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Shapeshifters, angels, demons and magic--from award winning author Larissa Emerald comes the much-anticipated paranormal shapeshifter series of the Divine Tree Guardians.
The return of sculptor Emma Grant to her Georgia home town sparks the return of the visions she tries to deny and rekindles a centuries-old feud between shape shifters Venn Hearst, guardian of the Divine Tree (The Tree Of Knowledge) and his nemesis. Emma is determined to place and dedicate the statue honoring her beloved grandmother despite Venn’s opposition; despite the fact she is in love with Venn, despite his sacred duty not to permit it. Will she overcome a test of evil or shatter Venn's world?
3.5 out of 5 Stars - Promising start to the series.
*Complimentary ARC provided by Book Partners in Crime Promotions for the purpose of an honest review.
I found the blurb intriguing, and I never could resist a story about centuries old immortal warriors carrying out their duties, and who were loners because they hadn't yet found the right woman to share their long lives. The change from Highlander to immortal guardian also came with the power to shift, and Venn could shift into both a wolf and a hawk at will.
Emma was an interesting character because she wasn't just another simple human. She'd had visions all of her life and the ability to melt and mold metal with her bare hands. As if that wasn't enough for her to contend with, Emma was Venn's former lover, Amelia, reincarnated. Her visions were more like flashbacks of her former life up until the moment she'd been killed.
I really liked Venn for his charm, compassion and protectiveness. He'd taken to his fate rather well, and although he'd been without a mate for two hundred years, he was never depicted as a womanizer. I liked that he didn't make it a habit of comparing her to Amelia. He noticed the differences and accepted them.
Overall, the story was good. However I enjoyed the plotting of the destruction of the Divine Tree and thus Venn more than I enjoyed the romance. Simply put, I believed his feelings more than I did hers, and he certainly put forth more effort into showing any feelings. Not only was Emma spoken for at the time, sort of, but I felt like I was supposed to accept that she was growing closer to him because she felt a connection through her flashbacks. Even once Venn had told her almost everything, she never asked about him or his family. She never pressed him for answers about anything. Granted, she was overwhelmed by her grief over her grandmother and the fights with her father over the span of a week. But she just always seemed depressed or on the verge of tears for too much of the story. The three sex scenes were steamy, but she seemed to give in to passion only after she'd had some emotional upset rather than feeling invigorated by romance or deeper feelings, if that makes sense. And, even though he was an immortal, they never used protection much less discussed it.
There were several skirmishes between Venn and Io, but since he wasn't allowed to kill him, they just seemed a bit unnecessary and served no real purpose. Much like the back and forth between Emma and her father. The ending was decent, and I finally saw a different side of Emma, a more appealing one. I will probably revisit this series in the future.