Joint ARC Review & Guest Post: Blood Torn by Lindsay J. Pryor ★★★★1/2!

Blood Torn (Blackthorn, #3)Blood Torn by Lindsay J. Pryor
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Blackthorn #3
Publication Date: February 21st 2014
ISBN: 9781909490192
Page Count: 466
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice & Lynsey
Buy Link: AMAZON
Synopsis: 

‘Vampires might bite, honey, but lycans tear.’

Jask Tao, lycan leader, rules his pack with absolute dedication and demands the same loyalty in return. In the world of Blackthorn, where respect is a rare commodity, Jask has earned his – few dare to cross him, and fewer survive to tell the tale.

When he captures Sophia, a rare serryn witch – whose blood is lethal to vampires – Jask knows just how valuable she can be. Despite her fiery nature, he also can’t shake the feelings that she rouses in him – feelings that he thought died along with Ellen, his mate.

Sophia knows she has to escape from Jask’s lycan compound – and fast. Inheriting her sister’s serryn powers can only mean one thing – that her family is at risk. She’ll have to get past the dangerously attractive Jask first but, scarred by memories of her mother’s murder, Sophia won’t ever give up.

Sparks fly between Jask and Sophia but, as both her family and the pack come under threat, they might just need each other if they, and their loved ones, are going to stay alive…

In this thrillingly sensual novel, Lindsay J. Pryor returns to the shadowy dystopian world of Blackthorn, where tensions are rising, the risks are high, and the most powerful loves are formed in the face of great danger.


JANICE'S REVIEW

Dark, Sexy and Thrilling 

If you've read any of the Blackthorn books (and if you haven't, seriously, WTH are you waiting for?!), then you know what I know, which is that author Lindsay J. Pryor is crazy good at this writing stuff. Her world-building skills are scary-impressive, her writing style is crisp and confident, and her characters are dark and deadly. And once her books sink their teeth into you, there's no going back. You're hooked. For life.

In Blood Torn, the attention shifts from the vampires to the lycans, and being the lycan/shifter lover that I am, I couldn't have been more thrilled by this. From day one, I've been itching to read the lycans' story, and I'm happy to report that it was well worth the wait!

Phia McKay has just discovered she's a serryn, a rare and powerful witch gifted (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with blood that is fatal to vampires. She barely has time to process the sudden change in her circumstances when she runs afoul of Blackthorn lycans and is whisked off to their super-secret compound as their prisoner. The lycans, you see, are in need of something only a serryn can get for them, and that makes Phia their new favorite person.

The Blackthorn lycans are, hands down, some of the best I've read about. Though they take a concoction to keep them from actually shifting (for everyone's safety), they've still got that wild animal edge that makes lycans my favorite supernatural race. Lindsay Pryor did a spectacular job showcasing the lycans' strengths and making it very clear that they are every bit as badass and formidable as their vampire counterparts. What really wowwed me, though, was the overall pack dynamic. This is a healthy, tightly knit, and fully functioning pack that has stood together through the best and worst of times. They have their drama moments, sure, but everyone is invested in the pack's future, and be extension, each other. I loved that.

Leading the lycan charge is Jask Tao. As the Alpha, the pack's fate rests on his shoulders, and fortunately for everyone, Jask's shoulders are broad, firm and more than up to the task. Out of all the Blackthorn heroes we've met so far, Jask was the most warm and fuzzy, and all that really means is that he kept his dark side more tightly under wraps than, say, Kane or Caleb from books one and two - but Jask did have a dark side! Very much so. It's become a trademark of Pryor's male characters, and it's one of the many reasons her books are among my favorites. She writes tall, dark, and dangerous better than almost any author I know, and Jask was so....wow. Just, WOW.

Phia, now - Phia was a challenge. She's all prickles and stings, especially in the beginning, with a bad habit of lashing out and saying all the wrong things. There's a reason for that, but getting to the heart of who Phia really is requires readers to cut through multiple layers of scar tissue. If you're like me and enjoy flawed characters, this won't bother you, but if you're looking for a heroine you can immediately relate to, Phia might be a tough pill for you to swallow. What made the difference for me, I think, was Jask. He saw something in Phia that I didn't (at first), and because HE saw redeeming qualities, I wanted to as well. I simply had to know what made this girl tick, and if she was as worthy of Jask's time as he thought she was. And you know what? SHE WAS. Phia turned out to be one helluva leading lady. As the new serryn, she is a Very Important Person in the Blackthorn world, and like the characters from the other books, we haven't seen the last of her. EVERYONE in this series has an unfinished and ongoing story, to some degree or another, and Phia is no exception.

Like the rest of Pryor's writing, the romance has a deliciously dark edge to it. There are no wasted moments, no ho-hum scenes. Phia and Jask meet, sparks fly, and they keep flying. Their relationship is a sexy, surprising, totally perfect thrill ride.

The real icing on this awesome cake, though, is seeing all the different story threads start to come together. THIS is the book where it really hits you - when you begin to understand why there haven't been any clear-cut HEA's up to this point. Because there can't be. With each book, the groundwork is being laid, leading up to what is sure to be an epic showdown between the third species inhabitants of Blackthorn and the Big Bad(s) who are determined to wipe them out.

Blood Torn was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. The entire series has rocked my socks off and I can't WAIT to see what happens next!

4.5 Stars ★★★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

LYNSEY'S REVIEW

Book three in the Blackthorn series and it has yet to disappoint!  

When it comes to Paranormal Romances, there are certain things I want: One, a smoking hot guy to lust after (don’t judge!). Two, an awesome female character to root for (sistas unite!). Three – and this one might not be as important to others, but it is vital to me – a tight plot filled with action and adventure and all kinds of paranormal awesomeness to ensure the book is as enjoyable out of the bedroom as it is within.

This series has all of that, and more. It also has a dark and dangerous vibe to it that’s just impossible to resist. For example, let’s look at the men folk. Now, we all like a bad boy character now and then, right? Well, what you need to ask yourself here is, how bad can you handle? Because Pryor ain’t messin’ around here, guys. Her bad boys are seriously bad. Anti-heroes, almost. They do shocking things, violent things, cruel things. Sometimes to the heroine. And then the next minute, they’ll risk everything to pull some super protective manoeuvre that has your jaw dropping open and your heart all a-flutter. And before you know it, you’re head over heels and in way over your head. They’re addictive, sinful, carnal.

And I freakin’ love it!

Next, the ladies. Well, as you can imagine, no dainty wallflower is going last long around the kind of guys I just described. And nor would they want them to. The women in this series are just as badass as the men. Often misunderstood, sometimes not quite as tough as they would like to outwardly project, but they’re always, ALWAYS, a perfect match. Able to stand toe-to-toe with their honey, safe in the knowledge that although everyone else should be scared of him, he would never hurt her.

And I’m happy to report that BLOOD TORN is no different to the usual formula. We have alpha werewolf Jask and newly turned Seryn Sophia battling it out to see who will come out on top, and with their heart still intact. Sophia finds herself an unwilling guest at Chez Wolf and is willing to try anything and everything to escape, but Jask is a wolf with a purpose, a much higher purpose - the fate of his entire pack is at stake, and Sophia might just be the only person who can help them. Whether she wants to or not...

Jask and Sophia were fantastic, easily one of my favourite couples so far, although I think my heart will always belong to Kane (you never forget your first, right?). Their passion blazed hotter than the sun. Pryor certainly knows how to write a sex scene, that’s for damn sure! She also knows how to take readers on a journey with her characters, and to show the evolution of a relationship from natural enemies, to loyal comrades. And that’s what her couples seem to end up - as a team. A fearsome duo. They don’t quite walk off into the sunset Happily Ever After, not yet. Instead, all the partnerships being forged appear to be leading us to some kind of prophesised end-of-life-as-we-know-it conclusion, which is set to reveal itself in book four, and I simply cannot wait!

Highly recommended to all fans of dark paranormal romance.

4.5 Stars ★★★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


GUEST POST


1) One of the things that sets your books apart for us are the only-just-happy endings (no clear-cut, riding off into the sunset to live HEA), and how each romance/book plays into the overall series arc – i.e. each couple gets their own story, but those stories aren’t entirely finished because the series itself isn’t. If that makes sense, lol. We’re curious, did you plan it that way, or did it just sort of happen and you ran with it? If it was planned, what was your reasoning behind it? Is it hard not writing a rosy, happy ending for each couple?


I did plan it that way. The series started over 16 years ago with the concept of a third species (vampires, lycans etc) forced into an oppressive human-ruled system and how they’re going to overcome it. The forbidden romances that evolved within that world became inevitable because I’m a romance writer at heart. And because Blackthorn is primarily romance, I wanted to get to know all four integral couples first before the situation they’re all in implodes. Once I knew how it was all going to end, I worked backwards deciding what to reveal when – and that meant not tying up every single loose end at the end of each individual book.


I’ve no doubt it helped that I had no thoughts of pursuing publication when I started writing Blackthorn (and for at least a decade into it), which meant I wasn’t influenced by how I’m now told things “should” be. And I think the fact that I hadn’t read any PNR when writing the series helped because I had no preconceptions at all – just a story.

I know that some readers would like a more clear-cut HEA at the end of each book and I know it’s one of the unspoken rules of PNR, but it would spoil what’s to come. Sometimes I find it frustrating because I just want to reassure readers we’ll get there, but I have to keep my mouth shut. All I can say is that Blackthorn isn’t about the neat bow at the end of every book for HEA’s sake – it’s about characters who have to work hard for their happy ending. Hopefully this will make it much more realistic and rewarding in the long run.

Sometimes it’s hard to grit my teeth and stick to how I’ve always wanted to see the series evolve, and it would most definitely be easier if I did write the rosy endings and if I made my heroes a bit more pleasant. But I’ve always thought that writing should be about more than abiding by the rules and fitting guidelines and preconceptions. Other genres get away with it – why not romance? Fortunately, I have a very forward thinking publisher in Bookouture who have taken a risk on me for the first four books. Even more fortunately, readers are embracing it.

2) As undeniably sexy as the heroes in your books are, they are also extremely ruthless and not afraid to show us their dark sides. Tell us about that. Why those kind of heroes?


My honest answer? Because, like you said, they’re sexy – and, as a writer, they’re interesting and fun to work with because they’re hard to predict. And because of that they add tension and conflict, passion and daring, excitement and uncertainty, and all those other escapist things that motivate us to pick up fiction in the first place. I’m a really strong advocate for dark heroes in romance. They deserve their place. I think it would be a disappointingly one-dimensional genre without them. I’m a Team Damon/Team Klaus kind of girl. And I’ve always been more fascinated with Lestat than Louis.

Yet dark though my heroes are, they’re also passionate, intuitive, intelligent, fiercely loyal, gentle and compassionate, and when they fall in love, they fall deep. I’m a romantic and believe that the harder the journey to get there, the more valuable that love becomes. My heroes might have a long way to go to reach their HEA but they’re worth it, so I’m not giving anyone, even my heroines who I adore, an easy ride getting close to them.

I do know my heroes are polarising though, not least from their interactions with their heroines. But I don’t stick a moral compass on them because that’s not my job. My job is to create well-rounded heroes true to their life experiences that fit realistically into the dark and hardened world I’ve created. They’re experienced and proficient survivors with tragic backgrounds living in an unpleasant world where survival of the fittest is the only way to protect those they care about. At the start of each of their stories, they’ve come together with their heroines as enemies - as the threat or barrier to what they want – against a backdrop of horrible circumstances. Out of this, they don’t treat their heroines as fragile, vulnerable females but as equals. This equality only empowers those heroines more in the heroes’ minds – so they instinctively up the ante as a result. Sometimes this does lead to questionable behaviour on their part and brings out their dark side, but that’s what creates the internal and external conflict in the stories.

Caleb (Blood Roses) has taken the most criticism for how dark he is, let alone in his approach to Leila. For me, he’s one of the most complex characters I’ve ever written and the hardest to break. In so many ways he’s damaged, and most certainly the character most in need of redemption. But Leila handles him beautifully In Blood Roses, though it doesn’t always seem that way. I see their evolving love as the most epic of all the couples in the series, not least because of the impact it’s going to eventually have on the entire future of Blackthorn. It’s amazing to see so many readers rooting for their HEA, let alone accepting that some characters just need more time, patience and understanding than others.

4 comments:

  1. AWESOME reviews! Thank you so much, Lynsey and Janice. I'm thrilled you enjoyed your latest trip into Blackthorn. And thank you so much for having me as your guest. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course we enjoyed it! Amazing stuff :). And thank YOU for being our guest, loved your responses!

      Keep up the excellent writing!

      Delete
  2. A fab post! I'm totally hooked on the Blackthorn Series. I didn't know how much I loved bad boys until I read these books. More please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! We love meeting other fans of the books we love! The Blackthorn men are in a swoonworthy class all their own :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

Authors

Adrienne Basso (1) Aimee Carson (1) Alison Bliss (1) Alyssa Everett (1) Amanda Ronconi (1) Amanda Scott (2) Amanda Stevens (4) Amie Kaufman (1) Amy Butler Greenfield (1) Amy Jarecki (3) Angela Highland (1) Angela Quarles (1) Ann Agguire (2) Anna Cruise (1) Anthea Sharp (1) Ashlyn Macnamara (1) Auralee Wallace (1) Barbara Longley (2) Bec McMaster (2) Beth Revis (1) Bianca D’Arc (1) Brenda Hiatt (1) C. J. Barry (1) C.E. Murphy (10) Cara Lynn Shultz (1) Carolyn Crane (1) Carrie Vaughn (3) Cassandra Rose Clarke (2) Cate Rowan (1) Cathy Yardley (1) Cayla Kluver (1) Cecilia Robert (1) Cecily White (1) Cecy Robson (1) Charlaine Harris (1) Chloe Jacobs (1) Chloe Neill (4) Chris Cannon (1) Christine Feehan (1) Christine O'Neil (1) Christine Warren (1) Cindi Madsen (1) Colette Ballard (1) Colleen Hoover (3) Connie Mason (2) Cora Carmack (1) Cynthia Hand (2) D.L. McDermott (1) Danielle L. Jensen (1) Danielle Monsch (1) Darynda Jones (3) Deborah Harkness (1) Deirdre Dore (1) Delilah S. Dawson (2) Devon Monk (5) Diana Pharaoh Francis (4) Dianne Duvall (2) Elizabeth May (2) Elizabeth Norris (1) Eloisa James (2) Emily Murdoch (1) Emma Jane Holloway (1) Emma Pass (1) Erica Kiefer (1) Eve Silver (1) Gail Carriger (1) Gail Z. Martin (1) Gena Showalter (4) H. P. Mallory (8) Hannah Howell (1) Heather McCollum (4) Helen Boswell (1) Ilona Andrews (10) Isabel Cooper (1) J. C. Daniels (1) J. Lynn (1) J.D. Robb (13) J.R. Ward (1) JA Huss (2) Jaime McGuire (1) Jax Garren (2) Jay Kristoff (1) Jaye Wells (4) Jeaniene Frost (3) Jenn Bennett (3) Jennifer Ashley (1) Jennifer Bray-weber (1) Jennifer Estep (5) Jennifer L. Armentrout (1) Jessa Slade (2) Jesse Petersen (1) Jessi Kirby (1) Jessica Andersen (1) Jessica Sims (3) Jessica Sorenson (1) Jessica Spotswood (1) Jill Monroe (1) Jim Butcher (1) Jo Barrett (1) Jocelyn Drake (1) Jocelynn Drake (1) Jody Wallace (3) Jolie Wilkins (4) Julianne Maclean (1) Julie Kagawa (4) Juliet Blackwell (2) Juliet Marillier (1) Juliette Miller (2) Kait Ballenger (1) Kalayna Price (5) Karalynn Lee (1) Karen Chance (7) Karen Greco (1) Karen Lord (1) Karen Marie Moning (1) Karen Rose (1) Karina Halle (10) Kate SeRine (4) Katherine Owen (1) Katie MacAlister (1) Katie McGarry (3) Katja Millay (1) Kelley Armstrong (2) Kelly Creagh (1) Kelly Hunter (1) Kelly Meding (2) Keri Arthur (2) Kerrelyn Sparks (5) Kerri Lake (1) Kevin Hearne (6) Kim Harrison (6) Kimberly Derting (1) Kresley Cole (4) Krista Holle (1) kristen Ashley (2) Kristen Britain (1) Kristen Callihan (3) Kristin Cashore (2) Kristin Miller (1) Krystal Wade (3) L. Shannon (1) L.M. Augustine (1) Laini Taylor (1) Larissa Ione (2) Laura Wiess (1) Laura Wright (1) Laurell K. Hamilton (2) Lauren Layne (1) Lauren Oliver (1) Laurin Wittig (1) Leigh Bardugo (1) Leigh Evans (4) Lesley Young (2) Linda Poitevin (4) Lindsay J. Pryor (3) Lindsey Piper (2) Lisa M. Basso (1) Lisa Shearin (5) Liz Long (1) Lizzy Ford (1) Lynn Kerstan (1) Lynn Kurland (1) Maggie Shayne (3) Maggie Stiefvater (1) Maisey Yates (1) Margaret Mallory (3) Mari Mancusi (1) Maria V. Snyder (4) Marie Force (2) Marie Rutkoski (1) Marilyn Brant (1) Mary Behre (1) Maya Banks (4) Meagan Spooner (1) Melissa Landers (1) Meljean Brook (2) Mia Marlowe (1) Mia Marshall (5) Michele Sagara (3) Michelle Diener (2) Michelle Rowen (1) Michelle Sagara (1) Michelle Willingham (1) Moira Young (1) Molly Harper (4) Monica McCarty (5) Morgan Matson (1) Nalini Singh (2) Natasha Hoar (2) Nenia Campbell (2) Nicola Cornick (1) Nicole Peeler (1) Nina Berry (1) Nyrae Dawn (2) Olivia Hardin (1) Ophelia London (1) Pamela Palmer (6) Patricia Briggs (7) Paula Altenburg (1) Paula Quinn (1) Rachel Van Dyken (1) Rachel Vincent (1) Ranae Rose (1) Rebecca Ethington (1) Rebekah R. Ganiere (1) Richelle Mead (1) Robin D. Owens (1) Robin LaFevers (2) Ruth A. Casie (1) Ruth Silver (1) Ryann Kerekes (1) S.M. Reine (1) Samantha Young (2) Sarah Harian (1) Sarah J. Maas (3) Seanan McGuire (5) Seleste deLaney (1) Seressia Glass (2) Shannon Richard (1) Shiloh Walker (3) Skye Callahan (1) Sophie Littlefield (1) Stacey Kennedy (1) Stacia Kane (6) Stephanie Rowe (3) Susan Ee (1) Susan Krinard (1) Susannah Sandlin (1) Sutherland series (1) Suzanne Brockmann (1) Suzanne Collins (2) Suzanne Enoch (1) Suzanne Johnson (2) Sylvia Day (1) Tahereh Mafi (3) Tammara Webber (1) Terri Brisbin (1) Thea Harrison (2) Theresa Weir (1) Tonya Kuper (2) Tracey Martin (1) Veronica Roth (1) Victoria Scott (1)