Shift (The Protector #2) by M.R. Merrick - 5 of 5 stars
Release Date: January 29, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Length: 348 pages
***Warning: If you haven't read Exiled, there will be spoilers.***
As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.
In a lot of ways, I liked Shift even more than I liked Exiled, the first in this series. The focus on Rayna's mysterious shifter heritage from the beginning served as an immediate hook in what could have been a very stilted transition into this second installment. When Exiled ended, it was on a tragic and unresolved note, with Chase's mother's death at the hands of his father and the question of whether Riley and the Dark Brothers had survived the showdown in Drakar. While Chase has his friends, it's easy to see how much he's reeling, and a lot of those emotions were manifesting in revenge lust, which always means bad things.
The book opens on an abrupt note, as Chase finds Rayna in the midst of what is revealed as a series of recent partial shifts that are creeping closer to completion and the possibility of killing her. I loved the increased focus on Rayna from the start found the shifter politics in general to be a great addition to the story line.
I loved the build in tension between Chase and Rayna. It took her almost dying (multiple times), but this is the book where the chemistry begins to boil over. Because seriously, those two are adorable. And kick-ass. Basically the epitome of a power couple.
There's even more action and dimension-hopping to keep the pace of the story interesting, and I never wanted to put it down. This whole book did an excellent job of developing the characters and showing their growth. From Chase to Willy, every single player is different by the end of Shift.
This book will be a winner for anyone who was a fan of the first in the series. It has the action, emotion, and magic you want from such a series in spades. And it has Chase. Enough said.