Review: Marked by Hades by Reese Monroe


May Contain Spoilers


I wanted to like Marked by Hades better than I did.  I thought there were some pacing issues that hindered my enjoyment.  Maybe it’s because I couldn’t stand Pario, the evil villain of the piece.  Pario is a demon, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow Lucifer so the demons can have their merry way without his interference.  Pario believes that Yvonne knows the location of the weapons needed to overthrow the lord of Hell.  Yvonne has been banished from the underworld for helping Sadie, a Gatekeeper, escape after she was captured by the demons.  Yvonne has no memory of her other life, when she was Dyre, a demon.  The setup is a little complicated if you are jumping into the series blind, but the confusion doesn’t last long.  I was able to read this as a standalone without too much difficulty.

Yvonne wakes up on a bench in a park, naked and with no memories of her past.  She is helped by a nice stranger, but when she touches him, he turns to dust.  She quickly realizes that any living thing she touches is quickly reduced to dust, so she takes measures to avoid touching anyone again.  She wears leather clothing and never venturing out without her gloves.  She takes day jobs, hoping to earn enough money for a hotel room and to ease her unhappiness with a few stiff drinks.  When she meets Justin, her life teeters out of control.  Justin is the companion to the Gatekeeper of North America, and it’s their job to keep humanity safe from demons.

Justin  has been alive for centuries, and he’s become jaded with his existence.  He hasn’t found his fated mate, and isn’t even sure that he wants one.  He’s doing just fine by himself, killing any demons unwise enough to venture into his territory.  When he sees Yvonne turn a man who is trying to attack her to dust, he is intrigued. Who, and what, is this woman? And why does he feel so attracted to her?

The fun aspect of this story is how Justin fights against his fated mate.  Once he discovers that Yvonne was a demon, he has nothing but contempt for her.  He refuses to consider that she could have just been a victim of circumstance.  Becoming a demon is a choice, and he can’t forgive her for making it.  Yvonne really did the get the short end of the stick.  She was compelled to do the unthinkable to save her family, and was forced to watch as her sacrifice was in vain.  Once a demon, she longed for closeness and a connection with anyone or anything, a need that the other demons mocked her for.  After she helps the Gatekeeper escape, she is cursed to the worst fate possible.  She can’t get close to anything, because she’ll only turn it to dust!  What a crappy fate!

I did not enjoy most of the time Yvonne spent back in the underworld.  She is treated horribly, and it made me feel uncomfortable.  Worst of all, because she’s lost her memories again, she doesn’t realize how poorly she’s being treated, or that she’s being manipulated to help bring about Lucifer’s downfall.  I really wanted her as far away from Pario as she could possibly get.  Certain plot points felt a bit repetitive, too.  It seemed like most of the characters were kidnapped and held by the demons, at one point or another, so the suspense was not as strong as it should have been. 

Marked by Hades is a fast read, and despite some quibbles, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. 

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

One choice away from eternity… For 911 years, Gatekeeper companion Justin Bradford has denied the possibility of being mated to only one woman. He enjoys them all too much to settle down. So when he feels his mate’s Ahavah mark surface, his first instinct is to ignore it. But when he sees the leather-clad beauty in need of his help that’s easier said than done…

Yvonne wakes up naked on a cold park bench in a small town with no memory of who—or what—she is. All she knows is the gentle man who woke her was turned to dust when she touched him. And now the strange mark that appeared on her shoulder throbs in the presence of the raven-haired man now offering to help her…

As Justin and Yvonne navigate the mystery of her past, their bond grows, but the secrets they discover and the sacrifices that must be made could be enough to rip them apart for eternity.