Burning Alive
The Sentinel Wars, Book #1
By Shannon K. Butcher
ISBN# 9780451412713
Author’s Website:  http://www.shannonkbutcher.com/

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

Helen has been haunted all her life by a terrible vision.  In it, she sees herself burning alive in a huge fire and she looks over and sees a dark haired man watching her die with a satisfied smile on his face.  So you can imagine her fear when she sees the man from her vision sitting at a table across from her when she takes Miss Mabel for their usual dinner date.

Helen tries to leave the diner, but the man, Drake, stops her.  Then, before they know it monsters are breaking in the diner and set it on fire.

Drake is a Theronai warrior whose job is to protect humans from the Synestryn demons (aka the monsters) and he doesn’t understand why when he touches Helen the pain he has carried with him for centuries disappears.  So he decides that he must take her with him to find out.

When he is informed by Logan, one of the healer race, that Helen is a Theronai like himself, he is floored as all the females, but one that is in their pack, were believed to have been killed.  He decides he must bind Helen to him before the others have a chance as she is the only thing that can save his life in the end.

Helen agrees to stay with Drake until he finds the fallen warrior, Kevin’s, sword if he keeps her and the ones she cares about safe.  What does she have to lose?  Now that he is in her life and not just in her dreams, she will be dead soon anyway as the vision is bound to come true any day.  She just never expected to fall in love with the man that will eventually watch her die.  Now she must do what she can to save him even if that means facing her death alone.

I’m not even sure where to begin on this review.  I’ve heard great things about this series, but I was greatly disappointed.  I liked the writing in the first couple of pages, but it took a nosedive rather quickly.

The first two-thirds of this book was excruciatingly painful.  The pace was so drawn out and slow.  Every scene seemed to last an eternity and didn’t really make a whole lot of sense.  Everybody kept talking about how much of a hurry they were in to find Kevin’s sword before they lost the Synestryns’ trail, but yet they had time to stop off at a Theronai farmhouse, get Helen a bath and change of clothes, her and Drake almost have sex, then they need to feed her, and Drake refuses to leave until he binds her to him and explains things about his race.  I thought they would never leave that house and just wanted to scream at them to get on with it already!!  Then, after they failed their mission, Drake takes her to another house and is thinking he needs to feed her something quick and decides to bake lasagna!!  I don’t know in what world lasagna classifies as quick meal, certainly not mine.

I’m assuming the beginning was so slow because they were trying to give the reader all the information to build on for the rest of the book and the remainder of the series, but it seriously was going at a very slow death crawl and I can’t help, but think that there was a better way to get the reader all the needed information.

I also didn’t understand why Helen would agree to stay with the man that she fears is behind her demise.  I know the author was trying to play up their natural magnetism to each other, but I just don’t see how someone with that much fear of Drake could be so accommodating to what he wants.

And speaking of that, I hated Drake in the beginning.  He came off as controlling and bossy.  It gets better in the late, very late, chapters of the book, but he definitely was not a swoon worthy male lead. But Helen was a terrible female lead so I guess it’s OK.  She was so insecure all the time and dependent on everyone around her.  And seriously what grown adult wears their hair in braids?  I had a hard time taking her seriously when they kept bringing up her child-like hairstyle.

The last third of the book was decent and I think if the whole book had been like that, I could give a much more positive review.  But no matter how interesting the end was, it doesn’t erase all the mind-numbing boredom that came before it.  I just think of how I could have better spent my time that I wasted reading this book.  But hopefully it getting better at the end is an indication that the next book will be better, at least I hope so!