I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Exiled by M.R. Merrick
Series: The Protector #1
Published by Self-Published on 12th April 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
I put off reading this book for a long time and I’m not sure why. I asked Matt if there was any sexy times in it, and he said not really. That may have had something to do with it. But if he’d told me that there was so much chemistry between Chase and Rayna, I might have checked it out faster. Because it kind of had the potential to stroll into bow chica wow wow territory, and probably would have more if they hadn’t all been so busy fighting to survive. Also, Merrick, what are you doing wasting all that potential sexual chemistry?! And have you ever considered writing romances?
Exiled is like a diamond in the rough. I see so much of Merrick’s potential as an author. I think given time, attention, and hardwork – his books are going to be pretty damn great. Exiled itself was a difficult book to me to rate. The raw material, itself, was pretty excellent. There was certainly plenty to appreciate about the novel and I had a great deal of enjoyment while reading it. This was Merrick’s first novel, though, so there are always going to be things that an author can learn and improve on. When I said diamond in the rough, I meant it. I got the sense throughout reading it, that it really needed an experienced editor to cut and polish it to help Merrick bring out the best parts, and chip off the parts that were cumbersome or unnecessary.
The intro needed to be a little smoother, and the back end of the story contained some unnecessary story telling that I could see was probably setting up for the next novel, but that really punched the pacing in the gut and detracted from the overall plot.
The characters were a big positive for this book. Chase was endearing in that way that little brothers are. Overly-confident and just adorable enough to pull it off. Rayna was a great counter-balance, providing maturity and a gravity that Chase could aspire to. Marcus played the ever-patient and ever-ignored father figure while Chase’s mum gave the novel a sweet, grounding, human touch. Then, of course, there’s Vincent if you want a mature romantic lead.
And whilst I am eager to follow up on the lives and adventures of Chase and crew, I can’t help but want to take a red pen to this book. I enjoyed it so much but feel like its potential was cut short, like a world-class athlete with no one to train it. Merrick made a couple of astounding female characters, which I’d like to see him do more of. The novel does feel a little unbalanced and overpopulated with powerful men in leadership/destiny roles. I feel like they’re especially necessary to balance out the damsel in distress-heavy plot toward the second half of the book.
You’re probably going to like this book if you’re into a younger version of The Dresden Files with a main protagonist who is almost as exasperating. It’s certainly not a perfect novel, but also not without merit.
Ultimately, I want to see more from Merrick. This was a really hard book to rate. I feel like it deserved more stars based on my enjoyment, but the issues with the plotting and pacing tripped me up. I think he has the signs of an excellent story teller, though, and I’m eager to read the next in the series, Shift.