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Released by Kerrigan Byrne

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Released (novella)
Highland Historical #4/The Mackays #1

Kerrigan Byrne
Medieval Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
Published in 2013

H/h - Rory MacKay, Laird of Mackays/Katriona Lammond
Setting: Medieval Scotland.

Read in Mar, 2013
My rating:

                                                 [spoiler alert]

I’ve been really anticipating the new Highland Historical installment from Kerrigan Byrne ever since I read the first 3 books, which were awesome in one word. I loved them all, but sadly, Released didn’t really hold my attentions with the same intensity. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good read and Kerrigan’s writing is as wonderful as ever. Personally I think she’s way better than many authors I’ve read but storywise I wasn’t really moved by this one.

Released is Rory Mackay’s story. I didn’t know he’d have a story of his own, mainly because we had no clue to that in Unwanted. We were left to imagine who might be getting the next book. Rory’s father and evil twin brother were the villains of the previous installments. Other than that and some mentions of the MacLauchlan brothers, Released isn’t really connected to the rest of the books.

Rory was born to a cruel father, and grew up with a deviant older twin. We don’t see a lot of background here, but bits from Rory’s musing. Both their father and Rory’s twin, Angus were plain horrible. Since they’ve met their cruel ends in the other books, Rory is now laird of the Mackays. But his sad luck, his clan is suffering from the want of food, money and any other kind of securities a clan should have. Rory is worried because he is rather a different breed than his sire or brother. With all his heart, he wants his clan to prosper, which had him thinking of marrying a lowlander lord’s only daughter. Even though he has no love for the lowlanders, money is something this lord can provide him with. A deal of sort has already been struck between them earlier.

Then there was the recent banshee problem in the village. But Rory didn’t know that he’s the target of one of them. Our heroine, Katriona is... um, dead, and now a banshee. A creature of Fey, thanks to their mother. And with that, starts my confusion galore! lol The story back and forth, flashback and at present confused the hell out of me. All I could gather was that Katriona has two other sisters, youngest Kamdyn and middle sister, Kylah. They and their mother were the washerwomen of the clan. Kylah’s beauty came to Angus’s notice and he wanted to have her. And he either would have what he wants or destroy it. Since his marriage proposal was turned down, Angus turned violent. He raped Kylah in front of their mother. Katriona and Kamdyn were out at that time but when they return on that fateful day, together they were burned alive. A very torturous and painful death no doubt. Their back story made me sad. Katriona’s mother somehow remained alive, and struck a deal with Cliodnah to let her daughters be banshees so that they can exact revenge by taking 3 lives, each for one; Rory’s father, Angus and Rory himself. 

Katriona’s target is Rory. She knows that it’d be easy. One banshee scream and he’ll be hearing his death warrant. But easier said than done when, in Rory’s chamber where she was waiting, Katriona fails. Rory doesn’t die, though he hears her alright! In fact, Katriona finds out that she can actually touch him. Ummm..... ok. Back to their mother, when Cliodnah comes to see them, she explains either Rory is a deity or he is An Dìoladh or the returned (from the dead). But no matter, Katriona will have her revenge! Next time it is revealed, as Katriona asks Rory about it, that he indeed is An Dìoladh. Something happened when he was young... Now this poses a big problem. Unless they can claim souls, the sisters are in trouble with Cliodnah. All three are worried that there are no souls to be claimed now, not the ones they targeted anyway.

In between, when Rory sees Katriona again, he’s overcome with emotions. Then we learn that he has been secretly in love with her ever since he met her, but it never really went anywhere. I’m not sure why. It’s been a while before they were killed, so how is it that Rory never took any chance to tell her that he loved her? Katriona was also attracted to Rory, but she was never considered the beauty of the family, and so, she never thought a gorgeous specimen like Rory would ever be interested in her. Then again, the way his father and brother were, it was better for Katriona to keep distance from them.

For all the good it did.

At present, Rory’s intended arrives soon enough with her father. She’s a lady and very beautiful. Rory is attracted to her as a man should be. But in his heart, he wants Katriona still, not knowing what to do. They even somehow managed to have sex earlier (which was sort of odd for me to read, banshee and human sex... :-s) and managed to talk about their feelings. It was way too fast and I could question a lot if things in this ‘relationship’. Then, some weird, and sometimes harmful, things happen and Rory accuses Katriona and her banshee sisters for everything. He even brings in a scary looking druid to get rid of them but the druid refuses (seeing Kylah hovering nearby... I could just feel the vibes between them! Ooh lala.)

On her part, Katriona was falling for Rory again, especially knowing he’s the one who’s been taking care of their mother by sending her food, medication etc. But I couldn’t see just how, someone, who had this deadly vengeance in her heart (or whatever was there in the place of her heart), could flip so easily, in the span of a few pages. She’s not supposed to feel anything and yet, we soon find both expressing their ILUs before the day Rory was to be married and having sex all night. Sorry to say but I kind of lost my interest by then.

There were lots of confusing moments (maybe just me, don’t know). Even though Rory was sweet, I really couldn’t connect with Katriona, she being dead and all. Things were happening very fast for me to believe in them. There wasn’t any sexy berserker action like the earlier installments (and I wasn’t expecting any), even then, the lack of real action was palpable throughout the book.

But what really bugged me was the ultimate solution. A big NO NO. I mean how can Katriona and Rory not be bothered by it????? HOW??? I can’t even imagine! 3.25 stars. I just hope Kylah and the Druid’s book is sexier and there are no such weirdo solutions for them. Also looking forward to Kamdyn’s book. Hmm, who would she be paired with? Would it be Rory’s good friend and right-hand man, Lorne? Guess I just have to wait to find out!


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