Book Review: Shannon K. Butcher’s Finding the Lost

Posted February 21, 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 Finding the Lost

Finding the Lost


Shannon K. Butcher

paranormal romance, romantic suspense in Paperback edition that was published by New American Library (NAL) on November 3, 2009 and has 355 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dark and Stormy Knights, Living on the Edge, Razor's Edge, Burning Alive, Running Scared, Living Nightmare, Blood Hunt, Edge of Sanity, Dying Wish, Falling Blind, Kicking It, Rough Edges

Second in the Sentinel Wars paranormal romantic suspense series revolving around several races banding together in an uneasy alliance to prevent the Synestryn from taking over the world and breaching the gate.

My Take

OK, you know it’s really bad when you’re hoping the good guys lose. I struggled through this installment, almost praying the bad guys would win. ‘Cause the good guys are too stupid for words.

Supposedly the Sanguinar have allied with the Sentinels. In reality, they’re biding their time using Sentinel blood to keep themselves alive [which is reasonable] and for their Project Lullaby. A top-secret project the details of which they have shared with the Slayers, “a violent, proud, and deadly race of shapeshifters” who seem to be an enemy of the Sentinels. Neither side trusts the other and treats each other more as an enemy than as a friend. Which isn’t as bad as the Sentinels themselves. Every Sentinel hates the one who finds a woman to bond with. Joseph, their leader, insists that they bind the woman, force her to bond and stay with them.

Supposedly the Sentinels are protecting humans from the Synestryn [demons] because the Synestryn take away all choice. Well, the Sentinels are pretty mad keen to take away any woman’s choice, so I’m not quite sure about that particular difference. And it’s all trickle-down stupid right down to the individuals. Ooh, Paul desperately needs Andra to accept him forever so he doesn’t die. But, does he explain anything to her? Why…no, what fun would that be. Instead, let’s spend pages moaning and whining about what will happen when the time she has allotted him is up. God forbid Paul actually inform her of the facts. Just bloody irritating to read. I really am a glutton for punishment as I forced myself to read the whole stupid story.

Gawd, right from the beginning, the Sentinels refuse to actually give out any information. They simply jerk about and order everyone around so Butcher can create tension. They don’t want Andra to give Logan any blood. Do they explain why? Pshaw. Gimme a break. Put some bloody effort into this! Which is really not fair of me to say because Butcher does have a great story. If she just found an editor who could give a shit.

Ya know, the Sentinels are all so in awe of the Sibyl, and yet they ignore her orders. What? They haven’t figured out that what she sees happens? That she might have a reason for insisting certain things happen??

I sympathize with Andra wanting to help her sister. I really do. And I just want to smack her hard, oh, eight or 9,000 times. She keeps whining and bitching and jerking about. I’m not surprised her sister is doing so badly. So would I if I had to put up with Andra!

Okay, when Andra and Paul do that soul meld, and she sees snippets of Paul’s past, how can she not question why Paul was in such pain when Kate rejected him and removed her necklace? When Andra vows to give him three days and “resentment rose up in his throat”, why didn’t he tell her about the effects of her leaving him? I’m assuming [ass + u + me] Paul is intelligent. Surely he could connect the dots between her continuous child-saving and, oh, I dunno, explaining how they could partner up and he could help her save even more children?? No, instead he whines about “how could she do this to him”? Well, how is she supposed to know??? Moron. How anyone can be expected to make an informed decision with dribs and drabs of information? Oh yeah, and then there’s the whole “I will give you my power and you can save your sister” schtick. What?? Andra thinks you just press a button and voila the secrets of the universe are yours to manipulate with finesse?? I just about wanted a power surge to pour through her and burn her out!

In just one easy lesson, understand how to use a new power source with the skill of a neurosurgeon.

Then there’s the scene where she practically rapes the poor guy. She taunts, she pushes, she teases. She only wants to take from Paul so she can help her sister, so she pushes him beyond his control…and stiffens up. Uses encouraging words like “I can deal with that”. Oh yeah, that’d keep me stiff…not.

I’m not sure, really, just what good the Sentinels are. There is so much going on out there that they haven’t a clue about.

Oh yeah, don’t take a drop or two of Nika’s blood ’cause it’s just too much. So much better to take more time over it and give her a better chance of dying. Then we come to the part where we finally find out why Andra doesn’t want to be with Paul. She thinks she failed her sisters, her mother. The fact that she had no training or concept that such creatures existed is, of course, no excuse.

I do have to remind myself that the female protagonist doesn’t have the background of the story that I as the reader do, and it’s not fair to expect her to react as if she had that knowledge. That said, there is a point when an author is just not paying attention. Butcher is jerking these poor slobs around so badly that paragraphs don’t flow smoothly. It’s more as if she wrote the paragraphs, printed ’em out, cut them apart, and then tossed ’em up in the air. Wherever they landed is where they got spliced in. Okay, gross exaggeration. She took some of the paragraphs away before she spliced ’em in so the paragraph jumps would be worse.

I hate these people. They’re such cavemen. And not in a good way.

God save me from idotic, stupid, drama queens. Okay, okay, so I’m being a drama queen myself in this review. Read it. You’ll turn into one, too!

The Story

Andra is preparing to rescue a six-year-old boy from monsters. It seems that this is all she does anymore. Night after night spent rescuing children from monsters. Only this night will be different as Paul, Logan, and Madoc are hunting for her.

Andra is lucky as she and Sammy escape the next descending group of monsters, but the boys lose her in the escape only to have Andra walk into her apartment and find Paul sitting on her couch. Some fast-talking keeps the boys in her apartment until Andra gets a call from the hospital. Her sister is fading fast and Andra tears out. Little does Andra know how lucky she is because Paul, Logan, and Madoc can all help her little sister. They can’t cure her, but they can help prolong her life a bit longer. Get her to safety and away from the monsters who are chasing her.

But it’s only Madoc who is able to get Nika to eat, to sleep. Andra is praying that being at the Sentinel fortress there will be all sorts of help available for her sister. God forbid that she actually lets anyone help though. Even though Nika is dying, it’s so much more important for everyone to fight to prevent Tynan from getting a sample of Andra or Nika’s blood so he can figure out how to help her. Hey, at least everyone is consistent in being a major pain.

The Characters

Andra Madison lost her mother when their home was attacked when Andra was 19. The demons kidnapped her eight-year-old sister Tori and poisoned Nika. A Nika who has had to be hospitalized in a psychiatric facility ever since. Now, Andra uses her gift to find lost children.

Paul, a Sentinel, hasn’t much time left. There is only one leaf left on the tree of life tattooed on his chest. When it’s gone, his soul will begin to die, and he will lose all sense of right and wrong. Nor will he care.

Sentinels are…
…made up of different groups of secret warriors fighting the demons. The Theronai are one of those groups, dying out because they can no longer conceive children. Only recently have they found another woman of their bloodline, Helen Day, who has bonded with Drake Asher (Burning Alive, 1). Armed with the possibility of others out there like her, the Theronai warriors are out searching for more in hopes of bonding and staving off their own deaths.

(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.)

The Band of the Barren are…
…a super-secret group of Sentinels who have lost all but one of their leaves and even that one is slowly, slowly falling to the base of their trees of life. Banding together, they have been able to slow that leaf and hold onto what little remains of their morals.
Madoc is one of the them, only sex or violence are allowing him to disperse some of the pain.

Zach is still desperately searching for Lexi Johns ever since she fled the diner in Burning Alive. Somehow she has managed to camouflage his tracking mark. Other Sentinels include the tech-savvy Nicholas Laith, their leader Joseph Rayd, Morgan Valens, and Iain who also exhibits a compatibility for Andra. Gilda is the Gray Lady, once the only Sentinel female and one with some huge secrets. Angus is her husband. The extremely young Sibyl sees the future and hates Gilda, her mother. Cain is Sibyl’s Theronai bodyguard.

Grace Norman is a Gerai (blooded humans who have vowed to help the Sentinels in any way) working in the fortress, and she’s in love with Torr, a paralyzed Theronai. Sammy McMullins is the six-year-old boy of much interest to the Synestryn.

The Sanguinar are…
…a type of demon, vampires with a need for blood to live, and the reason the Theronai look down on them. Despite this, the Theronai have a truce with the Sanguinar who provide healing for the Sentinels. Tynan is their leader. Logan makes a good point, comparing the Theronai disgust with resenting the disabled because they can’t operate like a non-handicapped person. What I don’t understand is with the human population as it is, why isn’t there enough “food” to go around?? Conal is a guard who exhibits some disturbing signs.

Synestryn are a…
…group name for the monsters, demons — beasties that go bump in the night, including sgath. Their purpose in life is to conquer the world “using humans as food while they battle their way back to Athanasia”. Dorjan are humans enthralled to do anything for the Synestryn. Zillah, a Synestryn lord working with Maura, is another daughter of Gilda and Angus who went really bad. They’re doing something to reshape the children for their particular ends.

The gate between Athanasia and our world was…
…shut by Solarc, the tyrant king of Athanasia. Anyone he catches breaking his rules, he massacres. Prince Eron is his son; the mother of his children, Celine, is dead now. Only his daughters, Andra, Nika, and Tori remain. He hopes. Prince Lucien is his older brother and has promised to look for them. Aurora is a servant involved in their plans.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a royal blue background with the bare, writhing branches of trees emphasizing the bare branches of Paul’s tattooed tree of life on the left side of his naked chest. He does have some impressive muscles. Too bad his brain is just one big muscle as well. Paul is standing full frontal with his hands gripping the hilt of his sword, tip down to the earth.

The title is Andra’s power. She has a skill for Finding the Lost. Also known as Jerk, Jerk, Jerk My Chain…jeezus…