zondag 24 juni 2012

Alexis Morgan – The Darkness Beyond

The eighth book in the Paladins of Darkness series, published May 31, 2011.
Genre: paranormal romance / urban fantasy

The Darkness Beyond

An online game of cat and mouse leads a Paladin warrior on a deadly rescue mission to claim the irresistible lover who should be his greatest enemy.

D.J. Clayborne has finally met his match. After weeks of playing cyber tag, a mysterious hacker bests D.J. at his own game. His nemesis downloads a top-secret history of the Paladins, forcing him to go on the hunt. The trail leads D.J. straight to Regina Morrison, a woman who is as sexy as she is talented in the cyber world.
Reggie has been working around the clock to stop a legendary computer hacker from accessing her clients' files, but the last thing she expects is to have D.J. show up at her door. Or that he's even hotter than his evasive avatar. Soon they're flirting with a dangerous line between duty and desire.
Now, Reggie's investigation gets her kidnapped by the Others and forced across the hostile energy barrier into an alien world. And it's up to D.J. to track down the captivating woman whose ability to break through his firewalls is also breaking through to his warrior's heart.

D.J. Clayborne is one of the Paladins, almost immortal warriors, guarding a hidden energy barrier deep down in the caves over the faultlines in our world. That energy barrier separates our world from an alien one, where their suns are dying. The warriors that cross over when the barriers collapse, are on a killing streak, and need to be stopped before they reach the surface. The only way to do that, is to fight them, and either kill them, or shove them back into their own world before the barrier is up again.
The Paladins are governed by the Regents, who provide funds, medical assistance and what ever they need to do their deathly jobs.
Lately though, the Paladins have learned that not everyone on Kalithia is a crazy killer, there are good people over there too, trying to keep peace and order on their world. And so, the Others got a name, the Kalith. There are even some living and fighting alongside the Paladin warriors, married and in love.
But some of the Regents have gone bad, betraying our world and the Kalith world for profit, no matter how many people get killed in the process. Because though a Paladin warrior can die and come back to life, numerous times, eventually he will go mad or stay dead. So when the Paladin found out, they were determined to put a stop to things. So far, they are still searching out the rest of the traitors.

In his free time, and at work when he is not fighting or training, DJ and his friend Cullen are the computer whiz’s of the Paladins. Hacking is their fun pastime, and finding new ways to secure their own systems. But now, someone has found out who DJ is, and has boldly invited him over for a chat in a digital chatroom. It is not easy for DJ to acknowledge someone is better, but he really admires whoever beat him at his own game. Supposedly some college geek. But when that same person breaches a Regent server and downloads some sensitive data, he or she is in serious danger.
DJ picks up the challenge, and finally manages to track down his own hacker. And without telling Devlin, he is driving down to Portland to scare the boy off for his own good. But when the boy turns out to be a pretty young woman, DJ changes his mission. Especially as she has a young collegue/friend over for dinner, and they both want to keep his secret identity a secret from Cody. He really likes Reggie, and he likes it that she is just as smart as he is, and perhaps an even better hacker. She has been sending him messages for months now.

What DJ doesn’t know, is that Reggie is tracking down hackers for a living. And she recently got the job to hunt down the Knightwalker. Reggie is torn about that. She did not tell her boss she already found him, as she kind of admires him. The Knightwalker is not a bad hacker, he just points out the weak points in the security of various businesses. And so she tries to set up a meet with him, to warn him off perhaps. But eventually she will have to tell her boss about DJ. She needs the job.

Unfortunately, DJ is not the only one who discovered her hacking into the Regents servers. They have their own security personnel, and the one who found out is a dirty one. They have been searching for Kincaid’s hidden accounts for months now, with no success. But any hacker capable of breaching their security should be able to find out more. And so Reggie’s life has gotten in danger.

At first Reggie believes DJ that it is dangerous for her to keep digging into the Regents database, but when she finds out he has broken into her house and stolen back the data she discovered, she is furious. So she decides to accept the anonymous invitation to learn more about the Paladins and Regents. Which leads to her being abducted by some criminals hired by the bad guys. They intent to leave her for a few weeks across the border, living as a slave with the Others, and then bring her back when she has learned to obey and have her use her hacking skills on their behalf.

But Reggie is a very smart woman, and she manages to steal a phone of one of the guards, calling DJ and telling him what has happened and what they are planning to do. Unfortunately, DJ is too late, and he will have to follow her over the border into a hostile alien world to rescue her. And while DJ is off on his mission, Cody and Cullen are working together to find out more about who is behind this all.

I loved this story; it is one of the best books in the series in my opinion. Of course, I already had a thing for DJ from his appearances in the previous books, and was hoping to read his own story one day.

Reggie is a great character. She is short, but she has martial arts training and is not afraid to use it. On an obnoxious co worker for instance. Or on her abductor when she gets the chance. She is very smart and feisty, and even though she certainly is not a meek person, she does listen to DJ when it is really necessary. She soldiers on, even when exhausted and hurting. I like her. She also manages to leave behind clues for DJ to find her faster.
And then there is DJ. Sigh. He is fun and very smart, and has a temper. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he is big and strong and gorgeous and a great warrior. I want a Paladin for myself!
Together they are fun, and the sparks sure are noticeable. And yes, there are some great lovescenes in here as well.

I have been hoarding this book for a long time, as it seems to be the last one for a long while, as Alexis Morgan is busy writing a new paranormal or fantasy series. But I grabbed it from the shelf this morning, read for an hour during my lunchbreak, and when I came home this afternoon, I just had to finish reading it. Alexis Morgan has a very fluent writing style, and a fast, action filled story, so reading on was not difficult. I finished in record time, and I want more! I don’t care how awesome that new series will be (of course it is in pre-order), I really hope she will not abandon her Paladin and Kalith warriors!

This is a series you really should read in order, to understand the overall story arc and who is who. There is some background, but not too much, and not as much as I give in this review.

9 stars.

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

Autobuy author

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8 opmerkingen:

  1. It feels like I have read one of have one..hm, nah, must just be that I have read a book with paladins

    1. It could be, the series has been going for a few years already.

  2. I don't think I have read this one and yet it seems strangely familiar ---I need someone to cataloge my head LOL :)

    1. It is a great series Felicia, if you haven't read it yet, I do recommend them.

  3. Thank you for such a great review! I always said I knew who the perfect woman was for DJ. It was just that I had to convince her of that!


    1. Thank you for your comment Alexis, I really do like them together. Would love to witness them together in a hacking contest or something :)

  4. I've got the first five books, so I'll have to start reading them in the near future. But first I have to leave my reading slump behind me.

    1. I'll just keep torturing you until you start reading new books again!