My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...
I have no idea where to start, seriously! The Book of the Watchers series by Janine Ashbless is SO complex and absolutely amazing that I’m just....... speechless really. This series is rich in story telling with a great research and a marvelous writing style where the author blends many dimensions, of facts and fictions, together in such a way that the only thing I can say for this series is WOW! I had to read In Bonds of the Earth at a snail’s pace just to savor each chapter.
I’ve never read anything by the author prior to this series. I picked up book 1 of the Watchers series, Cover Him With Darkness, because 1. I was in search of a good angel-demon type book and 2. I loved the title. And boy it sucked me right in from the start; from the moment when little Milja met Azazel the Fallen, bound in a dank, dark cave, for eternity... awaiting another eternity. Azazel is called a demon, a fallen angel, Prince of Darkness or Satan as I found in some sources. I’ll personally stick to the story itself because many of these notions discussed in the book connected to the Book of Enoch is rather vague to me. But that didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all. The whole story behind Azazel and his many brothers’ fight with the good angels and how they were then entombed in various places in the world is told in book 1. It was such a fascinating story, with excellent visuals, such as Azazel’s fight with St. Michael and the destruction of his human family.
Milja, a girl born in a small mountain-bound village of Montenegro, has known The Prisoner since her childhood. The Prisoner was there always. Many had been in charge of him over the uncountable years, her father the priest, being the latest. Milja’s mother was already dead, so her father has been the center of her world... until the day she started having dreams of The Prisoner, whom she’d only met a few times; always with her father by her side. Her father has forbidden her to ever communicate with the prisoner, let alone release him, no matter how much he begs. Yet, the sad, heart-wrenching dreams of him in pain, absolutely misery of many, many years tore at Milja. Then one day, when she was around 20, she does the unthinkable. She goes to the cave alone to meet him for the first time in years since she went to school. The Prisoner was always in her thought, in her dreams, so much so that she only had one boyfriend but couldn’t even maintain that relationship. She knew by then who she belonged to, and she decides instantly that she’s going to release him.
Susannah Sandlin’s ILLUMINATION is an exciting conclusion to the Penton Legacy series. Human, Nik Dimitrou, moved to Penton because his psychic abilities were not triggered by vampires. He is confronted by his past when his ex-girlfriend, Shay Underwood, is kidnapped by the tribunal and needs to be rescued. This contemporary PNR takes place in New Orleans and Penton, Alabama. It is suitable for adult audiences.
Susannah Sandlin continues to do an admirable job with her plot and character development. Nik is an intriguing character. He has psychic abilities that cultivate in the story. His character faces many obstacles and transforms throughout the novel. He has an interesting past with Shay that ties in well with the plot. I like Shay. She is noble and intelligent. She looks at the war between Penton and the Vampire Tribunal in a new light. I appreciated that the characters from the previous books also played a vital role in ILLUMINATION.
I started following this series in 2013. I loved the concept of the plot. Illumination was a satisfying conclusion to the Penton Legacy. Susannah Sandlin did a nice job tying in characters and situations from the previous books into this story. The entire series is skillfully-written and executed. The characters are likeable and convincing. I am sad to see the series end. I would love to see it as a movie or television series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned!***
It is greatly recommended you read The Greyfriar before jumping into this novel. You’d be pretty much lost if you started reading out of order.
This one was just as good as the first one and better. I enjoyed reading Adele’s development throughout the book! I never thought of her as a whiny damsel in distress even though there were times when she wasn’t sure what to do but in this book she went from a strong character to someone even stronger. She immediately knew what to do and there were times when she didn’t take no as an answer (and the empress in her came out! That was fun to watch!)
You now have a more developed plot and you also get to see who’s on who’s side and who has a private agenda (Yes Mamoru, we’re talking about you.) I used to like Mamoru so much until the last third of this book. Wow. I understand where the hatred is coming from but it goes to show how blinding it can be and the way it can twist someone around.
Also: Everybody needs a friend like Colonel Anhalt. You need a loyal friend like that in life. No kidding. He’s become one of my favorite characters in the series because of his loyalty, despite discovering who the Greyfriar really is. He adores and cherishes Adele so much I loved reading about him. She treats him just the same way and they both are the best match when it comes to a good loyal friendship, in fact it’s almost a father daughter relationship.
Speaking of fathers. The deaths of both Constantine and Dmitri just tore me up. It’s interesting how they died similarly. Both heartbreaking, and wanting you out there crying for revenge because of the way they died.
So who do I dislike more? Cesare? Or Senator Clark? I’d go with Cesare on this one. He’s cunning, ruthless but there’s something slimy about him that you just want to sink a stake into his heart and watch him disintegrate. Senator Clark on the other hand is just an uncouth baboon that’s funny when he’s upset. You can’t help but laugh at his antics even though he’s a jerk.
The plot in the book is evenly paced as for the majority of it you follow the Greyfriar and Adele through their journey (GARETH THE WEDDING CRASHER! I LOVED IT!) their romance is well written and it’s not sappy or too sweet. It’s just right. They have their funny moments, and their sad ones, and ones where it was a close call to ending them. I rather wish they had more moments on Cesare and his plotting but he’s sporadically featured here and there throughout the book. Not enough though (there’s just something about villains that you want to read more about anyway…)
I definitely can’t wait to read the third one! I want to see what’s going to happen now that Adele is using her skills as a Geomancer and she’s getting more training on it (although there’s a downside to that as well.) Can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next!