Shift by M.R. Merrick
Series: The Protector #2
Published by M.R. Merrick
Publish Date: February 1, 2012
Source: M.R. Merrick
Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.
As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world. –(summary from Goodreads)
Shift by M.R. Merrick
(Read my thoughts on Exiled HERE.)
My Thoughts: This is one of those cases where it is hard to put thoughts into words. I could just say I LOVED SHIFT. READ IT, READ IT, READ IT! and probably do a better job than I'm about to. It's just...sometimes you just don't know how to say how much you truly like something. Especially when it is pure awesomeness. But I will try.
At the end of Exiled, I was like AH, I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW!! There were things that I needed to know. Right then. I was super happy to find that Shift began right where Exiled ended, and I love that. Extra points for you, Merrick!
Chase and Rayna are demon hunters. Chase is exiled from a group called The Circle, having been cast away because his elemental powers did not develop appropriately at the appropriate time. Rayna is a half-breed: she's part demon, part hunter, part other-stuff too. The two - after having met by chance in a fight-to-the-death awkward situation - have become close friends and actually make an incredible team of hunters. The deal is that since Chase is exiled and Rayna is a misfit, they don't fight for any one team - they fight for everyone. They fight for what is right.
Rayna stole my heart in Exiled. She is the very definition of a butt-kicking female. She could rip your arm off and beat you with it, and win every time. She's cool, confident, and collected - and she maintains an air of sexy about her that is irresistible to Chase. Chase is a great hunter, but coming into Shift, he has just learned some things about himself in terms of using his magic as a hunter, and he is trying to improve on these skills. At the end of Exiled, he had a tendency to be cocky and act without thinking, often putting himself and other people in danger - and often having to be bailed out by Rayna and some of the others in their small group. In Shift, Chase has made huge strides in terms of developing his magic, although it seems to be increasing in power by leaps and bounds pretty much daily, and he struggles to keep up with it. Not only that, but Chase has been chosen to bear the Mark and be the Protector, and he's struggling to learn exactly what all of that means - while trying to harness the power of his magic. I know...it's a lot for golden boy Chase to manage. He does it well, though, and I found that not too far into Shift, Chase was easily my favorite character this go-round.
See, the thing is that Chase has become a bit of a big boy. He's grown up a little. There is some confidence in him and he doesn't back down from a fight. He also doesn't back down from Rayna's kindness and faith in him, or from some of the other characters that are just trying to help him. This is such a marked and incredible change in his character from Exiled. I love this transition.
Speaking of characters, I adore the secondary cast in these books. There are all sorts of paranormals in here. They're all magical and awesome and so unique. Each one has their place, even the bad guys. The characterization is so great - I love knowing more of the characters that were introduced in the first book and I loved meeting several new characters in Shift. I have no doubt that some of them will be big players in the next book in this series. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Merrick has one heck of an imagination and I love it.
I love love love the use of magic and the elements - earth, fire, water, and air - in this series. I love the way there are swords and daggers. There are fight scenes, and the girls aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and bloody when necessary. Merrick doesn't shy away from writing realistic, awesome action scenes, and I love that. The world-building is still incredible in Shift although the alternate world is a different one this time.
But really: I want more of Chase and Rayna together! I will grant that Shift provided the opportunity for much more Chase & Rayna time, but I really am wanting more. This slow-burn romance has spanned two books so far, so when it ever happens (IF it does, doggone it), it will be the slow-burn of all slow-burns. I'm so ready for this!
Merrick leaves Shift a little open at the end, but just enough for a good starting place for the next book. No cliffhangers here, folks. Once again, I'm itching to see where things will go for Chase and Rayna, and even for the bad guys.
Merrick is 2-for-2 with providing books that are basically have-the-time-of-my-life books. I enjoyed both Exiled and Shift ridiculously. I LOVED them. I read Shift with a huge, goofy smile on my face while the good guys battled the bad guys and swords-were-being-drawn and biting my nails because my nerves were a mess. I recommend both Exiled and Shift to people who love butt-kicking females, great action stories, paranormal/urban fantasy, and just awesome writing PERIOD.
Shift will appeal to fans of:
Swords and Daggers
Awesome Male Lead & Butt-Kicking Female Lead
Action-Driven Stories with Excellent Characterization
Slowly developing friendship-into-romance (STILL!); No love triangle
Quick pacing & Awesome plot
Quick pacing & Awesome plot
Stories that contain magic with the use of the elements!!
Shift by M.R. Merrick is currently available for purchase.
**I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you SO MUCH, Matt!
If you haven't read Exiled, I highly recommend it!
Then read Shift!
Then read Shift!
Do you like paranormal/urban fantasy books?