Marked (Dark Protectors, #7) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #7
Also in this series: Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8), Demon's Mercy (Dark Protectors, #9), Alpha's Promise, Hero's Haven
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: December 22, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Janie Kayrs has known Zane almost her whole life. He was her friend in the dream world. She trusted him. But that was before he kidnapped her, spiriting her away to an isolated cabin to learn what her dreams never told her. Like how dangerous he looks. How he got on the wrong side of the negotiating table. And how much sexier he is in real life…
Zane is a battle-hardened warrior, used to command and solitude. But Janie has drawn him from the minute they met. His need for her could destroy everything he’s worked for, but the risk is too sweet not to take it. They call her the Chosen One. But when it comes down to the questions of peace or war, life or death, safety or passion, it will be Janie who makes the choice…
Pararnormals aren’t really my thing, especially when they involve vampires. (This dislike probably has something to do with my general aversion to the whole blood sucking thing and being totally creeped out by Interview with a Vampire as a kid. Don’t ask.) But I know there are many, many devoted PNR fans out there, so I’ve been exploring to see if there are any parts of the sub genre I might enjoy. I’m a fan of Rebecca Zanetti’s non-paranormal Sin Brothers series, and when I saw Marked pop up for review I grabbed it without much thought. It was only when I sat down to read it that I realized it is the seventh and final book in a series, and it is about vampires. I was immediately worried that I’d hate it and/or be completely lost and wouldn’t be able to really grade the book. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised!
I should note that since I haven’t read the whole series, I am not 100% sure what will be a spoiler. I only discuss facts that come out early this book, but if you’re really worried, you may want to skip my review.
The book is about Janet (Janie) Kayrs, the human daughter of the first heroine in the series. The Kayrs are the rulers of the vampires, and Janie was adopted by her vampire dad and fully accepted into the family. She has visions, and since she was a kid everyone has known she would play a role in peace, although no one knows how or why. (The vampires, witches, shifters, demons, and Kurjans have been at war for a long time, but in this book some of them are at least making an attempt to negotiate peace.) She’s also been friends since childhood with a mysterious boy named Zane in her dream world. She knows Zane is part vampire, but she doesn’t know until this book starts that he’s also part demon. The demon leader is a horrible psycho named Suri, who also happens to be Zane’s uncle. Suri has been threatening to kill Zane’s mom and brothers in order to get him to be his personal assassin. For his part, Zane has been plotting to kill Suri forever, and he knows he and Janie have a special connection that has to mean something. The demons and Kurjans both want to exploit whatever special role Janie might play. Zane needs to protect Janie, rescue his family, kill Suri, stop those trying to sabotage peace, and somehow lead the demons to a new era. And what is Janie’s role in all this? Is she the key to peace? Throw in a killer virus with no known cure that’s attacking vampires and things really get tense.
There is so much going on in this book, which is to be expected in the final book in a series about a world as detailed as this one. I am sure I missed out on some of the nuances and history that would have given me a fuller picture, but I was definitely able to understand the major conflicts. I imagine those who’ve read the previous books would love catching up with past heroes/heroines. We see a LOT of those previous couples here, including a sweet little epilogue for each pair at the end. In fact, there was so much “catching up” that things really dragged in some parts. Maybe page time with your favorites would be right up your alley, but I thought it stretched the story out unnecessarily.
As someone not already invested in this world, for me the book was all about Zane and Janie. Zane is a bossy, domineering, occasionally dickish alpha. It’s not my favorite kind of hero, but I can appreciate the type if he has other redeeming qualities. Zane gets my sympathy because he is juggling an incredible amount of stress. He’s trying to save everyone he loves, and his failure would mean everyone else’s death. It’s that love and devotion that makes him somewhat likeable and highlights how much he has to lose. I love how he is completely and madly devoted to Janie, and I love his heart stopping strength. Janie is kind of inexperienced and young–not exactly immature, because she too is bearing the burden of “saving the world,” but she definitely is a young woman, not a battle hardened warrior. I appreciated that her cleverness makes a real contribution, though. The Kayrs family is just a delight to read about because they are so utterly dedicated to their mates and to each other.
One thing I did NOT love is how Zane occasionally bullied Janie into doing what he wanted, and I downright hated one instance where he physically punishes her because he didn’t like her behavior. (Not sexy, consensual punishment, but a one-sided spanking.) He says he does it “for her own good,” but I really can’t stand when heroes treat heroines like naughty children. I wanted her to give him a swift kick in the junk, but instead she ends up thinking he was right. Hmpf. I somewhat reluctantly pushed the incident aside, but it really didn’t need to be in the book. I also thought some of the battle/fight scenes were kind of over-the-top. Zane, for example, gets shot more times than a firing range target. It got a little ridiculous.
I can’t say how this book completes the series or stands up to the other books. All I can say is that I had a good time reading it. I’m not sure I’d actually recommend starting the series here, but if you have even a tiny bit of familiarity with the universe, I suspect this book will hit the spot.
Grade: 4 out of 5