Author: Shayla Black
Publication: Pocket Star
Publication Date: 26 October 2010
Source: E-book owned by reviewer
Audience: Adult; Paranormal Romance
From Goodreads.com: In national bestselling author Shayla Black's electrifying new novel, the Doomsday Brethren fight their mortal enemy for the newest weapon in a bloody magical war: the one woman a warrior shouldn't claim . . . yet can't resist.
Dangerously handsome Simon Northam, Duke of Hurstgrove, and his uptight brother Mason are hardly close, but crashing Mason's wedding and stealing his fiancée further aggravate their sibling rivalry. Duke's family has no notion he's a wizard, so how can he explain that magickind's fate lies with the beautiful, tenacious bride he longs to seduce? Felicia is an Untouchable, a rare human whose presence disables magic--even the impenetrable forces surrounding Morganna le Fay's tomb. The evil witch's malicious powers could propel nefarious wizard Mathias to ultimate world domination . . . "if "he can resurrect her. To conceal herself, Felicia must succumb to her smouldering desire for Duke, but he risks binding his life--and sanity-- to a lover whose loyalties are forever torn. He faces a choice: betray his brother for ultimate survival . . . or lose the woman who tempts him beyond control.
This fourth instalment of the Doomsday Brethren series was easy to pick up and get right into despite having read the previous book a year ago. Shayla Black has delivered a welcome return to the world of the Brethren, a group of Wizards keeping the secrets of magic and fighting the evil Matthias’s plans to cause anarchy with his, um, Anarki. The world that Black has created follows some of the usual formulas of a successful paranormal series (a hero and heroine finding their happily ever after, while some force works to thwart them; magical/paranormal/superhero chicanery and a suspension of the normal world view) but unlike most series, this one is set in England. Black entangles thread of Merlin and the Arthurian legend into this tale, which adds a delightful frisson. I like the different tone of the dialogue between the wizards with its flavour of snark and Britishness (for our international readership- the two are not necessarily the same!).
The couple in focus here are Duke and Felicia, who at the start of the novel is engaged to Duke’s brother and planning to live a life of quiet desperation. Then Duke crashes into her life and those plans change. For Felicia holds a special power, both magical and over Duke, but it takes her the whole book to make peace with it.
While I enjoyed the book, especially the satisfyingly chunky multiple story arcs with old favourite characters, I really didn’t gel well with Felicia as a main character. I found her constant OCD-looping about her dead sister, and her naïveté about the fact that she would eventually have to have sex with Mason if she marries him, rather annoying. Duke, however, was a sympathetic character. Gentlemanly and considerate, yet also passionate and self-sacrificing.
The evil Mathias is at the centre of the plot movement- and what an odious miscreant he is. He kills a much loved character and the ramifications of his previous evil machinations continue to be felt, with Black leaving us with the promise of more to come.
Overall, I felt the need to keep the pages turning and while it may not be a book I will reread, it was a most enjoyable weekend interlude with some of my favourite wizards.