Official Review: Rule Breakers, Soul Takers (Hell Runners...

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ButterscotchCherrie
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Official Review: Rule Breakers, Soul Takers (Hell Runners...

Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 14 May 2019, 05:45

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Rule Breakers, Soul Takers (Hell Runners Book 1)" by Jacqueline Jayne.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Gates of Hell sculpture at the entrance to the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia depicts a scene from Dante’s Inferno. It is also a portal in the world of Rule Breakers, Soul Takers (Hell Runners Book 1), a paranormal romance novel by Jacqueline Jayne that builds on Dante’s work and scriptural accounts of fallen angels with a modern plot and characters.

The book is mainly set in a Hell whose first circle includes the accidentally damned who have been deceived into coming to the wrong eternity. Enter the Philadelphia-based Hell Runners Society, whose mission it is to rescue these souls and deliver them into the light. Feisty and talented heroine Prudence Luckett is itching to run her first mission after qualifying when she learns that her father, Chancellor Jack Luckett, is hell-bent on banishing her to the Research Desk. What is he trying to protect her from? And why is the hero and Prudence’s love interest, rugged and sensual instructor Jesse Thorne, also being kept out of Hell by the Council?

Right from the start when they plunge down in an elevator together, the attraction between Prudence and Jesse is palpable. This is a staple of romance, of course, as is the presence of an obstacle preventing the couple from being together. In this book, both the magnetism and the obstacle are connected with the story architecture in a striking and clever way. The reasons behind them run deep, maybe all the way down to the ninth circle. I was impressed by the author's construction and integration of the different story layers.

Rules of the romance genre aside, as the title suggests, this book examines the theme of rules in general. Who makes them and why? I love it when paranormal narratives show characters learning to wield their gifts, including when these bring them face-to-face with ethical issues. Prudence has a special ability to empathize but knows it is off-limits to use this on friends and family. The author describes her as refraining from “copping an emotional feel” of Jesse. I appreciated the innovative turns of phrase like this one. When Prudence defies her father in her determination to continue liberating souls from Hell in partnership with Jesse, the Council lands her with a mission where she will be damned whatever she does. Now she must decide which rules need to be broken.

This book explores the problems of knowing who to trust in this artfully constructed world where much is not what it seems. For example, the first circle of Hell looks like a suburb with white picket fences and baking smells – but this is all an illusion cooked up by the demons. This adventure includes gripping scenes where humans of integrity wrestle with demons who want to feed on their fear. With a plot that doglegs like Prudence and Jesse racing through a clapboard mirage, this will appeal to you if you enjoy fast-paced fantasy adventures and battles between good and evil including angels and demons. It comes highly recommended to paranormal romance fans.

The story has a substantial erotic component. It includes many evocative details that are suitable for adults only. While he can be a protective hero, Jesse is also drawn to Prudence for her spark and strength. They are well-rounded characters, and their frequent dialogue is lively and plausible. Sometimes Jesse got a little too macho for my taste. For example, I cringed when he wanted Prudence to show him her cheerleading routines.

The sexual tension between the pair is repeatedly re-established throughout; sometimes this felt a little overdone when it was already quite clear. The “Britishisms” spoken by one of the characters were also a little overdone. These minor negatives aside, I would love to give this impressively crafted book a four-star rating. Unfortunately, although it was edited, some errors slipped through the cracks, and I have to rate it three out of four stars. While this is the first book in a series, it could stand alone in that its weightiest problem is solved by the end. This causes a new set of problems, however, and Jesse and Prudence will be partners on more missions yet. I look forward to reading the sequel.

******
Rule Breakers, Soul Takers (Hell Runners Book 1)
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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 15 May 2019, 02:22

I wouldn't usually be a fan of this type of fantasy-adventure story, but it sounds like this one has great characters and a well-crafted plot. Your review is interesting and very thorough - many thanks!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 15 May 2019, 04:27

Brendan Donaghy wrote:
15 May 2019, 02:22
I wouldn't usually be a fan of this type of fantasy-adventure story, but it sounds like this one has great characters and a well-crafted plot. Your review is interesting and very thorough - many thanks!
I do love this kind of thing, but like everything else, the quality of fantasy books varies. As can be seen from my review, this one was amazing! Thanks for your comment.

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 15 May 2019, 05:11

Great review! I also think it's neat when a book describes how the character is able to utilize their gift.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 15 May 2019, 05:15

Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
15 May 2019, 05:11
Great review! I also think it's neat when a book describes how the character is able to utilize their gift.
I think that's one reason I love paranormal fiction so much. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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Post by Rachel Lea » 15 May 2019, 07:43

The plot premise of Rule Breakers, Soul Takers sounds interesting. The romance feels a little contrived, though, but that could be just me. I really like how this book takes elements from Dante's Inferno and expands upon them. Thanks for your review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 15 May 2019, 08:12

Romance in the first circle of hell? Interesting. It's not a genre I go for, and being set in hell, I don't think I'll make an exception for this one. It does sound like the author has a vivid imagination, though. Thanks.
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Post by Bianka Walter » 15 May 2019, 09:51

I love paranormal romance! This sounds great. I'm also glad that there was no huge cliffhanger at the end - that sometimes frustrates me into boycotting the rest of the series. Like a child having a tantrum.
I hope the author send this one for another proofread - especially if it's deserving of a perfect score.

I really enjoyed your review :)
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Post by Cecilia_L » 15 May 2019, 09:59

While I'm not a fan of erotic or paranormal genres, I do appreciate the well-developed characters and witty dialogue you describe. Thanks for the interesting review.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 16 May 2019, 06:11

Prudence is known as the mother of all virtues. St. Paul talks about a thorn in the flesh that afflicts him. I'd say the author considered these when he named his main characters. Serious stuff. And then there's talk about cheerleading. That's what I call balance. LOL!

Lovely review, my friend. Grazie!

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Post by Ellylion » 16 May 2019, 07:56

I love paranormal romances and am really glad to learn that this one is based on Dante's Inferno. I would like to check this book out and hope the author fixes all the mentioned above errors. Thank you for a great review! :)

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 16 May 2019, 12:40

Rachel Lea wrote:
15 May 2019, 07:43
The plot premise of Rule Breakers, Soul Takers sounds interesting. The romance feels a little contrived, though, but that could be just me. I really like how this book takes elements from Dante's Inferno and expands upon them. Thanks for your review!
I'd say it wasn't so much contrived as inevitable ... The Dantesque bits were amazing. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 16 May 2019, 12:44

kandscreeley wrote:
15 May 2019, 08:12
Romance in the first circle of hell? Interesting. It's not a genre I go for, and being set in hell, I don't think I'll make an exception for this one. It does sound like the author has a vivid imagination, though. Thanks.
It is scary at times if you think too deeply about it. I did wonder if some might not like the demonic themes. Thanks for commenting, though!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 17 May 2019, 03:46

Bianka Walter wrote:
15 May 2019, 09:51
I love paranormal romance! This sounds great. I'm also glad that there was no huge cliffhanger at the end - that sometimes frustrates me into boycotting the rest of the series. Like a child having a tantrum.
I hope the author send this one for another proofread - especially if it's deserving of a perfect score.

I really enjoyed your review :)
Yes, some authors use blatant cliffhangers to the extent that they deserve to have the rest of the series boycotted. There's a definite art to wrapping enough up and leaving enough open. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Post by allbooked+ » 17 May 2019, 19:24

I am not normally a fan of this genre but your review has me thinking this one would be an enjoyable read! I like that the story gets wrapped up even though this is a series!

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