Primal Instinct

Author: Rhyannon Byrd

US Publisher: Mass Market Paperback

Books:

  1. Edge of Hunger – Ian and Molly
  2. Edge of Danger – Saige and Quinn
  3. Edge of Desire – Riley and Hope
  4. Touch of Seduction – Aiden and Olivia
  5. Touch of Surrender – Kierland and Morgan
  6. Touch of Temptation – Kellan and Chloe
  7. Rush of Darkness (March 29, 2011)
  8. Rush of Pleasure (August 2011)

Prequel – Edge of Craving (ebook only)

Series Premise: The Merrick are an ancient bloodline of “monsters” who imprisoned the Casus many years ago because of the Casus’ crimes in a wasteland dimension the Casus call Meridan.  When a Merrick “awakes” (comes to full power) the Casus then want to kill the Merrick since they will get enough power from the killing to bring another Casus back to this world.  And since the Casus rape and mutilate and murder, this is a bad thing.

The Watchmen are normally supposed to stay out of the way and just watch, but the group from Colorado (now, as of the end of #4, England) don’t do what they are told.  Watching the Buchanan siblings (Ian, Riley and Saige), they have become sort of a group.  Keriland and Kellan are brother shifters – they shift into wolves.  Noah Winston is a human of the Casus line who is trying to help keep his family from being hosts tot he Casus and is fighting with out group.  Molly can speak to the dead in her dreams.  Ian has powers of precognition.  Saige can learn things from inanimate objects.  Quinn is a Raptor (and there aren’t many raptors left).  Riley has the powers of telekinesis.  Hope doesn’t have any special powers.  Aiden shifts into a tiger and Olivia is aunt to a Mallory witch, Jamie, who is a small child but saved the group at the end of #4.  Olivia isn’t a witch because she is a step sibling into the family of witches.  One of her sisters was killed, the other, Chloe, kidnapped by the bad guys.

The Dark Markers are ancient talismans – in the form of ancient crosses – which protect the wearer and can help destroy the Casus and send them to hell.  However, in book #4, we learn that when a Casus is sent to Hell, something escapes through that portal.  They are called Death-Walkers and they are the former beings who were sent to Hell for their crimes and they want to cause chaos and they are starting with killing the watchmen.  They can be harmed, but not killed, by salted holy-water and they can’t cross it either.  The Dark Markers have something to do with this, and they are hidden all over the world, with locations on coded maps that Saige can sort of decipher because of her power.  But the bad guys got copies of the maps during Saige’s book.

The Collective is a militant-like organization who is bent on destroying all the clans (the bloodlines of supernatural folks).  They made a deal with someone called Westmore who is one of the secret vamp hybrids and Westmore is calling all the shots, but we don’t know why yet.

The Consortum is sort of the governing body over all things preternatural.  Composed of a member of each of the (surviving) clans, they oversee the watchmen.  But they are slow to act and we haven’t really seen much of them as of they end of #4.

Other Important Things –  There are two groups of vampires, one of which is being used by the bad guys (who I am lumping together into one group for now) and they can only be killed by staking them through the heart.  Ashe is a vampire that has issues with Kierland but we don’t know why as of the end of book #4.   Seth McConnell was with the Collective, fighting against the Merrick, until he realized (in book #2) who the real enemy was.  So, he switched sides and has been helping fight the Casus.  Kellen is still trapped after he left to rescue Chloe.

As of the end of Book 5 – some new info:  Ashe and Gideon are vamps who are going to help in the fight.  A vamp is “cold” and their one rue mate can help them find some warmth.  Gregory was mortally wounded but still has survived and Westmore wants to know how. Westmore has captured a psychic, Raine, also who can see the past and present through living people.  While in the “wasteland” we may have met a new ally in a family of Vamps lead by a vamp named Juliana Sabin.  We also now think that the Dark Markers are the “keys” to Meridan and may let the flood come on – since if they open the gates to the prison, the all the Casus will be freed.

As of the end of book 6 – We still don’t know why the Sabin family has been sentenced to the Wasteland, but the family is shaping up to be a good ally.  Kellan encounters a new witch – who was partnered with Gregory because she wanted something from him.  When Gregory is taken out (I have no idea if he’s been sent back to Meridan or if he was sent to hell when Chloe let her powers loose) she disappears saying that he can’t help her now.  Westmore is still on the loose.  There’s now the group of zombies that the Death-Walkers have created.  Our good guys have the “archives” which is really just a journal or two (one they got at the compound, the other they took off Spark).  Chloe has some amazing power and we don’t know the extent of it.  Raine, the psychic can see a lot too but she is traumatized.  Jameson has been killed (I was hoping we’d see a book for him in the future 😦 ).  And we may have a new ally in Gabby Reyker, a vamp whose family was also exiled to the wasteland, even though she isn’t.  And, she good with antidotes – she created the antidote that saved Kellen and now is working to help Juliana try to find an antidote for Micah.  Seth might have a thing for Raine…  not sure, but we’ll see.  It seems Morgan’s idea about the markers being the key is correct – they are not only the keys to the gate at Meridan but they are the map as to how to find the prison as well.  There was some sort of altar at the compound, and it was evil, but we don’t really know what it was for.

End of book 7 – I am waiting until it’s published before spoiling.  So… check back in a week!

Review for Rush of Darkness:    I had, overall, been enjoying this series.  And I am happy to say that this book is one of the higher points in the series.  While there have been installments that I enjoyed much less then others, here I was relieved when I finished this one.  Because, I admit, I was worried at first.

We have here the story of Raine, the psychic half-vampire we met in the last book, and Seth McConnell, the human ex-Collective soldier.  They both have their issues with themselves and each other.  That’s nothing unique in this genre.  However, somewhat unique was how well the prior installment set the foundation for the development of this particular relationship and how well it took advantage of that set-up.  The pair was one I found myself routing for, much more then, say Hope and Riley.  There was action, some great steamy scenes, and definite progression in the overall story-arc of the series.

It was also great to see how involved some of the other characters were.  Often in this genre we get lots of great books about couples, but as we progress in the series we only get peripheral action from the other characters.  I know it’s hard, since these books really are about the “couple de jour” but when you leave the rest of the cast behind sometimes the books feel like a little bit of a waste.  Here, that is not the case.  I loved who we saw and how much we saw of them.

I was worried, having just finished the prior 2 installments (and diving right in, no time in between) that some of the descriptions were going to just continue to repeat (for example, the author used “vein-ridden” or “vein-riddled” over and over and over in the last two books) and they were loosing their appeal they were so over-used.  But, happily, the author found some new ways to phrase things.  She found new ways to get us steam.  And, the internal struggle that each half of the couple always has in these books didn’t feel as frustrating as it has in other books of this genre.  The emotional struggles the characters felt, felt much more real and made it much more enjoyable.

My biggest complaint is that there is sort of a throw away chapter or two here (including the epilogue, which I would have just saved for the prologue of the next book).  They are clearly meant to set up the next installment, but they felt like a waste and really didn’t add much.  And one of them was maybe a page long – so it really felt unnecessary.

There’s still mystery given that the overall arc of the series started to change direction a few books ago but it didn’t feel strained and feels like a natural progression.  We get some closure, but more struggles too so that I know there will be more books to come without having to trump up some last minute excuse that feels rushed and like it came out of nowhere.

I was hooked on this one and had a very hard time putting it down.  I felt as if my nook was calling me begging me to pick it back up just to finish this when ever I couldn’t be reading.

I look forward to the next one!

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