Review: Edge of Hunger

Review: Edge of Hunger by Rhyannon Byrd

Ian Buchanan has always felt the unknown - the deep, impenetrable darkness that lives within him. Yet he is determined to lead a "normal" life, ignoring the unsettling dreams in which he succumbs to his wildest desires... Until psychic Molly Stratton tracks him down, claiming to share his sensual nightmares.

The petite Molly even has the bite marks to prove it. And she's also received a message from Ian's deceased mother: an enemy is near. And it's time for the creature inside Ian to finally awaken. A creature with an insatiable hunger that must be controlled before it overtakes them both...


Rhyannon Byrd is a new to me author but her covers were just so captivating that I couldn't resist buying the first of her three back to back releases. Her Primal Instinct series features a different twist on paranormal myths that was quite refreshing to read in a genre gluttoned by vampires. Byrd does include shapeshifters in 'Edge of Hunger' but not much is revealed about them. Rather, Byrd focuses on the hero who is known as the Merrick, a person who is not wholly human and who has the ability to shift into a being bent on the destruction of it's nemesis, the Casus.

Ian Buchanan is haunted by the darkness threatening to break through his formidable control. Nightmares plague him where fangs spring from his gums and blood cascades down his throat from the willing neck of a brunette gypsy. Terrified and soaked with sweat, Ian fears the dreams where he ceases to be human. But one little brown-eyed woman is about to make him face the darkness, whether he wants to or not.

Molly Stratton has finally given in to the demands of Ian's deceased mother, Elaina. Molly has been able to communicate with ghosts since high school. Coming to her in her dreams, these determined spirits hound Molly into complying with their last wishes such as "Tell so and so this", or "Give so and so that". Generally trivial stuff, but Elaina wants Molly to pass information to her eldest son, Ian, that very well could save his life. Now, if only she can get him to believe her.

It's never been a secret to anyone whose ever been in contact with Ian, that he's quick to judge and generally just an all around belligerent jerk. From the moment Ian spots Molly, he knows she's trouble and trouble in any form is something that Ian wants to stay as far away from as possible. When the little blond starts talking ghosts and the whisperings of his deceased mother, Ian strives to keep himself from grabbing the woman and shoving her beautiful butt back into her car and back to where ever it is she hails from. But when Molly makes mention of the darkness within him, Ian is stupefied and even more determined to get away from her.

But Molly follows Ian right into his nightmares except this time instead of the brunette gypsy, it's Molly he's thrusting into and indulging in his primal craving - sinking his fangs into her neck and drinking the sweetest nectar he's ever tasted. Amazingly enough, his dream Molly isn't afraid of his beastly nature but in fact smiles coyly at him. When the darkness begins to boil beneath his skin, Ian panics in fear that he'll hurt her and rips himself from the nightmare. Heaving and soaked in sweat, Ian is relieved to be awake but his relief is short lived. When pounding on his door reveals Molly, Ian can't dispel the denial churning in his gut when Molly sweeps aside her blond curls to reveal two throbbing puncture wounds in her neck, the same exact place that he sank his fangs into in his nightmare.

Molly hopes that with the proof on her neck Ian will heed Elaina's initial warnings that the darkness is awakening and that someone close to him is in danger. One part has already proven true but now Molly must help Ian protect those he cares about. Unfortunately she's too late. Ian's recent lover is found torn to shreds in a nearby field. Something dangerous is prowling the streets of Henning, Colorado and Ian soon makes the monster's acquaintance.

Malcolm DeKreznick is a Casus, an immortal and evil race of beings that were imprisoned centuries ago in the Meridian, a metaphysical holding cell by the ancient rival tribe of Merricks. Malcolm knows that Ian's Merrick is awakening and he plans on killing him. The power Malcolm would gain from killing the Merrick would allow him to bring another Casus across the gate and into the modern world. While he waits for Ian's Merrick to fully awaken, he'll take pleasure in raping and murdering Ian's old lovers.

Ian and Molly soon get help from the Consortium, an ancient organization charged with the task of watching the supernatural happenings around the world. They've kept track of the Buchanan bloodline for centuries, awaiting the day when the Merrick genes would awaken. They figure that with the centuries long absence of the Casus, the Merrick has not been needed and thus has remained dormant in the bloodline.

Meanwhile, the Consortium informs Ian that his Merrick needs to feed in order to be strong enough to defeat the immortal Casus and send it's soul back to the Meridian. Ian is still terrified of the beast trying to crawl it's way to the surface and he can't help but think that he'll tear Molly apart while draining her dry. Molly knows that the Merrick won't hurt her. Ian would never let any harm come to her and the desire burring between them is becoming nearly unbearable. Although they've come together twice in their shared dreams, nothing compares to reality and Molly hopes that she'll succeed in seducing Ian but all she gets is heartache.

Ian's best form of defense is attack. Being verbally hurtful to Molly seems his best course of fending Molly off from her determination that he feed from her. The very thought of her blood arouses and sickens him at the same time. All Ian can think is that he'll kill her.

He turned away from her, ready to escape and slam the door behind him, when she said, "Then you're the biggest coward I've ever known."
"Is that really what you think?" he asked without facing her, his hands fisting and flexing at his sides, while his pulse echoed through his skull like a deafening primal roar.
Softly, she said, "What else am I supposed to think, Ian?"
"Dammit, I know you're not stupid," he growled. "You know I'm trying to protect you."
"Is it me you're trying to protect? Or is it you?"

As the murdered women begin to pile up and Ian still refuses to drink blood from Molly, the Consortium tries to interfere. Ian must feed and strengthen the Merrick if he has any hope of walking away from the Casus alive. But the plan backfires horribly. Still determined not to feed and to protect Molly at all costs, Ian decides to draw the Casus onto his own ground and vacates Henning, Colorado for South Carolina and his childhood home. Leaving instructions with the Consortium members to inform Molly that she's to go home, her job is done and Ian basically no longer has use for her. It was the coward's way out but Ian fears that being within any visible proximity of Molly will bring the Merrick forth with the unsatisfied desire for her blood.

Enraged, Molly takes off after Ian. She knows that he needs her help and this time she's not going to back down.

Ian's a difficult hero to like and certainly doesn't make it easy for the reader to understand his emotions. I found that I had to step out of the picture a few times and think about why Ian is behaving so stubborn and so hateful toward Molly. He's a man terrified by the realities of his dark nature. He fights admirably to keep the Merrick deep down and locked inside of him, hating the terror that it may overcome him and he'll be no better than the Casus. Ian does feel guilty at times for shutting Molly out and sending out hurtful barbs to drive her away. He thinks that this will protect her, not only from him but the Casus as well. In truth, he responded like a man - stubborn til the very end. It also takes Ian a long time to realize his love for Molly. His lust, he gets, but this driving need to protect her is something wholly unfamiliar to him.

I thought Ian was very lucky that Molly understood not only the secret to his defenses, but also that she loved him. She recognized his caring soul beneath the harsh facade when she witnessed Ian's remorse over his past lovers' and their horrific deaths. She understands his need to protect her. Molly's decision to wear her heart on her sleeve in hopes of getting through to Ian was crazy as it was perfect. The girl sucks up her pride more times than I could ever hope to count. It took a lot of bravery on Molly's end to expose herself so intimately to Ian knowing that he'll attack her verbally and break her heart time and again in an effort to force her away. Knowing myself, I could never hand my heart over to man like Ian. I'm too prideful but Molly certainly is fearless and she's definitely earned my respect.


Interested in 'Edge of Hunger'? Visit Rhyannon Byrd for More Details!

Look for Book 2 and Book 3 in the Primal Instinct Series Coming May and June 2009!

26 comments:

Blanche said...

Awesome review VFG!! I've read a couple of contemporaries by Rhyannon Byrd and loved them (very HOT!! LOL) but I've not read any of her Vamps/Demons...I saw this book at Borders this morning but didn't pick it up and I wish I had, hopefully they will still have it when I go back this weekend! :)

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Blanche!

Yeah, I really enjoyed the different paranormal myths that Byrd offered with 'Edge of Hunger'. The Merrick isn't a vampire although it does like its blood. :) Plus with the Consortium, the members are shapeshifters but hardly anything is revieled about them.

The next two books center around Ian's brother and sister, Riley and Saige. Saige's hero is actually one of the Consortium members, named Quinn but again not much was revieled in EOH.

In an effort to be as spoiler free as possible, I've limited the review to mainly the romance aspect of the novel.

I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up.

:) VFG

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi VFG!

What a great review! I loved it! The Merrick sounds like the other side of his personality almost, but not quite, two beings co-existing together? One needing the other, but the other not ready to accept that part of himself yet. Sounds really good, again something I would have to put on my TBB list. Ian's character sounds like the tortured soul, pushing away those who he needs in order to protect them. Good hero type, maybe he should have realized his needs a little earlier.

I still loved it and probably will have to pick it up!

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Dottie!

Yup, the Merrick is a beast within Ian. When the Casus is near, his Merrick form will burst through his skin, taloned fingers, fangs, and muscle galore! And it terrifies Ian that he has this beast within him. He fears that he'll hurt someone and most of all, he fears he'll hurt Molly.

Yeah, Ian is one stubborn man! And it does take him nearly till the very end to finally give into his love for Molly.

I hope you check it out!

:) VFG

Cecile said...

VampGirl, I have this book on my TBR pile of books. With this review I am looking forward to reading it even more. The idea of having a very stubborn man is something that takes a bit of magic to understand. Because like you said... you want to slap the crap out of him for being so stubborn, but at the same time you understand the why... and as far as Molly... I agree... I could never be that brave... but I do wear my heart on my sleeve. Just not that brave of giving it away so readily and so many times to be hurt. Very nice honest review.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

There are several books that I'll be looking for this weekend, I'm going off my diet for Easter, going to pig out on books. This will be one for sure and Meljean Brook's books.

We live in such a small area that sometimes the only way to find them is through Amazon, and that can take forever. I don't know why I worry about it, I have stacks of books that I still trying to work through. LOL. It isn't like I have nothing to read.

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Cecile!

Thanks for enjoying my review. Yeah, you said it, there were definitely times where I longed to strangle Ian and it took a lot for me to step back and understand where his stubborness is coming from. He's a man whose just had his life turned upside down with the terrifying news that a beast is trying to burst out of his skin! I guess I'd be pissed too.

Molly was so incredably brave. She opened herself up to Ian countless times and continually faced his rejection. She never let it hold her back from what she wanted. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Unfortunately, I'm not one to wear my heart on my sleeve in real life. Not that I've been wronged in the past, but it's just my introvert nature to be guarded. So Molly's strength and bravery was really special to me in that context.

I did notice that you had EOH in your TBR. I can't wait to read your thoughts when you finish reading it. Enjoy!

:) VFG

VampFanGirl said...

OMG, Dottie! You're going to be reading Meljean Brook this weekend?!? Just look at me! I'm such a fan girl for her. I hope you're starting with 'Demon Angel'. It has this very epic feel to it. I loved Lilith and Hugh's HEA. I swear, I thought there was no way it would work for them despite the fact that it was a romance novel. I was so relieved at the end!

'Edge of Hunger' is actually a really quick read which will help you out as you feast on your books. :)

I generally order through Amazon despite that I live in a very large city. I just seem to have trouble finding the books I want at B&N and Borders. Amazon comes with this great guarentee, you know?

Happy Reading Dottie!

:) VFG

Charlotte Featherstone said...

AWESOME review! You write such great ones! I've looked at this series, but I've got so many TBR's. However, your review was quite provoking! Was it nice and sexy, 'cause you know that's how like 'em!? If you say they are,I'll pick it up.

BTW, thanks for posting the WARDens new cover, HAWT! Not yet for pre-order at Chapters.ca unfortunately, but you know I'll be getting it! What do you think so far of Lord of Legend? I read that one last week in one night. I really enjoyed it, but kept wanting it a bit hotter for my perverted tastes! lol! I do have Lord Sin on my wish list, though, so that'll tell you something!

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Charlotte!

Thanks so much for the wonderful praise. Coming from you, damn!

'Edge of Hunger' is pretty steamy. The Merrick enjoys taking blood while having sex with it's female. :) Nothing too kinky though, pretty much just straight sex with the added bonus of blood sucking.

OMG, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed 'Lord of Legends'! When I read the back cover and saw that the hero was a unicorn trapped in a man's body, I was sold! Plus I love the unicorn galloping across the bottom of the cover. I love horses to this was a must have book despite the fact that I've never read anything by this author before. I've been craving ever since I bought it last weekend and I was getting worried that my hopes were too high. But you've changed my mind on that!

Oh God, I know!! I'm lovin' the new Ward cover!! As much as I love the BDB, I'm really looking forward to Ward's new series and maybe new voice. If you happen to run across a book blurb for 'Covet', notify me immediately please. I'm dying over here!!

:) VFG

Barbara said...

Awesome review!! I remember you posting this cover a while back and it immediately caught my attention. I love it, the others in the series are just as stunning. I already added this book to my Amazon wish list. Now, I just have to wait until the hubby isn't looking to press the infamous "Proceed To Checkout" button, lol!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

lol! Barbara, you make me laugh! Press the damn button anyway!

VFG, I'll let you know about excerpt etc, and you do the same, k?! I'm REALLY looking forward to this series. I LOVE fallen angels.Mmmmmmmm

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Barbara!

Ugh, you're being plagued by the "proceed to checkout" button?!? I feel for you girl, I really do. Damn thing caught me in it's grips last week. Now I'm determined to fight it's lure for as long as possible. :)

I know, the covers are amazing. Rhyannon was definitely blessed by the Cover Gods.

:) VFG

You got it Charlotte. Trust me, I've got my nose to the ground and I'm on the hunt!

:) VFG

Lea said...

Wonderful Review VFG:

Sorry if this comment is a bit brief. I'm pretty much done in. However, I wanted to let you know I did read your review of this book. It sounds a similar storyline to a few I've read, but interesting nonetheless.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts so concisely!

Warm Regards
L

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi VFG!

I like shopping on Amazon. Not only can I find my books, usually not available here at our Borders, but it's usually less expensive. The drawback is waiting...I want immediately gratification!! I also don't drive a lot anymore, so I have to wait for someone to be in the mood to take me, so, Amazon has become my new friend. I've even posted some of my reviews there. It's fun too, the only requirement is limited use of spoilers.

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Lea,

I was actually kind of new to this storyline. Mostly it seems like in paranormals, it's the female that's changing into some previously unknown mythical creature, not the male. So that was different for me. Plus, I've read some stubborn heroes in my time but Ian out does them by far. That man was not going to give in and I don't think he ever really did. Truthfully, Molly just finally won in her seduction of him. :)

No kidding you're tired girl! If you're posting this comment at 9:20 PST than it has to be way late on your end! Thanks for taking the time to read my review despite the late hour Lea.

((hugs))
VFG

Hi Dottie,

Oh, I definitely agree with you that the major drawback to Amazon is the wait time. There is just something about going into the book store and touching all the covers and buying what you want. And you're right, that instant satisfaction feels wonderful. :)

I post a lot of my reviews on Amazon too. Especially for books that I've really enjoyed. I feel like it gives them a chance to do that much better, you know?

:) VFG

Cecile said...

I do agree with you about the cover gods. Her covers are one of the things that drew me in! They are hot. Not to mention the storyline, but the cover needless to say is what we look at!!

I hope you have a wondeful Friday!!
OH ps, I started TVQS last night and could not put it down... I had to at some point to get some sleep! But I am loving it. Thanks for sharingz!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Cecile,

So glad to hear that you're lovin' 'The Vampire Queen's Servant'! I forgot to ask, have you read Joey W. Hill before? I definitely recommend her Mermaid series and not just because the covers are amazing. :)

Yup, I'm one of those that can't help but judge a book by it's cover, at least with new to me authors. I posted on someone's blog that I'd buy Nalini Singh even if the cover showcased a toilet! :) But generally, I find that I'm first drawn to a book by it's cover and Rhyannon Byrd and her Primal Instinct covers was just such a case.

Have a great weekend!

:) VFG

Cecile said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the covers. I mean, I do read the back and that is what sells me... but come'on... smoking hot cover is what sells. Because that picture will stay in my head throughout the whole book... **big cheesy grin.... thinking of Megan Hart's Stranger cover!!!!**

I have not read Joey W Hill before. This will be my first book by him. I will have to look into the Mermaid series then!! Thanks for the heads up about that!

VampFanGirl said...

LOL, Cecile! Yeah, 'Stranger''s cover did leave some lasting impressions. :)

You're very welcome on the recommendation too.

:) VFG

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi VFG!

Well, I went shopping and couldn't find Meljean Brook anywhere, so it's off to Amazon for me. I did finally get Addicted, I know you and Barbara loved it, can't hardly wait to start it. Thanks for the heads up on the ARC for Hot In Here.

I did find Edge of Hunger, so that will be nice!

Have a Happy Easter and remember, Eat Lots of Chocolate!!

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Hi Dottie,

Barbara and I LOVED 'Addicted'! I hope you enjoy it. And if you like steamy erotic contemporaries, 'Hot in Here' is definitely something you should check out. It's so cool that Charlotte Featherstone/Sophie Renwick is giving away ARC's.

Happy Easter!

:) VFG

Blodeuedd said...

Makes me wanna read :D
I may just have discovered your blog but it's sure is nice, and it's so fun meeting a nice fellow blogger so here is an award :)


Award

Barbara said...

Happy Easter, VFG!! ((hugs))

Cecile said...

Happy Easter VampGirl!!! Hope you are having a great day!!! Love hugz and smiles... Cecile... ps the books is going awesome so far... my sister in law saw the cover and started reading it...!!

VampFanGirl said...

Thank you for the beautiful award Blodeuedd!

:) VFG

HAPPYE EASTER BARBARA!!!

(((hugs))) VFG

Happy Easter Cecile! I'm so glad to hear that 'Edge of Hunger' is a hit for you!

(((hugs))) VFG

 
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