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Ecstasy [Mass Market Paperback]

Jacquelyn Frank
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 23 2008 Shadowdwellers
Among the Shadow dwellers, Trace holds power that some as willing to kill for. Without a stranger's aid, one rival would surely have succeeded, but Trace's brush with death is less surprising to him than his reaction to the beautiful, fragile human who heals him. By rights, Trace should hardly even register Ashla's existence within the realms of Shadow scape, but instead he is drawn to everything about her - her innocence, her courage, and her lush, sensual heat.After a terrifying car crash, Ashla Townsend wakes up to find that the bustling New York she knew is now eerie and desolate. Just when she's convinced she's alone, Ashla is confronted by a dark warrior who draws her deeper into a world she never knew existed. The bond between Ashla and Trace is a mystery to both, but searching for answers will mean confronting long-hidden secrets, and uncovering a threat that could destroy everything Trace holds precious.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Complex and Erotic Feb. 22 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jaquelyn Frank has created a dense and complicated new society in Ecstasy. I tried very hard to like this new world but it was a tough read and fans should be warned that this is not a continuation of the Nightwalker series.

After a horrific car accident our impish heroine Ashla awakens to find herself in Shadowworld. A strange version of New York City without any lights or people. It is also a place of endless night. Just as she grows accustomed to her solitary, dark world Ashla is confronted by a sword baring warrior named Trace. He is a Shadowdweller. A being able to exist in two demensions; Realscape (our world) and Shadowscape (an in-between world i.e. ghosts, spirits, coma patients). 'Dwellers' are unable to tolerate even the smallest amount of light and therefore must live in the shadows of Realscape as well as being able to fade into Shadowscape where there is no risk of light. If a Dweller however remains in Shadowscape too long he risks 'Euphoria' a deadly form of selfish lustfulness.

Trace has been followed into Shadowscape by a conspirator against the Shadowdwellers. He manages to kill his enemy but is mortally wounded in the process. Normally those stuck in Shadowscape such as Ashla are unaware of Shadowwalkers such as Trace but fortunately for him she not only sees him but possesses the ability to heal with her touch. After healing Trace Ashla takes on his injuries and Trace, feeling responsible as well as an unexplainable connection to her lingers in Shadowscape and begins experiencing Euphoria. Ashla accommadates Trace in his sickness and they both discover that she is turned on by submission. In Trace's culture selflessness and gentleness while making love are paramount and much time is spent schooling the youngsters in all manners of lovemaking.
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By Cyn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Being a Huge Nightwalker fan, I got this book under the impression it would be like the first series. It wasn't and I was surprised that even though I did not enjoy it as much, it still got my attention. Like any new series the first book must set the "stage" and we have to get to know the new characters.

Trace and Ashla story is action packed and romantic even if it's a little hard to follow as it's so new.

Looking forward to the next book in the series now that the "stage" is set and the characters have been placed in motion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By M. Hebdige - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I must say that I am a little disappointed at some of the negative reviews regarding this great book. I am saddened that ECSTASY had been tagged with unenthusiastic comments AND connotations about this marvelous and exciting story. It was NOT confusing at all and I beg to differ with some of the reviews here.

Frank delivers a top-notch rendition of a new race of Shadowdwelers, creating with it a new, dark world, shrouded in perpetual darkness with unusual and vibrant characters existing between Shadowscape an Realscape. She weaves a marvelous story depicting a darkened world where Shadowdwelers are unable to endure any type of light having been forced to exist in the darkest corners on Earth. The Lost are Humans existing in Shadowspace - where they are alone and can never see any of the inhabitants in Shadowspace or any other Humans.

Ashla Townsend has been existing alone in this surreal, dark world now for months - an empty NYC where there is no light or people - and is surprised to find two warrior-like men fighting with swords in a clothing boutique. As grand vizier for the Shadowdwelers, Trace has discovered a plot to overthrow his Monarchs, and has followed the traitor to Shadowscape. He is mortally wounded after the battle and Ashla cures him from his wounds.

Shadowdwelers are able to move from Realscape into Dreamscape but are unable to remain long as Euphoria sets in and they are unable to return to Realscape. Trace is very surprised that Ashla is able to see him. As a Lost - she shouldn't be able to sense his presence. After he returns to Realscape, Trace is unable to forget Ashla and returns to see her. Both Ashla and Trace have deep, haunting emotional scars - but Trace is drawn to Ashla's ethereal beauty, though wraith-like and frail - she exudes tremendous strength, courage and selflessness that Trace hasn't seen in one so young, let alone a Human.

Unfortunately - Trace remains in Shadowscape too long, and Euphoria sets, where he sates his sexual desires with Ashla. His people come back to claim him back to Realscape so he can heal leaving Ashla behind.

Frank has created a brilliant story, beautifully narrated and neatly tying all the pieces of the puzzle slowly as she departs the previously created Nightwalker world of Demons, Vampires and Werewolves.

Frank augments the level of sensuality in ECSTASY. Yes, the book was seductive and at times erotic - but by no means "Pornographic" as a confused reviewer here points out. There is a difference between Pornographic and seductively sensual. The scenes between Trace and Ashla are very hot and sexy - there is no denying that - but told beautifully. The incredible tenderness and protectiveness Trace feels for Ashla, turns into an all consuming love that clearly challenges all the laws of his kind. Ashla is able to fit into Trace's world - and the tender love she feels for him changes the tortured man he has been for many years.

It is a beautiful love story - by far the best that Frank has written so far, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Nightwalker series - but I was getting a little burned out of all the issues and melodrama with the Necromancers, and how far Frank was stretching it without finally putting an end to their war.

I adored ECSTASY and was so engaged with the book I read it in one day. Every character has tremendous depth and originality and I look forward in reading RAPTURE - Magnus story. With a higher level of suspense, a brilliantly depicted new paranormal world, very sexy scenes with two of the hottest lead protagonists, Frank has exceeded all my expectations with ECSTASY! This was a FANTASTIC story any way you look at it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AND NOT TO BE MISSED!!!!!!

Rapture: The Shadowdwellers - Magnus Story
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars - Hidden in the Shadows, Enter Frank's Fascinating New World Jan. 1 2009
By melindeeloo - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Shadowdweller Trace, warrior and advisor to the leaders of his people, uncovers a plot which threatens the stability of the government which has finally pulled his people together after years of civil war. Pursuing one of the conspirators into Shadowscape, an empty world of endless night just a step outside of the Realscape of our world, Trace kills the enemy but receives mortal wounds in the process. Ashla has been wandering through the dark and lifeless alternate New York for months, with no understanding of how she came to be there, until she comes across the battling warriors. As one of the Lost, Ashla should not be able to sense either Shadowdweller, normally spirits of comatose humans like hers are unaware and unable to interact with `Dwellers. Fortunately for Trace this is not the case with Ashla, the fragile golden angel, and she heals the dying dark stranger with her touch, using a gift that has marked her as an abomination in the eyes of her own family. The act of saving Trace's life establishes a sacred soul bond beween Trace and Ashla, though it's not immediately clear how their relationship can work when Ashla is only a 'ghost'.

In 'Ecstasy' Frank ups the sensuality level of her writing while exploring this darkest corner of her Nightwalker world leaving the familiar Demons, Lycanthropes and Vampires of the Nightwalker world behind - except for a brief cameo from one of her former stars. Here we enter the shadowy darkness that is home to the Shadowdwellers. Those of the `Dweller race find pain in even the barest bits of light. Though Shadowscape, and its absence of light, would seem to be the perfect home for the `Dwellers, they can only spend short periods there before succumbing to a euphoric madness. So they have instead learned to cultivate a world of darkness within the hostile environment of the Realscape of our world migrating yearly to the darker hemispheres and living in cities beneath the Earth.

Despite the apparent differences between fragile self-sacrificing Ashla and strong honorable intelligent Trace, they both have emotional scars. Trace's brutalization at the hands of an evil woman has meant that he has not touched or desired the touch of a woman for 12 years and the abuse that Ashla suffered at the hands of her family has left her disconnected and insecure. The initial consummation between Ashla and Trace explodes off the pages as Trace's control is lost to an all consuming mindless lust when the euphoria takes hold of him, erasing all the care for a partner that is so important in his culture and immersing him in a selfish desperation. Ashla accepts his overwhelming sensual assault even as she senses the pain and regret that is buried beneath Trace's madness. Ultimately her surrender here is just what Trace needs to overcome the horror of his past, and his later honor and patience will be just what she needs to regain her own personal power.

I really enjoyed Ecstasy even though it didn't manage to become my new favorite out of all of Frank's romances, I loved Trace and his inability to maintain his control around Ashla, and liked Ashla except for a brief bit when she goes off on a nasty screaming snit, which seemed a bit out of character. (In fact that whole scene, including Trace's subsequent digression describing his early training in every imaginable flavor of sexuality, knocked my rating down a notch.) But then again, unlike Frank's Nightwalker series, in the end Ecstasy was not just about the relationship between Ashla and Trace and I loved the larger incredibly detailed Shadowdweller world and culture that Frank brought to life with her story. And with this first book in the Shadowdwellers series, Frank has already captured me with her intriguing supporting cast in the ruler Tristan, his twin and co-ruler the lovely war weary prescient Malaya, Malaya's deadly dedicated body guard Guin, and Trace's powerful warrior priest foster father Magnus - hopefully they all get books of their own I want to read more about these fascinating characters. The Shadowdweller saga continues in June with Rapture: The Shadowdwellers.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing world building with intriguing characters Jan. 1 2009
By Laura J. Owen - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is not a continuation of Jacquelyn Frank's nightwalker books. Gideon makes a guest appearance; however other nightwalker races (demons, vamps ect) are only mentioned in passing. Frank's writing style has improved immensely; there are subtle nuances and imagery that makes this book much much more than run of the mill cotton candy paranormals that are out there. The shadow dwellers are a race that lives in two mirror dimensions. The "realscape" where they interact with mortal humans under the constant fear of being burned by any type of light and the "shadowscape" where they can interact with the same world without fear of light or mortals however there are consequences of staying too long in this ideal dimension. We are introduced to this culture after they have experienced a bitter civil war in which our heroes fought to form a stable form of government. There are tensions between church and state, political intrigues, assassinations, and every once in a while horrors of the war are remembered. The book is about a top government advisor who is healed after an assassination attempt by a shy human woman who has been stuck in shadowscape ever since being in a fatal car accident. As he fights to save his people, she fights to understand an entire new world and way of life and together they find that love can save anyone.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Story and a Fantastic New World! One Down Side - Bad Bad Love Scenes Sept. 24 2009
By Melissa - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ashla Townsend is an average girl driving her friends home from a New Years party. The next thing she knows she is in New York, but something is wrong with Manhattan. There are no people, there is no sun or light of any kind, and yet things still seem to be `functioning'. What Ashla doesn't know is that this is in an in-between world that will soon bring her to the Shadowdwellers. The Shadowdwellers are a complex people who can not tolerate light. Ashla's introduction to the world will almost her cost her life, brings her the love of her life, and pull her into the middle of a political coup. It is one action-packed plot!

THE GOOD: The characters and world are all incredibly well developed and written. From the moment I picked up the book it felt as if I stepped into the world. Not only is the plot well thought out and complex, but the back ground is too. The romance is good and you genuinely like the characters and want them to get together, they are `damaged souls' who complete each other. It has that heartwarming aspect to it. The supporting characters are all clearly individuals with substance instead of flat background presences. Undoubtedly one of the most original, enjoyable stories I've read in a while.

THE BAD: I have one complaint for this book: the sex scenes. I'm not a prude, nor do I have anything against steamy books or even erotica. However, that is not the case here. This book is full of repetitive, uninteresting, poorly written love scenes. It is so excessive that when I finished the book I felt like it was half incredible story and half bad sex. It was bad enough, that I think it severely hurts the story. Forgive me for not remembering the name, but a person wrote in one of the blogs that it was like "reading a cheesy porn movie" and I completely agree.

TO SUM IT UP: Ecstasy is one of the best stories I have come across in a long time; however, it falls woefully short in the `steam department'. I have trouble recommending this one, and it's a personal choice as to whether you think the good out weighs the bad. Then again you can do what I've done with the sequels and skip over the love scenes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Ecstasy Jan. 23 2009
By Calliope Lafaye - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Of all the Jacquelyn Frank Books, this was my favorite. The Shadowdwellers were briefly mentioned in the other nightwalker books but rarely was the race ever given any real detail as to their physical and cultural makeup. The Shadowdwellers are a race of people who do not tolerate light (sunlight, artificial light), therefore they live in darkness and humans are usually oblivious to their existence with the exception of Ashla. The story is an intense relationship between the Shadowdweller Trace, a vizier and most trusted advisor to the twin Chancellors, and Ashla Townsend, who does not know she is a half-breed Shadowdweller. The story is fast paced with very little redundancy. Ecstasy is synonymous with the Shadowdweller. All of the main characters introduced in this book are well developed and has me looking forward to the author developing books around them, particularly the Chancellor Malaya and Guin and the cliffhanger of what Trace's father, Magnus will do to root out the traitor in Sanctuary.
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