The Ancient by Anida Adler
Publisher: Loose ID, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (193 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Morrigán escaped the destruction of her world and is now one of only two left of her race. A cynical, world-weary spirit, she suffers from bouts of acute depression. She claims to have no sympathy for human emotions but is deeply frustrated by their inability to view their fleeting lives from the perspective of eternity. Desperately lonely, she struggles to cling to reason in spite of her need for a mate.
Tadgh is a sensitive poet thrust into the cruelty of war. He keeps his sanity by promising himself he’ll live to enjoy life to the fullest when this cruel war is over. When the goddess of death appears to warn him he is about to die, he finds he’ll do almost anything to cling to life. And to her.
Tadhg's gift of days is surely at an end. But Morrigán sees something in his eyes which she has never observed in any of her charges. She wants him, in every sense of the word. But can he face his hidden desires? Can he handle the consequences of sex with an Ancient?
I have three words for The Ancient: This. Book. Rocked! From the gritty beginning to the fantastical ending this story entranced me with its visuals, characterization and heart.
Tadhg is the hero and from the get-go, I appreciated the way the author helped a reader pronounce his name in a very clever and natural way. Not too many authors seem to go that extra step so I wanted to express my appreciation here for that fact alone. Tadgh is a man of action, of hope and integrity. He shows caring at a time when most of the softer emotions have been crushed or died from the horrors of war. He won’t give in and keeps his chin up, not just for himself but for the men who follow him. Ms. Adler gives a reader a wonderful character to respect, admire and to yearn for good things to happen to. His inner strength, even when faced with what at first seems his worst nightmare of choices, allows for Tadgh to grow and move forward as he figures out his new world.
Morrigán is the heroine who I enjoyed reading about. She’s got a tough job and has been doing it for a long time. In her line of work, the softer emotions also get trampled so thoroughly, they become nonexistent. What a challenge it must have been for Ms. Adler to take this woman of minimal compassion and tease out the finer nuances of her character. There is much growth for her too in this story and it complements Tadgh’s.
The attraction between Tadgh and Morrigán is smoking hot. Also, the sex is as far from gratuitous as any reader who enjoys a meaty and well constructed plot could wish. It served a purpose yet its use and placement built tension, believability and sensual satisfaction at each culmination. It felt real and needed and beautiful. Usually I skim such scenes if there are too many but Ms. Alder wove them into the story with a masterful hand. I enjoyed every tingling, teasing moment.
The conflict is both internal and external. The internal is mostly the accepting of the changes both need to go through for their relationship to survive and thrive. Since there is a strong paranormal aspect, it is daunting indeed. The external pain in the neck comes from a man who haunts Morrigán constantly and his threats are getting worse with a good chance he can hurt her. Once an egg goes bad there is no saving it…I guess it can be the same with people. The only difference is, with a person you try to have hope.
The Ancient is one of the most enjoyable paranormal romances I’ve read in a long while. It combines realistic views of the harshness of war with the hope for a future even among the horrors which surround it. The story embraces two strong characters riddled with doubts and burdened by the choices they must make. It was a joy seeing them fortified with the power of love and what they could accomplish when they stood together. My only sadness came from Dagda. He was an important secondary character to this story and enough of his emotions and of his life are revealed for a reader to feel empathy for him and to want the best for him.
I sincerely hope that Ms. Adler will take pity on Dagda and give him his own story someday. I don’t care what he said to Tadgh, it can’t be true. Not completely. In any event, despite my emotional plea for Dagda, I highly recommend this story to all readers who enjoy a higher standard in their paranormal romances. The Ancient delivers with strength of plot and character I always look for and do not always find.