|Exiled (The Protector #1)
by M. R. Merrick
Publish Date: August 27, 2011
Published by M.R. Merrick
Source: review copy from the author
Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase’s birthday, the bloodline stopped.
Exiled without the Circle’s protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle’s agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can’t do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle’s plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other’s life depending on it. -(summary from Goodreads.com)
Exiled by M.R. Merrick
My Thoughts: Boy you are a sly one, Merrick! You basically handed this story to me – also widely available to everybody – and pretty much made my day. Reading Exiled was like watching one of my favorite movies on TV – I’m thinking something like Matrix meets Underworld… There was tons of action and fighting and sword and daggers and stuff. It was awesome.
1. The Characters.
- Chase & Rayna. Chase is a demon hunter – not just any regular demon hunter, but one without an element. Since this was disgraceful and disgusting to his father, Chase was exiled from The Circle a few years ago along with his mother. Rayna enters the scene as a demon – Chase is alerted to her right away and tries to fight/kill her. However, he soon realizes that she isn’t a bad demon and therefore it wouldn’t be right to kill her. WHAT? You mean not all demons are bad? ~ Since learning new information about demons and other underworlders being not-always-bad, Chase’s world is basically turned upside down pretty hard-core. And Rayna, well, she’s not only not-bad, she’s half-demon & half-hunter: a half-breed! Chase has no idea what to make of things at all. But he likes the way she looks. But wait! she’s a filthy demon, he can’t have those thoughts, right? ~ Chase and Rayna make a great team and they have super great chemistry. I like them both, although I really love a good butt-kicking female that can hold her own anyday. Rayna makes Chase look good, in my opinion, especially since he makes a few mistakes here and there. But DO NOT count Chase Williams out, my friends. He has some qualities that are redeeming, sexy, and awesome. LOVE these two.
- Marcus Starkraven. Marcus is a towering, dark figure that comes outta nowhere when Rayna and Chase are fighting. But he’s a good guy. Before faking his death, Marcus was a demon-hunting member of The Circle. Marcus left the group when he realized they were corrupt and up to no good. He came across Rayna, an outcast among both The Circle and The Underworld, and he took her in. Marcus taught her well, taught her to be kind and good, because that is what he is. He is also wise and very strong. He is a central figure in the story, although he is not the main character. Basically, even though Marcus isn’t in every scene, he is awesome. I can imagine he wears his sunglasses indoors and at night.
- The Secondary Cast. MAN I wish I could list them all and talk about them all for days. There’s Willy the demon, who will win everyone’s heart with his stutter and shy selflessness. There’s Vincent, the powerful, well-dressed, very rich vampire that can communicate with his mind and acts as a go-between between Chase/Rayna and The Underworlders – for a price, of course. Vincent’s role is large and his character is tons of fun. There’s Riley Williams, Chase’s awful father, who is just…so bad. So bad that you can’t help but like him as a villain. And there’s Tessa Williams, Chase’s sweet and kind mother, who teaches him well, treats him like a king, and gives to him even when she goes without. I loved Tessa. And there’s Tiki, the warrior from the other world that looks very different but helps Chase in very big ways.
All of these characters are super likable, developed well, and deserve awards of some sort for being the kind of characters you love to read.
2. The Magic & Elements. The members of The Circle and The Underworld use not only regular methods of fighting – swords and kicking and stuff – but they are able to use magic and elements to help. The magic is fun although sometimes pretty dark…but it is the author’s use of the elements that sort of won my heart. See, Chase’s father Riley could manipulate fire to his advantage – he used it to fight and kill. Chase’s mother could use water to fight and to heal. On the day that Chase became an official hunter, his element should have shown itself and become apparent – that’s how it usually worked – but no element chose him, which led to his exile. Ridiculed among his own for this, Chase was an outcast. Despite this, however, Chase was a very powerful hunter because of who is father was – if Chase ever were to gain elements, the bad guys had better watch out…
3. The World. The majority of the book takes place in and outside of Stonewall, which is a town in a world much like ours except it is crawling with things like vampires, witches, demons, werewolves, and warlocks. In all honesty, the world Chase lives in isn’t all that outstanding in terms of world-building – because it’s a regular world. The demon creatures use glamour (you know, like tricking our human eyes to not see the things they can see?) to hide their Underworld hangouts and places so they can blend in easily. HOWEVER, there is another world in this book that we get taken to and WOWSERS it was a feast for this girl. Nothing was like Stonewall and everything was awesome. The author used his imagination like crazy to create this sort-of parallel universe that not only had the types of underworlders that I just mentioned, but also goblins, trolls, and giants too. The landscape was different, the atmosphere was different, and the animals were different. LOVED it.
4. The Story. The story is all-systems-go from the first scene until the last scene. The pacing is fast and the plot is awesome. I won’t go into any details about it here because to do so is to spoil it big-time, but just trust me when I say that if you are looking for a good time and an action-driven plot, you need to read this book.
5. Romance. There is great chemistry between Chase and Rayna throughout the book, but it is toward the end that some deeper feelings start to slowly come out. Throughout Exiled, however, the two never show interest in anyone else, and the feelings that they have for each other develop slowly. In fact, I feel like it is okay to tell you (since this is book one of a series) that at the end of this book, the feelings are still slow-burn developing. I like it.
6. The Cover. You guys, I never really understood the cover for Exiled – but I realize now that it is because I hadn’t read the book. I totally get it now. ELEMENTS, y’all. Fire and water. On the cover. Makes perfect sense. Brilliant.
Friends, I picked up Exiled after reading two contemporary YA books and it was the perfect post-contemporary Sunday afternoon read for me. I was fist pumping and cheering on the antics of this crazy demon-hunting team. While the story may have been a teensy bit predictable here or there, I didn’t care at all because I was having the time of my life while I was reading it. The author has created a strong, action-packed beginning to a series that is well-deserving of the mad love that everyone is giving it.
I love the story and I love how it picked up right away. I love the action and all of the fighting (hooray for swords, daggers, and the butt-kicking female!). I loved the mythology of all of the creatures. I loved holding my breath in the bigger fights and catching my breath at all the right places. I love the fact that Merrick used almost all of the paranormals that we know in the same book and even threw in a portal to another universe. It all worked together really well, and I’m PUMPED that I have Shift waiting for me so I can keep going with this story.
I need to know what’s happening next! There are things, you guys…things that happened at the end that make me wonder where the plot is headed…So you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna keep on with the next book. I love Chase and Rayna and I need to see what they’re gonna do with the situation they’ve been dealt. MY recommendation to YOU is that you start with Exiled pretty quickly if you like action-packed stories with swords, daggers, and paranormals.
Exiled will appeal to fans of:
Swords and Daggers
Action-Driven Stories with Excellent Characterization
Slowly developing friendship-into-romance; No love triangle
Stories that contain magic with the use of the elements
Exiled by M.R. Merrick is currently available for purchase.
**I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you SO MUCH, Matt!
Have you read Exiled?
Did you have a favorite character?
If you haven’t read it,
is it on your TBR/wish list?