Immortals: The Redeeming

Jennifer Ashley
September 2008, Urban Fantasy Romance
Love Spell, $7.99, 368 pages, Amazon ASIN 0505527456
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Hot

I've enjoyed Jennifer Ashley's historical romances, as well as the historical novel she wrote as part of the Laurien Gardner team. When this versatile author turned her hand to the paranormal Immortals series, I knew I would have to read it. Immortals: The Redeeming is a steamy romance and, while I had my quibbles with it, it's still an enjoyable read.

A half-demon, Samantha works in the Los Angeles Police Department's Paranormal Division. Demons, vampires, and other types of magical creatures roam the cities and the paranormal police ensure that they follow the rules. As the book opens, Samantha is undercover in a demon-owned bar seeking to prove that the owner peddles a drug that eliminates a human's free will in the face of demon temptation. While in the bar, a dispute breaks out and, to Samantha's surprise, an Immortal warrior called Tain saves the day. Samantha is surprised to see Tain and even more shocked when his only words to her are, "Stay away from me."

Samantha has some knowledge of Tain's family and his past, which was revealed in other books. I will not spoil those stories here except to mention that Tain spent 700 years being tortured by a demon who harmed him in both body and mind and he still struggles with the effects. Though he tells Samantha that he never wants to see her again, he shows up at her house. As it turns out, Tain wants Samantha's help in discovering why young demon prostitutes are being preyed upon.

Though Tain tells Samantha he does not hate all demons, his history has left him conflicted. He wants to keep a distance between himself and Samantha because she is half-demon, while he also finds himself strongly drawn to her. As the two work together, the chemistry between them becomes obvious quite quickly. The two also discover a series of sinister connections that lead them to various paranormal intrigues, as well as an exploration of a strident, anti-paranormal organization.

The various discoveries that Tain and Samantha find themselves caught up in make for exciting reading and the book at times takes on the pace of a tightly plotted thriller with surprises around every corner. I found myself flying right through it. The romance between Tain and Samantha is also satisfying for the most part, but I did find myself getting somewhat impatient with it, largely because I had a difficult time getting into the characters' heads. The spark between them is believable enough, but given that Samantha is very well aware of Tain's past, I expected more sympathy or compassion from her. I also expected to see a little more of the effects Tain's experience had on him. He mentions it, but the reader does not get to see it and so a certain depth of emotion is lost.

Even with these weaknesses, the story still engages and is a very enjoyable read. Though there are plenty of paranormals on the shelves, this series has an original voice to it, and the sometimes complicated world created by the series' authors came alive for me during the best moments of the book. As Immortals: The Redeeming is the final book in the series, it may not be the best starting point for new readers. Even so, the story stands relatively well on its own. Though I found the quality of the series somewhat uneven, I would definitely recommend that readers check out the other books in order to make this grand finale a richer reading experience. Several afternoons of enjoyment instead of one - how could it be anything but fun?

-- Lynn Spencer

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