Embrace of the Damned
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Brotherhood of the Damned #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (301 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
A damned Viking warrior.
Centuries ago Broder Calderson committed murder. As punishment, he was given over to the dominion of Loki, the Trickster God, made part of the Brotherhood of the Damned and condemned to an immortal life of battle against the Blight, blood-drinkers from Hel.
A mysterious woman he can’t resist.
One thousand years to the day he was damned, Loki allows him a woman as reward for his good service and repentance of his crimes. Once Broder sees Jessamine Hamilton, he is overcome with need. But Jessa is no ordinary woman, and the truth of who—and what—she is could have dangerous consequences.
A tormented man she can’t deny.
Though a future together is impossible, the warrior’s touch ignites an irresistible passion in Jessa. But every heated kiss pushes them closer to destruction. Forced to return to the brutality of his Viking past to protect her, will Broder surrender forever to his darkest impulses?
Anya Bast’s newest world opens with a history lesson about our hero. One thousand years ago, Viking Broder slaughtered a lot of people – men, women and children, and as punishment for his crimes, he was involuntarily recruited to be an immortal warrior for the trickerster god, Loki. He and his brotherhood of the damned are cursed to fight day and night, hoping to kill the one demon that will free them forever. Unfortunately for Broder, he is also condemned to spend one thousand years without the touch of a woman.
Forward to present day and we meet Jessa. After the recent death of her aunt, Jessa notices she can do some odd things – like get people to do what she wants just by thinking about it. And after finding photos of her parents that were taken over 100 years ago, Jessa is determined to find out more about her mysterious history. But Jessa isn’t alone; she has demons – Blight – trying to kill her. Thankfully Broder realizes that Jessa is his destined gift from Loki and saves her before it’s too late. Broder’s alpha instincts take over and he knows he will protect her at any cost.
The book opens beautifully – the history and story grabbed my full attention. The mood is exciting and the story easy to follow. It is action packed right from the get go, and well, it is funny. One of my favorite scenes occurs near the beginning when Jessa wakes to find herself in a strange place full of good looking warrior men. As she looks to make her escape, she is discovered:
“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?”
I enjoyed the play between Jessa and Broder, but it was a tough dynamic at times. He continually demands personal information from Jessa, but he refuses to return the favor. At times he is downright rude, especially about sharing anything from his own past. Mostly Jessa takes it, and that frustrated me. But there were times when she stands up for herself and that had me cheering.
In addition, Broder, who nicknamed Jessa his “treasure,” wants to protect what is his, but Jessa needs more than being placed in a treasure chest and hidden away to stay safe. I am not a fan of this analogy for her. Broder should treasure Jessa, but not try to put her on a shelf.
As Jessa begins to discover more and more of her own past, I am as desperate as she is to uncover the truth about her origins and why her parents left their home (and hid Jessa away). The enclave of witches to which Jessa’s history is intricately tied, is full of secrecy and apparently danger. I hope that future novels explore this group in more detail.
Embrace of the Damned is an interesting story and enjoyable read. It kicks off a new series with a promising start. There are a few parallels with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series; however, Brotherhood of the Damned series is uniquely different. I did find some sections of the story repetitious, and I was middle-of-the-road about Jessa due to her fluctuation between a strong and weaker character, but overall I enjoyed this story. The ending left me wanting to know what will happen next, and I have several unanswered questions. I certainly hope that Jessa and Broder’s story will continue in the next book–and I am already looking forward to what is next.
Liked it – recommend (B+)