Exiled (The Protector #1)
by M.R. Merrick
Published April 12th 2012 by M.R. Merrick
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.
My Thoughts: After spending his whole life trying to please his father, training to be a demon hunter, what he was born to do, Chase Williams finds himself an outcast along with his mother, abandoned by his father, the Circle, and all that he knew, forced into a life on the outside, just trying to survive. Each day holds its own challenge. After all, when you are the famous Riley Williams' son, every demon in the world is after you. It is during one of these "attacks" that Chase meets Rayna and Marcus, an encounter that changes everything. Marcus is also a Hunter, and a very powerful one, who doesn't hold the same beliefs as the Circle, and helps to open Chase's eyes to a whole new way of thinking. Rayna is half demon and half hunter, beautiful, tough, and challenges everything that Chase has ever known. These unlikely allies soon find that their coming together was much more than happenstance, and that it will take them working together to stop the evil that has already begun to be unleashed.
The story is told from Chase's point of view, and let me just say that I love Chase. He turns out to be quite the hero, but not a perfect one by any means. He screws up, gets knocked down, but gets back up and kicks more evil butt again. I especially love Rayna. I think her character is just awesome. She is a total badass and one awesome heroine. Willy is another one of my favorite characters. He also plays a big role in helping Chase to realize that things aren't always black and white. As for the story. M.R. Merrick's has created a fantasy filled world with all kinds of supernatural creatures that is imaginative, adventurous, and entertaining. I was extremely impressed with the quality of Merrick's writing. It is very professional, and it was hard to believe that this was his debut novel. The book had the feel of a little bit of Mortal Instruments and Lord of the Rings mixed together with a little bit of underlying romance, which was icing on the cake. I thoroughly enjoyed Exiled, and if you are an urban fantasy fan (and even if you're not), you should definitely check Exiled out.
Shift (The Protector #2)
by M.R. Merrick
Published February 1st 2012 by M.R. Merrick
Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.
As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.My Thoughts: Shift picks up where Exiled leaves off. Chase, who has found out he is "The Protector," now has the tattoo to prove it, and a ring that everyone is more than willing to kill to get their hands on. He finds his powers increasing, and new ones appearing, and is still trying to learn how to get his magic under control. Chase is worried about Rayna, as the demon in her tries to rip her apart. He's dealing with a devastating loss, and can't bear to lose anyone else that he has come to care about. Riley's power is getting stronger and Chase finds not only himself, but also his friends in battles of epic proportion that test his resolve to the very core of his being. Chase must decide if protecting the ring and stopping Riley's evil plan is worth the lives of his friends.
M. R. Merrick delivers another amazing read in Shift, the second book in The Protector Series. We get to see the same characters we met in Exiled, and are also introduced to some new ones in Shift, and yes, Vincent is still around, and is still........Vincent. I liked seeing the direction Rayna and Chase's relationship took in Shift, and Rayna shows her claws a little, pun intended, when it comes to her feelings for Chase. They fight even more epic and life-threatening battles, many of which occur in the underworld, encountering all kinds of creatures, as they try to stop Riley. Chase also makes some really good friends. Merrick takes the fantasy in Shift to an even higher level and gives the reader a roller coaster ride that is intense, thrilling, action-packed, and adrenaline filled. Shift is an outstanding sequel in this amazing series, which is one that you won't want to miss.
M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.