Book Review: Shannon K. Butcher’s Running Scared

Posted June 6, 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 Running Scared

Running Scared


Shannon K. Butcher

dark fantasy, romantic suspense in a paperback edition that was published by New American Library (NAL) on May 4th 2010 and has 373 pages.

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

Third in the Sentinel Wars dark paranormal romance series revolving around supernatural guardians tasked with protecting the gate between worlds, protecting humanity. The couple focus is on Lexi Johns and Zach.

My Take

Phew, we finally find out where Lexi’s extreme paranoia about the Sentinels comes from.

Why does no one in this series ever listen?? Nika keeps telling people that she needs Madoc. Every time Madoc is around, she feels better. Hullo??

One thing t hat really bothers me about the relationship Butcher has set up between the men and women is the demands the men make. Sure, I get that without a woman to bond with him, a Sentinel will die. So, they figure the best way to charm a woman into this bond is to tell her that “We’ll have years to get to know each other…[and]…Given time, I’ll come to love you.”? Oh, yeah, these are the words I’ve always longed to hear…not. Admittedly, these are good and decent men. They just don’t have a lot of time, nor much in the way of finesse…

Oh, wow, the end had the most amazing twist…! While Lexi’s little speech is excellent, its effect on the men who want to watch her death is too simplistic. Sweet, but naive.

The Story

Lexi is loyal. Loyal to her friends, her mother. If she can save Helen and Miss Mabel AND strike a blow for humanity, she’ll take it. All she has to remember is the danger the Sentinels pose to the world. A task that becomes harder and harder as Zach and his fellow Sentinels veer off the path Lexi has always believed they follow.

Nika is still unconscious and still a puzzle for the healers. The splintering of her mind into so many sgath is unprecedented and both the Theronai and the Sanguinar are clutching at straws — the men parading through her room to see if they are compatible even as they cut down sgath hoping to free up more of Nika’s mind.

Lexi is desperate now. She understands her mother’s strictures better and she doesn’t want harm to come to anyone. A wish that becomes moot when Zach is captured, held hostage to her own death.

The Characters

Lexi Johns was a waitress at the diner when Helen and Miss Mabel were kidnapped (see Burning Alive). Zach, a Sentinel, is desperate to find the woman who may keep him alive.

Sentinels are…
…different groups of secret warriors fighting the demons: the Theronai and the Sanguinar are just two such groups. The Theronai’s main weakness is age. As the male 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, and the Sentinels are dying, they are losing the war.

Drake and Helen Asher and Paul and Andra are two of only three bonded couples amongst the Sentinels. Nika is Andra’s sister and still very fragile. Joseph Rayd is the leader of the Theronai Sentinels. Madoc is at the end of his life and a member of the Band of the Barren, Nicholas Brand is their computer guy, Iain Terra is both lethal and reliable, Neal, Morgan Valens, and Samuel are other Sentinels hoping Nika will bond to them.

The extremely young Sibyl has been rescued and sees the future. Cain is her unconscious Theronai bodyguard. Her sister, Maura, is still a prisoner of the Synestra. Both are the daughters of Gilda and Angus. Gilda is the Gray Lady; until Helen she was the only Sentinel female. Old and incredibly powerful, she is so angry on so many levels; Angus is her husband.

Logan, Ronan, Alexander, and Tynan are Sanguinar demons. And healers whose truce with the Theronai provides the Sentinels with healing. They have their own agenda and are involved with a secret Sanguinaran venture called Project Lullaby.

Meghan Clark‘s father is dying of cancer, and Alexander promises to save him in return for her taking a trip. I think this begins to explain Project Lullaby.

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

The Defenders of Humanity are…
…a militia group who believe the Sentinels are evil. A viewpoint promoted by their leader Hector Morrow. Jake Morrow is Hector’s son.

Synestryn is…
…a group name for the monsters, demons, and other 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 … Athanasia”.

I think Connal is a Sanguinar who has been turned, altered, by Zillah, a Synestryn with a plan to retake the Sibyl.

Athanasia is…
…another world whose tyrant king, Solarc, has shut the gate between his world and ours, forbidding his sons from visiting Earth.

Lucien is a son of the Solarc and father to Helen, Lexi, and Jackie. His brother Eron is the father of Andra and Nika.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the deepest reds to the brightest in almost winglike swaths as Zach prepares to fight, his sword clenched in a two-handed grip and raised up and across his bare torso. Well, bare except for the bare tree of life tattoo that indicates too well how close he is to death.

The title is true about almost all the Sentinels. The ones without bondmates. They are all Running Scared.