Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Mass Market paperback: 377 pages
Release date: April 24th 2012
Series: League of Guardians #1
Reviewed by: Christine
With the legions of the underworld gathering and chaos close at hand, Sorcerer Declan O’Hara’s deadly skills will be tested. But nothing will sway him from his duty, not even her…
Rescued from eternal darkness, vampire Ana DeLacrux owes her life to a mysterious stranger who asks for only one thing—her absolute allegiance. She serves this master without question until Declan, the one man who can make her forget her vow, returns. His magic is stronger, darker…more compelling than ever. His blood awakens a hunger she must resist, or risk deadly consequences.
As Ana and Declan join forces, the streets of New Orleans become a dangerous place for both humans and the otherworld. And the most dangerous place of all is a road Declan’s traveled before…the wicked road to hell.
Wicked Road to Hell, first book in Juliana Stone’s brand new League of Guardian series is a spin off of her Jaguar Warrior series. Even though I haven’t read a book in that series before, I had no problems jumping into the book.
Any background story you might need is provided without a huge info dump which was very welcome. Still, Juliana Stone manages to create an atmospheric and intriguing world that was a pleasure to delve into. I’m a total sucker for New Orleans and reading about the city in Wicked Road to Hell made me want to jump on a plane and go there, despite magical shenanigans and all. I think that’s one of the best compliments you can make to an author as reader. The description of hell is equally vivid, striking and memorable. It’s easy to imagine the horrors and the cruelty of this place and I found myself engrossed in the quest and really hoped for Declan and Ana to escape that horrid place.
Ana and Declan are two equal characters, which is always a pleasant surprise. Not only is Ana a match in terms of strength, she’s also just as strong headed as Declan himself and doesn’t allow him to patronize her. While Declan tries to a few times to keep her from doing something because it's allegedly the best for her, Ana doesn't give up easily. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and tells him on multiple occasions that he's not the boss of her. In a genre where the heroines swoon almost to often over some domineering, patronizing male, that's an attitude you have to admire.
Still, there’s no doubt that Declan is definitely a alpha hero: he is confident, powerful and pretty sexy. He comes with a lot of baggage due to his (unwilling) stay in hell and is literally a tortured soul. Thankfully, he lacks that superiority and arrogance some of the other alpha heroes show which made him infinitely easier to like.
The relationship between him and Ana is very strong and powerful. I like that there's history between them. Thus, them falling in love and their decision to give their relationship a second try doesn't feel rushed, the author gives them enough time to overcome all the problems and misunderstandings of their past.
The rest of the cast of characters are a great addition to this world: especially Cale and Samael who were enigmatic and intriguing. I'm really looking forward to read the HEA of each of the characters introduced.
Another aspect I highly enjoyed was that the actual plot and the romance were well balanced. The story doesn't feel like an excuse just so that Declan and Ana can have a lot of sex. There's an interesting greater story arc that sets the reader up nicely for upcoming books in the series. I’m also planning to read the second book because of that and not just to see who will get his happy ending next. The only thing that lessened my reading pleasure a little bit was the very quick and easy solution to a vampiric problem Ana had. It was too much coincidence and saving grace for I, situation in which I would have expected harsher consequences (sorry that I can't give more details, but I don't want to spoil anything!).
The bottom line is that Juliana Stone has written a highly enjoyable, fast paced and sensual PNR that introduces us into an engrossing world. This series is worth following!
You can read an excerpt of Wicked Road to Hell here.