?
Argh! There's SO much of this series that frustrates me because so much of it strains my willing suspension of disbelief until it borders on bad story telling. And yet, I really DO think the concept behind the Paladins is interesting and fresh. Plus, I'm always going to be a sucker for paranormal romance, so I'm way more forgiving of big plot holes and general contradictions than I would be in ANY other genre, so long as the romance works for me. And again, Blake and Brenna's worked for me. This is by no means my favorite paranormal romance series (too many others do it significantly better than Morris), and I fear I'm destined to be disappointed by all the things that the series COULD be but isn't, yet I can't help but like the Paladins as people and feel for their plight, so I guess I'll continue the series for a little while longer, at least. But to get higher than a three-star rating from me is going to take some serious work, full stop.
Alexis Morgan continues her dazzling paranormal series about larger-than-life warriors and the women they love....
As a Paladin warrior, Blake Trahern fights and dies again and again to keep mankind safe from the Others. Sensing his humanity slipping away with each battle, he retreats from the world...until the one person who still has a claim on his soul needs his help. It's been twelve years since Blake vanished from Brenna Nichols's life, years that have turned her from a love-struck teen into a headstrong, sensual woman. He'll fearlessly give his life to protect her -- yet he dare not risk his heart.
Brenna is stunned by Blake's reappearance, and by a shocking discovery about her father. Everything she has ever believed is thrown into question -- everything except the desire that Blake still ignites. But as they search together for a traitor among the Paladins, danger looms: the next battle could tip Blake into madness, destroying his life, his soul...and the only woman he has ever loved.