Book Review: Shannon K. Butcher’s Burning Alive

Posted February 10, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Shannon K. Butcher’s Burning Alive

Burning Alive


Shannon K. Butcher

paranormal romance, romantic suspense that was published by New American Library (NAL) on May 5, 2009 and has 358 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dark and Stormy Knights, Finding the Lost, Falling Blind, Kicking It, Rough Edges

First in the Sentinel Wars paranormal romantic suspense series revolving around beings who protect the world from demons. The couple focus is on Drake Asher and Helen Day.

My Take

Yeah, the Sentinels all think the demons did something to kill off their women. I suspect Gilda, the Gray Lady.

This is an excellent story, and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series, Finding the Lost, but Butcher leaves us hanging with little information and lots of teases. I know, generally, this is a good thing since it entices the reader into diving into the next story, but these teases are just leaving me frustrated and confused.

There are too many blood- attractions/projects/needs. I don’t understand what Logan is up to, and this is a good opportunity to create tension but it’s too vague. Logan is collecting blood pledges like he’s signed up for a marathon and the more he collects, the more his signees will contribute.

That tiny tease dropped by the Gray Lady has my heart rate up, so it’s a good ploy. But why is she being such a bitch to Helen??? Why is she keeping secrets from Angus? Why does she refer to the other Sentinels as her children?

As I think about this, maybe it’s just that there are so many teases that has me frustrated… Why did Lexi’s mom warn her so strongly against the Sentinels? Will Zach catch up to her? What’s going on with Sybil? I suspect Helen is the new sybil, but…Butcher has left this as a tease. What’s up the the Gerai Grace?

Part of the frustration is my anger with Helen for being such a douche about getting past her fear of fire…and we only get these teases about her fear. The reasonable assumption is Helen’s vision, but Helen also mentions previous arsons, and she has got an overload of fire extinguishers scattered around her house. Why? And my anger with Helen is so not fair — heck, I’m just the reader who has read a lot of these stories. If I put myself into Helen’s shoes…dang, she is doing really well!

Then there’s the whole “keeping her” part. Drake is super-alpha male. He has no intention of allowing Helen to leave him — wait’ll you read the part where she accepts his luceria and the leaves that unfurl on his chest! But there’s something up with Drake desperate to claim Helen before anyone else sees her and not telling her…something. Why does Drake get so upset about anyone taking blood samples from Helen? Wouldn’t learning more be a good thing??

I do like that Miss Mabel has arrived at the fortress…life should be interesting!

The Story

Sentinels. On a mission to recover a sword, a Sentinel’s sword that, if broken by magic, will release the souls of all the evil beings killed by that sword. Drake Asher, Zach, and Thomas must retrieve it before a higher-level demon finds it.

A mission that brings them to the diner where Helen has taken Miss Mabel for dinner. Luckily, Helen had confided that disastrous vision to Lexi, and both ladies go into action to help Helen.

Lucky for them, Drake is too distracted by the relief from the pain when he touches Helen, a distraction that gives the demons time to torch the diner.

It’s a constant series of escapes as the demons chase the Sentinels and the ladies from diner to house and eventually to Dabyr with barely enough time to get acquainted as they fight, flee, and render first aid, as they attempt to eliminate their scent trail.

And Logan needs more blood to keep Drake from dying. Eliciting an eternal pledge from Helen that she doesn’t understand but that Drake forbids, for he understands the commitment, the wrong of this pledge.

They believe that Helen is a descendant of the Anathasians.

The Characters

Helen Day is motivated by a desire to contribute something to the good in this world, and she is circumstanced well enough that she devotes her time to helping the elderly: delivering meals, visiting with them, taking them out to dinner. The negative is that Helen is terrified of fire and has had a recurring vision in which a man smiles as she goes up in flames. Miss Mabel is one of Helen’s charges.

Lexi Johns is a waitress at the diner. She has some issues drummed into her head by her mother about the Sentinels.

Sentinels are…
…groups of beings who keep their activities secret from humanity even as they protect them from the demons attempting to take over the world. One such group are the men of this story, the Theronai, who have one critical weakness. As a Sentinel ages, his internal energy level increases with the pain almost unbearable until it burns him out and he loses his soul. The only relief from this build-up is if a Sentinel is bonded with a female Sentinel. But something happened to their women, and there is only one left in the world. The Sentinels are dying, they are losing the war.

Drake Asher is Vision Man in Helen’s nightmares. The man who watches and smiles as she burns up in that pillar of fire. Zach seems to be distractedly attracted to Lexi. Thomas has one leaf left on his tree tattoo. He’s desperately jealous of Drake finding Helen and is determined that he will die before slipping to the dark side when his last leaf falls. Paul is a very angry Theronai who could bond with Helen. Others include Nicholas who seems computer savvy and Joseph.

Gilda is the Gray Lady, until Helen she was the only Sentinel female. Old and incredibly powerful, she has a real hate on for Helen…you can see why she makes me suspicious. Angus is her husband. And the only man with whom Helen will be safe…just what isn’t Drake telling her?? The extremely young Sibyl sees the future and doesn’t seem to like Gilda. Cain is her Theronai bodyguard.

The Sanguinar are…
…a type of demon, think vampire, for they need blood to survive. They have a truce with the Theronai now, and they provide healing for the Sentinels. Logan seems to have his own agenda and is determined to force blood pledges from anyone he can. He’s also involved with a secret Sanguinaran venture called Project Lullaby.

Slade, Vance, and Carmen are Gerai, blooded humans who have vowed to help the Sentinels in any way. Grace is a new Gerai working in the fortress.

Synestryn is a…
…group name for the monsters, demons, and beasties that go bump in the night. Their purpose in life is to conquer the world “using humans as food while they battle their way into another world called Athanasia”. Handlers are a type of demon that use whips and fire to kill. Camaranth is a lieutenant for Zillah, a Synestryn lord. They seem to have their own counterplot in place using Kevin’s sword as a distraction.

The gate between Athanasia and our world was…
…shut by Solarc, a tyrant king of Athanasia.

The Cover and Title

The cover is oranges and dark browns with a partially nude man drawing a gleaming sword from a back harness, branch tattoos showing along his biceps and shoulders.

The title is of Helen’s vision in which she is Burning Alive and Drake is smiling through her agony.


Leave a Reply