Review of Dark Protector (Paladins of Darkness #1), by Alexis Morgan

Last year, I found several autographed Alexis Morgan books at a second-hand store. They were signed “To Mom and Dad.” I was totally taken with the mystery of how these books came to be at a charity shop, so I bought them and made them my own.

This is not one of those books. It turns out that they were the second, third and fifth in the Paladins of Darkness series. (I bet there had been a copy of this one too, but either someone had already bought it or it was just lost in the thousands of books available.) I bought this one, Dark Protector off Amazon so that I could read the three signed ones I’d already bought.

Generally, regardless of what I might or might not think of the books, I love the mystery around them.

Description from Goodreads:
Devlin Bane: Born a Paladin, he is a member of an ancient band of warriors locked in a centuries-old war against evil.

His destiny: To die over and over again to protect mankind from the Others, only to be revived each time by his mortal Handler.

But his fierce strength and courage cannot save him from gradually becoming one of the monsters he was born to destroy.

Dr. Laurel Young, who has spent years training to become a Handler, must remain detached from her patients. But each time she revives the darkly compelling Devlin Bane, he claims a little more of her soul and incites in her desires that grow wilder and wilder — even as he inches closer to losing his humanity.

As the war against the Others grows more desperate, Laurel and Devlin can’t help but give in to the fierce hunger that’s sizzled between them for so long. Now they’ll face the ultimate battle together — to save a dark, passionate love that goes against every rule as they join forces to fight an enemy who is closer than they ever imagined….

Soooo, this was not good. But not good in a the-genre-has-grown-up sort of way. This book is from 2006 and just like bodice rippers are out of style in the romance genre, I think the sort of plotting in this book has gone out of style in the paranormal romance genre. We readers just expect so much more now than a thinly defined Other enemy of paranormal origin, a characterless alpha hero and a sweet little thing heroine. Maybe this would have been enough when there weren’t a lot of other PNR books around, but not anymore.

The enemies from across the ill-defined border are literally just called Others and the reader learn almost nothing about them except that they’re evil in some way that effects the environment. But even this little bit of information is compromised at the end and maybe wrong. (A “twist” I saw coming from the beginning.) The hero has no history or character beyond alpha-asshole warrior man. The heroine has a little more, but not much. The romance is instant, except that they’ve known one another for three years. So, I still have no idea why they suddenly had this sudden, irresistible attraction to one another. And the book has a bad case of sex=love. They have sex and suddenly they’re in love. The villain? Totally obvious (as is the bigger villain that is carrying over to the series). [Spoiler] If you are told the bad guy is a guard and only one guard in the whole book shows up more than once and is given a name, that’s the bad guy.

All in all, the mechanical writing and editing is fine. This was apparently Morgan’s first book and there are tons now, so I’m willing to give her another chance, maybe with something a little more recent. Plus, I do have three more Paladin of Darkness books to read.

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