Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: IMMORTAL SURRENDER (The Curse of The Templars #2) by Claire Ashgrove

Immortal Surrender (The Curse of the Templars #2)
Publisher:  Tor Books
Release Date:  September 25, 2012
Source:  ARC provided by author for review
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Length:  Novel – available in print and digital
Reviewed by:  Artemis

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

My Review

IMMORTAL SURRENDER opens with a prologue that gives you a glimpse of the evil incarnate that is Azazel; along with the suffering the Knights Templar experience in search of their Seraph.  The prologue is a tease from Ms. Ashgrove of a scrumptious tale yet to come.

Ms. Ashgrove uses the tropes of miscommunication, misunderstandings, and the attraction of complete opposites and carries these throughout the story with good use.  Farran, our hero, just wants to do his duty:  Battle Azazel and his minions, find Seraphs for the other knights, and when his time comes, let his soul go where it may.  Noelle, our atheist scientist, has no use for religion or theology and puts her trust in proven science.  The two are paired when the ever conniving Gabriel assigns Farran as a bodyguard for Noelle and the Sudarium of Oviedo.  There is one thing that I didn’t agree with.  Noelle does something, which as a scientist in her field would never do.  But I guess desperate times call for desperate measures and after all this is fiction – so I give it a pass.

It doesn’t take long for our H/h to grate/grow on each other as the action starts.  Throw in a heap ‘o baggage that both of them have been carrying around for far too long and well, here is a great example:

     Farran set his chin and looked beyond Mikhail, to the wall once more. “I care not. I will do what is asked of me otherwise. I will lend my strengthened sword. I will work at her side. But I shall not swear loyalty to her. My vows
are to my brethren.”
     The soothing tone of Mikhail’s voice cracked as he exclaimed, “ ’Tis unacceptable!”
     “Mayhap.” Farran punctuated his response with a curt nod. “Which do you desire more, Mikhail? The reinforcement of our Order or a petty vow that, should you force my hand, I shall not uphold?”
     Long seconds passed as the two men stared each other down. Noelle pursed her lips so tight they began to tingle.
How dare him. Wasn’t it bad enough he made his dislike of her known in private? Did he really have to go and
shame her in front of someone else? She might not be anywhere near as beautiful as Anne, or likely the other
women he associated with, but she wasn’t chopped liver either. She had good qualities. A brain for starters. And
once upon a time, a guy had said her ass wasn’t half bad.
     Damn him. He could add insensitive jerk to his ever-growing list of faults. Asshole too, if she cared to be blunt.
     She willed her emotions under control and forbade the rush of tears to stop before they trickled down her cheeks. She didn’t care what he thought of her. It didn’t matter. He was nuts, and she was going home. One way or the other.

The battle of wills and sexual tension between these two leap off of the pages.  It’s delish!

As if there weren’t enough problems with the uber-evil trying to gain control, Ms. Ashgrove sweetens the pot with malcontents among the Knights.  And they are brewing up trouble - B.I.G. time. 

IMMORTAL SURRENDER is the second in The Curse of the Templars series, and I feel it can be read as a stand-alone.  Ms. Ashgrove provides enough details in this harsh and captivating world without being overwhelming.  Several characters that were introduced in IMMORTAL HOPE make a reappearance, and the continuing arc of finding Anne’s missing sister has a brief mention.  This is one series that I have really enjoyed reading.

Ms. Ashgrove has another champion with IMMORTAL SURRENDER and her brand of romance, honor and bravery of the Knights Templar.


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