Nick –Leader of the half-breeds and the last true hero. He’s spent his life fighting a dark pull toward the gods. A pull he now knows is linked to his father Krónos and the Titan’s plan to escape from the Underworld.
“Finally! Nick’s book!” were my exact thoughts when I found out the seventh book in the Eternal Guardians series would feature the mysterious leader of the Misos colony. I wasn’t quite sure how Ms. Naughton would work his HEA or who could possibly be his love interest, because as anyone who has followed this series knows, Nick’s soul mate has already fallen in love and married his brother Demetrius. I know! What a seriously twisted love triangle. No need to worry guys, Nick does finally get his happily ever after and it’s not what you’d expect.
Nick has been dealt one crap hand after another in life. Born as half of a set of twins, his Argonaut father always knew he wasn’t quite right. There was a darkness in him that didn’t gel with the Argonaut markings on his arm and he is punished for it in some truly horrible ways. It wasn’t until years later that he learned while he and Demetrius share Atalanta as a mother, they have different fathers and his happens to be the god Kronos. At a very young age he is banished to earth and forced to figure out how to survive on his own. He learned to fight and track and hunt and eventually became leader of the half-breed colony. But then fate intervenes again and as an adult Nick is devastated to find out he shares a soul mate with his brother. Isadora is the Queen of Argolea and she is deeply in love with Demetrius. She will never be Nick’s, which means he will always be left wanting and won’t ever experience the closeness that soul mates share. Despite that, he still makes the choice to sacrifice himself in order to save her from Hades.
This brings us to where Nick finds himself at the very beginning of Twisted, deep in the heart of Hades’s son, Zagreus’s torture chambers. Both Hades and Zagreus want to absorb the power Nick is to inherit from his father and they will do anything to bring it out of him, including physical, mental and sexual torture. The person in charge of his torture is a woman named Cynna. She has made a deal with Zagreus in order to avenge her parent’s deaths and part of that deal is to do every single thing the crazy god wants, which includes doing whatever it takes to make Nick finally break. But Cynna isn’t the exactly who she appears to be and even as she oversees his torture she slowly starts to develop feelings for the prisoner.
It’s Cynna who ultimately helps Nick escape and Cynna who keeps Nick grounded when the darkness inside threatens to overwhelm him. Cynna and Nick, regardless of their twisted (heh) beginnings feel a connection to each other that only continues to grow as they are forced to confront what’s been going on in Argolea and with the Misos colony. Cynna isn’t the most sympathetic character, but then I don’t think this author wanted her be. I do think she is meant to be portrayed as the exact opposite of Isadora and she truly is. There isn’t a whole lot of softness or kindness to her, but then again that turns out to be just the kind of woman Nick needs in his life. Nick is himself troubled and the power inside of him comes out in some very dark ways. This author pulls no punches with the type of desire Nick and Cynna have for each other. The sex scenes are just more… more dirty talk, more pain, more forceful. There’s an edge to them that I don’t remember being in the other couple’s stories.
I think the best part of this couple’s romance is the fact they truly develop a deep bond and fall in love, despite the soul mate premise that has been so prevalent in this series. Readers always knew that Isadora, Nick’s soul mate, was already taken and madly in love with his brother. She was never going to be who Nick settled down with, unless Ms. Naughton decided to create some kind of ménage or something. So it was kind of a mystery about how she would go about giving Nick his own mate and even how would that work with the Argonaut’s soul mate curse. In the end these two fall in love and choose each other, soul mate be damned. I love that. I love that fate ultimately takes a backseat to choice.
If you haven’t read this series before, I wouldn’t start here. I really don’t think any of the books in the Eternal Guardians series can be read as stand-a-lones. There is quite a bit of backstory and world-building to wade through to really understand what’s going on in Twisted. I’m so thankful this author decided to continue on with this series and self-publish. I’m very much looking forward to see where she takes the Argonauts next. Final Grade- B
He did need her. Not because she was special, not because she was his soul mate. But because they were alike. They understood each other. They’d both danced with the devil, and she was determined to make sure they both survived.