05 February 2010

ARC Review: Allison Brennan - Original Sin

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Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (January 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345511670
ISBN-13: 978-0345511676

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Main Characters: Moira O’Donnell, Rafe Cooper, Anthony Zaccardi, Sky McPherson, Philip Zaccardi.
Book Origin: Received a copy for review from; Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

Cover Summary:
A coven of witches well versed in the black arts unleash the Seven Deadly Sins on earth - as incarnate demons with an agenda. Raised a witch in her mother's powerful coven, Moira O'Donnell ran away when she learned her mother planned to sacrifice her to be "mediator" between the underworld and all united covens. Forsaking her power after her lover was killed by magic, she must stop her mother from controlling the Seven Deadly Sins or the balance of power between the worlds will shift forever to the dark side.

When a powerful coven of witches, led by Fiona, evoke the Seven Deadly Sins to Earth it is Rafe Cooper who disrupts the ritual and thereby unleashes the Seven Deadly Sins in to this world. This gets Fiona in to a fit of fury because the extensive ritual was meant for her to control the Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Conoscenza. Her hunger for power has no boundaries and with this ritual gone wrong she will do everything and anything to rectify the situation. Whatever.The.Cost.

Still, as evil rises so does the good. A group of five people rise to the challenge to save the world from the Seven Deadly Sins.

I love my paranormal stories and I can enjoy a good suspense/thriller but Allison Brennan fuses these two genres in to a story that becomes an exquisite taste of what she can deliver as an author. I think I have read the first two hundred pages with bated breath; there were characters to meet, information to absorb, keep track of past and present developments and a ritual that set off the plot with a bang. The eerie tension got under my skin and I needed to know it all.

Via the characters I received the information I needed and Moira O’Donnell is the spill of the story. Moira is the kind of character that I slowly got to unravel and still many mysteries hover around her persona. She is born from the witch Fiona and was trained to be a Mediator between Hell and the Magicians. At a certain point she broke free from her mother’s reign and ultimately ended up with Father Philip Zaccardi from the St. Michael Monastery. There she was taught to fight the witches, magicians and their hunger for power. Moira was raised to do evil but by her own norms and values broke free from her mother’s hold and now Moira finds herself in the middle of the greatest battle ever.

Moira is scared and she is courageous. She is powerful yet she won’t use those powers. She is hated, she is scorned, but she also found friends in unlikely places and with Father Philip Zacardi she found a measure of safety. Moira is a female leading character that keeps you invested in this story at all times as she is stuck in the thick of a complex situation where she might be the answer to victory.

Each and every character entering the stage of Original Sin has his or her own past, personality, reasons and beliefs, this makes them an enigmatic and dynamic group to get to know. With ties to the Vatican the men of the St. Michael Monastery are the opponents of the witches and magicians. Rafe Cooper is such a man from St. Michael and while he has the least prominent role he has impressed me. The mystery that clings to him is one helluva set-up that begs to be further explored, I can only assume this will be done in book #2 Carnal Sin. Anthony Zaccardi, a demonologist, is another member of the St.Michael monastery and has an intense love development going on with Sky McPherson, the sheriff of Santa Louisa. The town where this story unfolds itself.

These are just a few characters who play a big role in the overall storyline and delve in to the mystery of the Seven Deadly Sins and the coven who tries to keep them leashed to do their bidding. Fiona and Serena are family related to Moira and there is a lot of animosity going on between these three that ups the stakes even more. Hidden agendas, power driven witches, murders, sacrifices, rituals it all is a part of the story and while at first it may not be obvious that certain things are related, everything is entwined at the end.

Because next to top-notch character development there is an equally top-notch plot at work. The angst is expertly executed by Allison Brennan to create an atmosphere where anything, anywhere, to anyone could happen. The powers that be are very potent in their ability to destroy humans from their weakness within. Everyone is susceptible to sin and thereby a possible victim. The author gradually reveals it all and while at a time or two I felt the pace stalled a bit too much the elaborate storytelling was needed for me to understand the complete picture. To understand the ramifications if things were not solved and for the better part of Original Sin I was absorbed by the story at hand.

I do feel a warning is due that the romance in Original Sin is almost nonexistent. There is an attraction simmering beneath the surface between Moira and Rafe, it is implied a few times, I was aware of the attraction at the end of the story but nothing more than that. There is no hot and heavy foreplay nor passion erupting on the pages but with all that is going on it is the least on anyone’s priority list. Including mine! Because if there is one thing that Allison Brennan outdid herself with then it is to bring forth a premise that delivers a non-stop-ride of good battling with evil and figuring out all the puzzle pieces for a solution to an omnipotent, larger-than-life, supernatural problem. While there is a conclusion to the problems at hand in Original Sin it is the mere start of where this group is heading with Moira and Rafe at the heart of it.

ORIGINAL SIN delivers all the supernatural chills and thrills in an edge-of-your-seat story that you need to read late at night for full effect.


Rafe. They were kindred spirits, Moira and he, a little lost and a lot alone. Someone she could finally talk about all this…and because of her, he had been taken by Fiona as a game piece. Checkmate.

4,5 stars
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  1. Thanks for the warning-you're the second person who has said that about the romance part of the story. It still sounds like an excellent read!

  2. This one sounds so good..and with everything else going on, the romantic tension sounds like it is enough.

  3. Okay, you leave me intrigued to find out for myself what is going on with this book! You feed my addiction so well! You evil woman, lol!
    Great review hon!
    Hope all is well!!! Hugs!

  4. I would not mind the non existing romance, sure I would wonder, and wonder, and wonder, but hopefully get over it ;)

  5. @A Buckeye Girl Reads - It is an excelent read and the promise of Rafe and Moira is very good!

    @Mandi - Rafe and Moira don't have that much interaction together but when they do it is so palpable *sigh*

  6. @Cecile - Intrigue is good and you make me aware of my wicked horns each time LOL

    @Blodeuedd - Yeah, romance wise it is truly a continuing series!

  7. Wonderful review! I admit I am intrigued by this story and your high opinion of it, although I'm not sure if the lack of romance is something I can appreciate ;)

  8. No romance?!!! Hmm...I don't know.... I gotta have my romance.

    Thanks for the great review and recommendation, Leontine, but I might have to pass.

    Hugs, VFG

  9. Terrific review! I'm dying to know a few things about Moira. And I got a feeling that when things heat up between Rafe and Moira there will be fireworks. :)

  10. It sounds like a great book, and your review is fab as always, but ... not much romance... I will skip this one!

  11. @Janna - I don't think the suspense alone is going to do it for you hon. And there is no concluding romance or smuttiness to be found in Original Sin.

    @VFG - Hon if you want romance in your story then I'd say you're right and skip this one. You really need to have a love for suspense and an minor romance set-up that will probably will deepen in the coming novels :)

  12. @Donna - After i read your review i was so glad I had this one coming, I love the St.Michael Order and mysteriousness surrounding it and the coven, plot, it all worked to keep me fused to the pages LOL

    @Marissa - With your time table I think another book will give you more reading pleasure then this one!

  13. Thanks for the warning - it is just how i love my books...

    This author is really good, I just got my grubby little mitts on this one..

    I might make a all nighter of it...



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