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Today, M.R. Merrick also stopped by to talk about elemental magic and his inspiration for writing The Protector Series. It's fascinating, and I encourage you to
The final book in the series will release later this year!
I'm going to talk about all three books in my review today, so you can read part of this or all of it, depending on where you are in the series. I've kept the reviews as spoiler free as possible, but some abound for those who aren't up-to-date on this series!
Overall, I'm impressed with all the world-building, and especially the epic use of elemental magic and original mythological lore!
The Protector Series begins by throwing readers right into the action, as do the rest of the books in the series. If you're looking for a lot of action, mayhem, and battle mixed together with elemental magical and the fate of the world falling on one teenager's shoulders, look no further because you've found your series!
Chase grew up his entire life knowing he was a Hunter, destined to purge the world of demon scum. On his fifteenth birthday, when he's expecting to come into his elemental power and join the Circle as a full-fledged member, he's stunned to find out that he's barren. Shunned from the Circle and disowned by his own father, Chase and his mother flee into exile. They've been in hiding for two years and Chase fights the demons he comes across, but a chance encounter with Rayna, a girl of mixed-blood changes everything. Suddenly up is down, and Chase begins to realize that not all demons are evil creatures that need demolishing. Not only that, the Circle is set on opening a portal that will bring Hell to Earth, and only by banding together with those Chase was brought up to distrust can stop them.
One great thing about the series is that even the "Save the World" storyline doesn't take place to the "overpowering romance" of two (or sometimes three, if you're reading a book with a triangle) starcrossed lovers. I don't know about you, but I'm so sick of seeing that in so much of the YA currently out there. There should be a strong balance between the two, especially in fantasy, and M.R. Merrick doesn't disappoint, creating just the right blend throughout the series.
Chase grows so much as a character, and is put through trials and horrors no human being should have to encounter. He is truly destined to become a hero despite the sacrifices along the way. In a way, Chase reminds me of Buffy, because he pulls together a core group of people, works with his enemies, and attempts to save the world from destruction and mayhem, sacrificing so much of himself along the way in order to save the greater good.
Chase and Rayna learn so much about themselves and their abilities in SHIFT. If they can't learn to control their abilities and powers, it can kill them. The first chunk of the book revolves around Rayna and her life-or-death battle to shift. Her trials are bloody and brutal; you can feel the pain that comes from having such "gifts." Chase, meanwhile, is learning all he can about his destiny and the ring in his possession, as well as learning to harness and control more elemental magic than he knows what to do with. What makes him powerful can also kill him. If Chase and Rayna can't regain control of their own bodies, the future is forfeit to Ithreal, a sealed god Chase's power-hungry father, Riley, is attempting to unleash.
SHIFT has so many more nuanced layers compared to the first book, and delves even further into elements that create new worlds for readers. There's more fantasy, more adventure, more fantastic beasts and worlds, just...more. While the description can, at times, be too bloody and violent (at least for me, but I'm squeamish), it also helps when building worlds unlike anything else we've ever seen and introducing us to new things. No segments are unwarranted, despite all the directions the book pulls readers in, for each will play an important part in the looming battle. In SHIFT, I loved seeing Chase and Rayna come into themselves. They're both such strong characters despite their insecurities, with hearts of gold. They've opened themselves up to so many new possibilities and are truly adamant about saving the world to the point where they'll pair with former enemies against a common one bent on destruction.
This time around, Chase is finally learning to harness the powerful elemental magic he's discovered over the past two books. At the same time, having so much power is destroying it. He's fighting himself even as he attempts to save those around him. Quests abound as Chase and his battle-ready group seek the soul pieces that can prevent Ithreal from rising, especially now that the ring has fallen into enemy hands. Rayna's destiny is more fully revealed, leaving behind startling answers and creating new ways for her to help their cause. By the end of RELEASE, Chase has also learned more about his destiny, and will follow the path set before him in the final book in the series, due out later this year. We even get more insight into our villains this time around, seeing why Chase's father Riley first set out to release Ithreal, as well as more questions about the true motives of the Dark Brothers.
Chase has come so far since EXILED. He now allies himself with those he once swore to kill, and even considers many of them to be his closest friends. He's more desperate than ever to stop his father from raising Ithreal despite the fact that the powers given to him for being the Protector and bearing the Mark are beginning to tear him apart. He will do anything to keep those he cares about from harm, and carries the weight of the deceased around on his shoulders, thinking himself responsible for all that has gone wrong on his father's power-hungry journey. Characters that, up until now, weren't fully explored have their stories unfurl as more power-struggles loom, and we're introduced to even more fantastic creatures as we world-hop to new dimensions alongside the characters. There is, however, very little resolution this late in the series, so expect a full-scale battle in the final showdown.
The tour giveaway is AWESOME & is INTERNATIONAL!
Grande Prize Pack (3 Winners)
3x Signed paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)
3x Signed 8x10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)
1x Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)
Runner-up Prize Pack (5 Winners)
1x Signed paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster
1x bookmark (Winner’s choice)
Secondary Prizes A (10 Winners)
Secondary Prize B (10 Winners)
1x bookmark (winner’s choice)
1x The Protector magnet
Winners will be chosen as follows: First 3 names drawn from Rafflecopter will get the grand prize. The following 5 names get the runner-up prize. The following 10 names win ebook copies of Release, and the final 10 names win the swag pack.
There will also be multiple opportunities to win signed paperbacks, signed posters, notebooks, swag packs, and bookmarks throughout the tour on both Twitter (@MRMerrick) and Facebook Fan Page .