Thursday, October 20, 2011

Found (Brides of the Kindred 4) by Evangeline Anderson

A warrior with a scarred heart who doesn’t know how to love. And the woman who must teach him how before it’s too late…

The son of the evil AllFather, Xairn is filled with conflicting emotions. On one hand, he has finally gained his freedom and cut the ties that bound him to his race and the sadistic male who is his father. But doing so has unleashed feelings in him Xairn would rather keep buried. Desires that he prayed would never manifest now rage through him and they are centered on one woman alone…

Lauren Jakes is the long lost cousin Liv and Sophie never knew they had. Abducted by the Scourge, she formed a connection with Xairn more meaningful than any other in his life. But though Lauren thinks she knows him, there is more to the huge Scourge warrior than she comprehends. A nightmare childhood and a cruel father have scarred Xairn’s heart almost past the point of healing. But that is nothing to the secret inside him—the forbidden desires coded into his very DNA itself, which urge him to commit unspeakable acts in order to sate his newly awakened hunger.

Now a conflict is brewing—both in Xairn’s soul, and aboard the Fathership where the twisted AllFather has hatched a new, malicious plot to bring his estranged son home. Can Xairn resist the brutal lust growing within him? Can he fight against his very nature which urges him to dominate and control any female he mates? Can Lauren heal his heart before the AllFather’s trap closes on both of them? And can she teach him how to love before it’s too late?

Reviewer: avidscribe
(Contains Spoilers)
This needs to be read in succession to be understood. The first book in this series is entitled Claimed. The second is Hunted, the third is Sought. Evangeline has included an author’s note in this latest saying she is now planning two additional books but not until 2012.

I enjoyed the first three books but the fourth now feels labored. It’s the same outline. Beast Kindred; no, Blood Kindred; no, Twin Kindred; no Scourge has an issue showing the woman of his dreams all that he is because he doesn’t believe she will accept him. So this time it isn’t a mating fist or razor sharp fangs or a menage the Earth female is fearful of but a Dominant man with a double penis and a need for a submissive.

It has become like a Doris Day comedy with the man preserving his sanctity and the woman pulling out every trick to seduce him. Four times and this now feels overdone. Also note that the BDSM elements were mild and involved only a light spanking and restraint. "Forbidden desires"? "Unspeakable acts"? Huh? What book was this describing? We don't even get rough sex here. It's whitewashed and wholesome with Xairn apologizing every time he becomes sexually aroused around Lauren.

I've said it before—Evangeline’s males lack the balls and confidence that is needed for an alpha male in this kind of situation to be believable. They are protective, fierce warriors but around their women in private, they cower.

I was excited to catch up with the characters from the past books but it’s the women who we read more of as we find Olivia continuing her pregnancy and dealing with stomach churning food cravings, Sophie morose about not being pregnant too and Kat starting to plan her wedding to Deep and Lock. The detective working on Lauren's disappearance case for her mother has more time devoted to him and the hint he may also be carrying Kindred blood and not know it. He will be figuring in the next book as his relationship with Sylvan's cousin, Nadiah, is developed. I guess I wanted to see more interaction of the Kindred men with their mates. The men are mostly thrown into this book to stand up with Xairn in the end as he confronts his father.

And there’s where the story fell apart for me. For three books, we’ve been worked up to the promise of a climatic moment. It's Luke fighting Darth Vader. It's Inigo Montoya ("You killed my mother, prepare to die!"). It's payback and we waited impatiently for it.

The AllFather is a monster who drains captives dry of their emotions, who has the awful technology to create warriors in a vat to build his army, who thrills at his son's pain and harvests human suffering and trauma to maintain his existence. He is possessed of a terrible omniscient power that can scour the galaxy for his runaway son and the human female he is protecting and pull them back. Lauren is part of a prophecy that would restore the Scourge's race by mating with the AllFather and bearing only daughters to rejuvenate the race.

To have the AllFather taken down and destroyed very quickly is not satisfying. It is, in fact, very anticlimatic. Egregiously so after a long wait where the expectation grew with each successive book. Surely he would pay for his crimes. Surely he would suffer. We've been thirsting for retribution and we are denied it. Add to that the discovery and then loss of Xairn’s mother that is so unnecessary and needlessly cruel to the storyline and I felt horribly deflated. What would it have taken to have given Xairn something loving of his past and let her live?

There were some wonderful moments. I was happy to see Xairn adopt a puppy, to give him back the loving moments he had with Sanja who had been malevolently torn from him by his father but I enjoyed most the chapters involving Lauren and Xairn on the planet O’ah where trusting Lauren is exploited by one of the locals who intends to keep her for the skin trade there.

I will read the final two books even though I'd give this one only 2 stars. I remain hopeful because I think Evangeline puts a lot of effort into making her scifi atmospherics intriguing, involving and often hilarious. This book did not contain the hilarity of Kat's story, though. It's more sobering with Lauren lookalikes being kidnapped and abused by the AllFather in an attempt to lure his son back to the ship for a final confrontation he thinks he will win.

Finally, I understand this was self published. It should have been beta’d. The mistakes are not the sort, for the most part, that can be found in a spell check. They are relationally based to the text. She needs to run her book past a few good grammarians before she releases it. (Hand raised) I find this situation increasingly common to ebooks and it’s a shame more effort isn’t being made to make a book error free.

See the original review on goodreads


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