I am getting behind on my reviews. Again. Yikes! So, while I hate to do this, I am doing it anyway. I am giving you all another multi-book review. At least I am sticking to the same author/series though… and it is only 2 books…!
I read a number of books by Setta Jay (thanks Netgalley for the ability to read a bunch of them all at once!). The two in question here are Binding Ecstasy and Piercing Ecstasy. And these two didn’t disappoint. Picking up right where the story has left us, we see Bastian and then Jax respectively find their mates. And a few others too, but the primary stories are about these two Guardians and their mates.
The series seems to improve with each installment. It was wonderful how seemless the world-building now seems to be. The character development is on full display and we get much more of the characters with each book. It was easy to find pure joy in the stories here – and the caveman behavior has toned down a little – not much mind you, but I guess that is part of what I get for reading this genre.
Some of the twists and turns in these two installments were pure delights! And it was wonderful to see some ass-kicking being done by some of the females too. Both of these books moved their own plots, as well as the plot of the overall series, nicely along. It was such a relief to see the overall story arc be moved forward too. To often series like these fall into the trap where the overall story arc is barely moved forward and a reader could skip most of the non-sex chapters and still not miss much. I find it super refreshing that the characters continue to plot ahead and so does the story here. We see some changes to the players, real reprucissions, the author isn’t afraid to take out the bad guys, and the steaminess is super steamy! It is also pretty amazing that seven books in and there is still real plot that doesn’t feel all stretched out to just be a platform for the author to churn out books. Series like these tend to take that wrong turn, typically about book 7 and these haven’t so far. I can’t wait to read Divine Ecstasy! True to their titles, both of these books were ecstasy!
The second installment of the Guardians of the Realm series presented an interesting dichotomy. The caveman nature of the primary male protagonist, Gregoire, was pitted against the independent nature of his mate Alyssa. And it left me with mixed feelings. I will preface things with the following: I really enjoyed this book. More that the first. But boy, was I torn between loving the couple and thinking Gregoire was just too over the top possessive. It was a struggle to not picture him all caveman “me Tarzan, you Jane”, fists banging his chest and being so chauvinistic that when I read the scene where he storms into a room and flings Alyssa over his shoulder it was just too caveman. And it dulled a little of the romance for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, books of this nature are more sex than romance. But there is usually some, and we did get a little of it shining through so that we get to know the characters a little. But that kind of behavior in such extreme quantities and intensity just isn’t appealing to me, so it dulled things a little.
There was a remarkable improvement in the balance between the mythology of this universe and the story. We got what we needed to follow the protagonists through the plot, as well as all the collateral characters, and yet it wasn’t so much that my head was spinning in confusion because I was getting an unnecessary information dump of way too many details. It was much better that the first installment. And, what a twist at the end!!!! Holy cow!!! Didn’t see that coming! And it was a delight to see that the author isn’t stretching out a villain into a caricature just to ensure that there are obstacles and tension for more books in the series. It was refreshing and made me look even more forward to the following installments.
So, we see the antics of Cyril continue while the Guardians continue to try to protect the Realms and their respective inhabitants. Meanwhile Sam and Erik need to complete their mating but Gregoire and Alyssa and their mating are the primary focus. The battles continue and our family of Guardians continues to grow as they find mates.
Like with the first book, there is steam galore! The explicit warning is again well deserved and there are plenty of steamy scenes to make up for the shift of a number of (formerly) beloved series’ shifts into “urban fiction” – what that really means is that they lose virtually all of their steam, unfortunately. So, like with the first, if you are a fan of the paranormal and the steamy paranormal at that, then this is a must read! Just prepared for some troglodyte type behavior to be fully on display.