Atlantis Unleashed, by Alyssa Day

10 Jun

Atlantis Unleashed, by Alyssa Day

 

The fifth installment in Ms Day’s Warriors of Poseidon series, Atlantis Unleashed is the third full length novel in the series. It follows the fate of one of Atlantis’ Seven chosen Warriors, Lord Justice, after the climactic events narrated near the end of the previous book, Atlantis Awakening.

Because of the complexity of this universe, I would definitely recommend reading all the stories in order-Atlantis Rising, “Wild Hearts in Atlantis” (Wild Thing anthology), Atlantis Awakening, “Shifter’s Lady” (Shifter anthology) and, finally, Atlantis Unleashed-as many secondary threads are woven through them, building the overarching plotline. For this reason, at least a few spoilers for previous stories are unavoidable in this review, so… reader beware.

Here’s the (not terribly accurate) back cover blurb:

Poseidon’s warriors swore an oath eleven thousand years ago to protect humanity from those who stalked the night. Now those powerful forces are uniting. So are two souls who are all that stand between justice and the eternal darkness…

A warrior prince…

Lord Justice made the ultimate sacrifice for his brother and paid for it with an unimaginable torture. Now he’s back, rescued from death, his sanity shaken, and his mission inescapable-the search for the lost Star of Artemis. But the beautiful human female whom he has sworn to protect is shadowed by an evil that could destroy them both…

A woman of science…

The archaeological artifacts of Atlantis speak to Dr. Keely McDermott, sharing visions of life long ago. The ancient revelations have cast her into a world between past and present, between reality and illusion-and, when she meets the fierce Atlantean warrior assigned to guard her, between terror and temptation. Now as their two worlds collide, so too will danger and desire…

A quest for a lost star… Atlantis is unleashed.

As mentioned above, this novel picks up where Atlantis Awakening left off. The first chapter, as a matter of fact, is a retelling of the crucial events told in chapters 33 and 34 of that novel, this time from Justice’s point of view. He had revealed that he is half-brother to High Princes Conlan and Ven, the product of a mating forced on the previous King and a Nereid maid by Anubisa, vampire goddess of death. After a lifetime of being cursed to keep the truth of his birth a secret, Justice had willingly offered his life-and quite likely his soul-to save his brother and Erin, hoping that the latter might help his other brother’s beloved Riley and their unborn baby.

Taken by Anubisa as her willing captive, Justice is soon subjected to tortures beyond his imaginings, to unending pain and to the slow loss of his sense of self. But dying would be too easy a punishment, and so his torment is protracted when Anubisa sends him to the Void. No one has escaped the Void in thousands of years, after all.

Things seem well beyond bleak indeed for Justice, except…

Except that the magic of his nature has found the missing part of his soul; the woman who can pull him out, rescue him, redeem him. Heal him.

Heal the divided nature of his being-the powerful blood of Atlantean royalty and the primal violence and magic of a Nereid maiden that have been at war inside of him for all the centuries of his existence.

Keely McDermott is a relatively well-known archaeologist, famous for the accuracy of her insights. What none of her colleagues know is that, by touching an object, she can read it. Or, to be precise, touching objects triggers visions of events surrounding it. The more emotionally significant the event, the more taxing the vision.

Throughout her childhood, this gift acted more as a curse for Keely than anything else, separating her not only from other children, but from her parents as well. Unable to understand-or accept-their only child’s uniqueness, they took refuge in believing it a medical condition and therefore strove to cure her of it. Psychologists, psychiatrists, behavioural specialists, hypnotism-when all that failed, their answer was to distance themselves from her.

Archaeology, and the objects she studies, have become Keely’s refuge. Touching everyday objects means being constantly exposed to the feelings of the people around her. But ancient artifacts, buried long ago, provide her with a substitute for fellowship by showing her the humanity of ancient people who are no more.

Or at least, believed to be no more, because now there is a man in her office inviting her to spend her vacation time in Atlantis, of all places. Tempting as hell, to be sure, if the poor man weren’t nuttier than a fruitcake. And then an old precious stone is shoved in her hand and reality shifts forever.

In this novel, Ms Day has changed the format somewhat, heading each chapter with a time and a place. This structure is extremely helpful to the reader, because converging threads in the story are occurring simultaneously in several different places, yet the seeds for current events must also be explained, hence having to backtrack a few months at the beginning-not to mention the seeds of future events.

Justice’s inner conflict, caused by his dual nature-Atlantean and Nereid-,can be a tad tiresome at times. After all, he’s close to five hundred years old, one would think he’d learned how to deal with it. Then again, it can be argued that he has done just so, by denying the Nereid part of his soul throughout all his adult life. Finding Keely has given that half of him both strength and hope-it is only the knowledge of her existence that gives him the strength to survive the Void and Anubisa’s spiritual torture.

Keely’s inner dialogue, by contrast, is much lighter. It is not that she’s not aware of the gravity of her predicament, but more that she chooses to bluff her way through each crisis by using levity and denial as her armor. While not as entertaining as Erin nor as intriguing as the glimpses of Quinn we’ve seen throughout the series, Keely is a sympathetic and likable character, and I very much enjoyed her and Justice’s interactions and the development of their relationship.

Now, I do have quibbles-mostly centering on what I see as inconsistencies in the world building. There are a few story threads that are sprung on the readers, some as early as page 50, which are then left dangling, never to be touched on again. Presumably, some of these will be taken up and solved in the next novel, Atlantis Unmasked (released on July 7th, thank goodness, for I. cannot. wait.)

It would seem that some characters are introduced because their stories are coming up in future installments; others are little more than plot devices, serving their purpose-external conflict for Justice and Keely, or feeding the overarching plotline-in a chapter or three, tops. There are a couple of places in the story where answers come a tad too easy, or things are just a bit too coincidental for my taste, but generally speaking the narrative is more dramatic than in the previous stories, pulling the reader deeper into Ms Day’s world.

So between quibbles and hooks, Atlantis Unleashed gets 7.75 out of 10

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  1. Atlantis Unmasked, by Alyssa Day « Her Hands, My Hands - 08/01/2012

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