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Release (Protector Series) (Volume 3) Paperback – November 21, 2012
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About the Author
M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.
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Book 3, Release, is much more of a slog. Merrick finally shows Chase Williams starting to grow up a bit but for much of the book nothing really happens. The first two books developed the characters and felt some empathy for them. In book 3, those same characters are more like cardboard cut-outs just going through the same old motions. Merrick's choice to consistently use a more prose-rich and dialog-poor style (e.g. "I called to Rai..." instead of '"Hey! Rai!" I called' made me feel more abstracted from the characters, like I was reading, rather than being immersed in the story.
Speaking of the story, the plot advanced satisfactorily, although we don't get to spend much time with some of the characters that we care about. In particular, I'm curious as to how central Vincent is to the plot. We get to spend lots of time examining his character in this book but don't really get to feel any differently about him at the end. Also, I do have to admit that Chase's whole "I'm a hot-headed young man with very poor anger management and very poor judgment" schtick is improving.
Note that I rated this book as a 3/5, which is OK. And it is OK. It's not as good as the first two books, which I rated at 4/5, but not terrible either. It's like a transition book where Merrick felt he needed to get some story advances out there and the writing just felt more rushed and less considered. It's still an OK read, and if you're reading The Protector series will need to be read before book 4. But I do hope that book 4 is the last book. We really need less development and more denouement.
Edit: I had an "aha!" moment when I saw all the five star reviews, and my three star review was "unhelpful-ed" a few times... as with many of the self-published books on Amazon, the author gets his family and friends to five-star the book. I do like this series but this installment is very far from being a five star book. It's a comfortable three. I think the biggest compliment to the series and the author is that I didn't realize that this was Amazon- and self-published until all the five stars and my own thumbs-downs happened. Really, this series is good enough to be published by a mass distribution house, although this installment would have been better with the ruthless input of a professional editor.
That still doesn't mean I'm okay with his decisions regarding Rayna. It takes no time at all for Chase to run scared. And while I can kind of understand it, it's really just frustrating as all get out because they're good for each other and the last thing they both need is another reason to be sad. So I think they're dumb. But I believe it'll all be okay. I have to.
Pacing and decision-making frustrations aside, when the book picks up, it really picks up. Chock full of more fantastic and action-packed dimension-hopping, the later part of the book doesn't quit and keeps you on the edge of your seat. You'll be confused, anxious, and eventually heartbroken.
Which brings us to the ending. Guys. Prepare for all the feels. Anything you thought was sad or hard in the series before this, about to be blown to pieces. I cried. Granted, it's not that hard to make me cry in a book, but this was difficult to get through. Heading into Endure is going to be painful.
Probably my favorite part of this series overall is that it defies a lot of the stereotypes of this genre. Sure, there's an all-powerful, Chose One teen, but I'm not sure I've ever seen an author make that very power the Achilles's heel. It leaves the reader wondering if all this power really was meant for Chase and whether he's going to be able to save everyone. I definitely can't wait to find out!
The series remains enthralling and full of adventure, and I can't wait to see how it all ends. If you still haven't checked out this series, you should get on it! Now! It's a fantastic series written by an awesome author (who also follows me on Twitter and it makes me fangirl real hard! :P) and any YA paranormal fan should try it.
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