Finding the Lost by Shannon K. Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked Finding the Lost much more than I liked Burning Alive. I obtained a much better sense of the world and the storyline, which is expected. More importantly, I felt a much greater connection to Andra and Paul. I admit a big part of my problem with the first book was the way a death of a character I really fell in love with was handled. But I honestly think it's also due to the fact that the author feels more comfortable with her storyline in this book, and the romance and the overall storyline are better integrated. I think the sexy/sensual elements were very well done, hot but romantic. I definitely felt the chemistry and the connection between Paul and Andra, despite the short time frame.
Andra and Paul were for the most part likable characters. Andra is tough and strong, but she isn't too hardheaded to be sympathetic. She's definitely a good match for Paul, even though she fought it more than I liked. I did get frustrated with how Andra seemed to reject her bond with Paul, but I could also understand why she couldn't give it the focus it deserved. So much of her life was about helping her sister, and finding lost children, because she couldn't let go of the guilt of her self-attributed failure to protect her sisters when they were attacked by the Senestryn. She carried that guilt like a weight on her shoulders that affected everything. Honestly believing she didn't deserve any happiness for her own outside of seeing her remaining sister, Nika, alive and well. So when she kept dissing Paul, I would feel upset with her, but I understood why. Also, I realized that it was due to Paul's unwillingness to be honest with Andra about how crucial their bond was to his well-being and life. He didn't want to put that pressure on her, and he had been rejected in the past by a bondmate, so he was sensitive to rejection and insecure about a woman wanting to stay with him as his bondmate. I got pretty frustrated with him for being so reticent about his vital situation. Maybe if he had been more honest, Andra wouldn't have made those stupid bargains to wear his Luceria for such a short time. That annoyed me, but I realize the problem wasn't just with Andra. She really didn't understand what she was doing to Paul by setting those short bargains.
As far as the action/suspense elements, I really liked them, but I felt that the story lost some cohesiveness towards the end, with some anticlimatic aspects that lessened the intensity of the storyline. It didn't ruin the story for me, but it didn't resolve as strong as it started in that regard. Overall, I am developing a strong connection to this story and series that I didn't feel with the first book. I can see why my sister is so enamored of this series now.
I admit a huge part of my liking for this story is the ancillary characters, such as Logan, Madoc, Nika, and Tynan, the other healer who helped Nika at the Sentinels home base I have to say that Ms. Butcher writes heroes very well. They are very appealing, strong, sexy, and I felt a lot of sympathy for their plight. I loved Paul and I thought he was a nice mix of alpha and beta, very endearing and sexy in his willingness to take care of Andra, and his honorable nature. However, I feel like I am going to love Madoc even more. He's definitely the tortured, edgy, scary type hero that I loved. I think his book with Nika is going to be very good indeed. I'm honestly looking forward to all the forthcoming books, and I especially want to read more about the Sanguinar people, because I find them very alluring and interesting.
I still have some questions about some aspects of this series, but I feel that reading the subsequent books will enlighten me about those. I have to say that I am glad I kept reading this series. I still feel grief about what happened in the first book, but I think I am at the stage where I can keep reading without that ruining the series for me. Happily, I can give this book four stars.
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