Pros: The heroine’s problems don’t make her whiny or incapable of action.
Cons: The villains can be more comical than threatening at times.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Two goddesses of Mount Olympus have been locked in a struggle for the fate of humanity for thousands of years. Warrior Brody Talbot fights on the side of Themis, goddess of balance and justice. Enyo, goddess of war, seeks power to destroy the human race. A prophecy exists that says that the five Summoning Stones of ancient Egypt discovered several years ago could be a means to unlimited power, but there is only one person who can harness that power. Ava Harrison is trying to continue the legacy of her murdered father, an Egyptologist, and she’s just gotten the job of curator of an upcoming exhibit featuring the Stones. She can’t help but be suspicious of Brody, who keeps showing up in her life all of a sudden, but she can’t deny the attraction between the two of them. Brody finds himself shocked by the depth of feeling between them, but if they want to find out where that heat leads, they’re going to have to outrun a very angry Enyo…
I actually enjoyed Addison Fox’s Warrior Ascended a lot more than I initially thought I would. I was initially concerned that the book would try to mash together Egyptian and Greek mythology, but Ms. Fox neatly sidesteps that by using Greek mythology but Egyptian artifacts of power. I really enjoyed that hybrid, as it allowed two different civilizations to exist in one story without having to compete with each other for attention. (One little nitpicky thing that did bug me, and does every time I see it: the proper term is hieroglyphs, not hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphic is the adjectival form.)
Ms. Fox also does an excellent job of crafting her heroine. Ava seems to have spent a good deal of her life both nervous and trying to live up to what she thinks is expected of her. That was something that I found very easy to relate to, and it pulled me even deeper into the story. I didn’t just want Ava and Brody to overcome obstacles and find true love, I wanted their love to give Ava the courage to finally come out of the shell she’d built around herself. As someone who’s struggled with fear myself, it actually became a very encouraging and empowering read.
Brody, on the other hand, definitely has the Alpha male persona going on but I did appreciate the fact that it didn’t become an easy source of conflict between the two of them. Granted, he does have to learn to work around it, but his Alpha actions were never things that aggravated me; the reader always has a clear understanding of why Brody does what he does. It’s always nice to read about an Alpha who only needs to be harsh and aggressive with his enemies!
I’m also fascinated by the way that the story unfolds, teasing the reader with glimpses of characters that I’m sure we are going to get to spend even more time with as the series continues. Each Warrior that we meet is governed by a specific sign of the Zodiac, and the traits of that sign play a heavy role in their lives. (That’s the reason that Brody, a Leo, can be such an Alpha sometimes.) I can’t wait to see how those different traits influence their actions and lives as the series progresses. It’s also a great way to keep the series from becoming stale as time goes on; the heroes are all going to be wired so differently that character cloning becomes very difficult.
With all of that being said, I’m not quite sure how I feel about Enyo and her cohorts; they seem to try so hard to be frightening that it almost becomes comical at times. There’s plenty of infighting and double-crossing, and more evil egos than you could shake a stick at. The thing that made me laugh the most, however, was when I was introduced to Enyo’s two assistants, Phobos and Deimos. My mind immediately went to Disney’s movie Hercules, and the ultimately ineffective trilogy of Hades, Pain and Panic. For the rest of the book, I kept picturing Enyo as a female version of Hades and it definitely killed off a good deal of my fear for her. Despite that unfortunate association, she does still manage to be a threat; her single-minded determination to destroy the human race will not be diverted for anything and she lacks those rather amusing things that humans call scruples, or a regard for human life.
This book was a blast to read; combining paranormal romance, enjoyable heroes and heroines, and globe-traveling intrigue kept me turning the pages until I finished it. I adored Ava because her fear was something that I and other readers are able to easily relate to. Moving through her story and watching her get her happy ending was not only enjoyable but encouraging, a message of hope that those obstacles can be overcome. And even though Enyo and her crew seemed a little laughable at times, I am so in love with the idea of this series that I absolutely cannot wait for the second book! We appear to be in for a fun ride with a lot of unique characters, and I must admit I’m curious to see what the Virgo warrior is going to be like…