I recently read Ravenous, the first in The Dark Forgotten series and fell in love with the world Sharon Ashwood created and the delicious vampire, Alessandro and his mate and witch, Holly. During Ravenous, Mac is turned into a demon, and the repercussions of that carry over to Scorched, although this can be read as a stand alone.
Scorched starts off a year later - Mac, although not a full force demon, still has lingering side effects and is definitely not human. Alessandro, a vampire who patrols the town they live in, finally finds Mac. He sees him as a threat, and wants him dead. Mac pleads his case - his creator is now dead and all Mac wants is his life back, but Alessandro won't hear of it. He captures Mac and listening to the pleas of Holly (who has Alessandro wrapped around her finger) he spares Mac's life and throws him into The Castle - a prison of sorts for the supernatural.The Castle has been around for thousands of years, some of its occupants in there for that long as well. It is a maze of corridors. No one knows how big it is and it has a magic of its own. It is also failing, sections of it disappearing. Mac was in there a year ago and pure dread encompasses him when he finds himself in there again. Soon after he enters, he meets Constance, a vampire who was thrown in the castle the moment she was turned. She has never drank blood, so her turning process is not complete. Her adopted son, a demon incubus, was recently kidnapped by the guardsmen, thinking he is too dangerous to be out. She is desperate to get him back. Mac was a police officer in his former life and knows something about finding missing people. That, coupled with an attraction to Constance has him finding a purpose in his life once again. Many surprises await both Constance and Mac, and Alessandro and Holly find themselves involved in another fight for their lives.
I have a hard time rating Scorched. When I finished reading and logged it into Goodreads, I gave it three stars but I really need to break up my rating. My biggest complaint is that I didn't buy the romance between Mac and Constance. If I could pluck the romance out of this book, it would be hard for me to find anything else I didn't like! I loved the paranormal action throughout and thought the continuation of Alessandro and Holly was great. I even loved Mac in his demon form. I just didn't like how Mac and Constance start up and I didn't feel a spark as they continued.
When they first meet, Constance's son has been kidnapped by Castle guards and she is desperate to get him back. Mac has been thrown back into the castle by Alessandro and is panicked to find a way out. He is still reeling from the effects of being a demon for a year, even though his craving of eating people has subsided. Within in moments of being introduced, they are embracing. In Ravenous, Mac turned into a demon because he was tricked into kissing a girl. Yes, it has been a year since he was turned and I am sure he has - needs - but I would think he would be more cautious with his kisses.
Constance on the other hand - she needs to finish turning into a vampire so she can be strong enough to rescue her son. She picks Mac for her first "meal." So instead of biting him and getting it over with, she ends up kissing him and having lustful feelings. So, their first encounter to me didn't flow. And then they had this attraction that I just didn't see stemming from anything and throughout the book it just fell flat for me.
The Castle is the main attraction in this book and it is amazing! I love that in the world Sharon Ashwood has created, supernaturals are known to the public. Yet there is this Castle or epic proportions hidden from the world. It is accessed only from a portal, and most don't know about it. Their are guardsmen, those brutal, ruthless men that have been forced into service, hellhounds, and many other magical creatures all in this weird, dimensional place that has portals and maze after maze. Here we meet Reynard, a guardsman with a conscience, and Lore, a hellhound that is the occasional ally of both Alessandro and Mac. The Castle is such a unique entity and I really love how it has taken on a life of its own.
Another great character is Ashe, Holly's sister. She is a vampire hunter, and guess who she hates with a passion? Alessandro. Let me tell you, she doesn't give up. Even when Holly pleads with her to give Alessandro a chance, she can't. The fighting between them is really something great.
I also love the one-liners coming out of all the characters mouths. Some of the best sarcastic humor to be found in both Ravenous and Scorched.
Scorched delivers in all of the paranormal aspects. The romance didn't do it for me, but the uniqueness of the world, and the vibrant characters were enough to carry the story.