Review: First To Burn by Anna Richland

Posted March 21, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 18 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: First To Burn by Anna Richland
First to Burn

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: #1 Immortal Vikings
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Carina Press
Released on January 27, 2014
Pages: 297
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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A Viking Immortal…and yeah, that was all I needed to read before I was sold on reading this one.  Okay, yes, I noticed that he is now a Special Forces warrior fighting in Afghanistan while he tries to duck the persistent lady doctor who notices his healing abilities and wants answers.  But there is also the hidden enemies that hunt them both making this not just an interesting paranormal romance, but a thriller too.  It’s passionate, brutal and exciting and leaves me eager for more from this author and this series.

Wulf Wardsen, Viking warrior who fought alongside the legendary Beowulf, now hides his identity doing what he does best.  He has made a family of the guys in his unit and they protect his secret, but all that goes on the line when by the book Captain Theresa Chiesa refuses to give up on finding answers about him.  At the same time, the both of them fight an attraction toward each other.  Theresa has a life plan that doesn’t involve getting in trouble fraternizing with the enlisteds and Wulf knows not to get close to anyone because he always loses them when he lives on after they die.

Eventually, Theresa stumbles across irrefutable proof that his body heals mortal wounds and he has to figure out how to keep her from running with this information at the same time his unit is tagged for a mission to figure out what is being smuggled through army transportation and who is doing it.  An old enemy arises when Wulf gets too close to answers putting him and Theresa on the run and the danger just keep pursuing them hard taking all Wulf’s skill just to keep them alive.

This story felt almost like it was two stories.  There is the first half when the setting is the base and army operations in Afghanistan and the thriller stuff in Italy that all has more a contemporary feel then there is the latter half when the paranormal Immortal Viking stuff comes more into play along with more thriller stuff.  I enjoyed both halves of the plot, but it also made the story stretch out long.  This is not a bad thing necessarily, but I admit there were a couple of times when I thought it was wrapping up and then another curve was thrown and then another extending the story each time.  I’m struggling to explain.  I didn’t hate the plot or feel like it dragged so maybe it could have been two books?  I don’t know.  Let’s just say the reader will definitely get a lot of bang for their buck.

As to background, I give kudos for the authentic feel to the military and medical aspect and the author did some good research into the Beowulf saga to bring that into play.  I loved the refreshing offering this one is to the paranormal genre.  There was definitely room for more to come out and be introduced with further stories in the series.  The hunt for the Viking artifacts, other Viking Immortals and the test labs definitely leave room for more.

The characters were well written.  Wulf was a nice job of imagining what a Viking would be like if he survived all those centuries and existed in the modern age.  I could totally see him as a Special Forces guy who was lonely for human companionship, but afraid to reach out to it because of his secret and because everyone around him is mortal.  It was nice to see that he hadn’t lost the feel of what it was to be mortal because he still wants to be among people and do what he can to help them.  His longing for Theresa even though she acted like a prickly pear much of the time was almost cute and funny.  Only a former Viking would see that woman as adorable.

Theresa was a hard gal for me to accept and not because she was independent and tough.  She’s a dedicated doctor and won’t take her rich step-dad’s handouts.  Those things I admired in her actually.  It was her constant need to argue and lash out at the dumbest moments that got my eyes rolling and my foot twitching to boot her in the rump.  Here, she has a special forces guy beside her and a bunch of unsavory types on their tail and she has to jump in and stop them for a bit of arguing.  After a while her argumentative nature and need to prove herself just got old.  She lashes out at Wulf about lying when she had her own pretty big secrets.  She doesn’t tend to give the poor guy the benefit of the doubt even though he saves her butt several times.  And I know that in a way, it was probably all supposed to be funny and it is a little.  She was definitely strong-willed enough to grab the attention of a Viking and keep him from steamrolling her with his forceful personality.  I’ll definitely give her that.  Her quirks are only part of who she is and there are the admirable traits too.

Their romance took a while to develop mostly because their situation didn’t allow for much fraternization time, but the build up of tension and removal of barriers had me as impatient as Wulf and Theresa for them to get their chance.  Loved that final scene in the book that had me smiling from ear to ear.  After all they had gone through and knowing their personalities, it was perfect.

In the end, I was left impressed with this big opener to a new series and the creative new paranormal world the author wrote.  If Immortal Vikings, military heroes, strong heroines, thrilling chases, passionate love scenes and evil villains do it for you then you should grab this one up.

My thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

Oh yeah this is going on my must read list. He sounds…fantastic! Been a while since I read a Viking and Special Forces on top of that? Yep that’s definitely calling to all of the girly parts of me. lol

Glad that even with some aaahhhhs over the heroine it was such a great read. I’m with you on that personality trait. I get it some but after a while you just want to give em a good shake.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, this one is a niche read. It spreads across a few genre types and has some unique features. Yes, Theresa was an argumentative sort. Wulf had tons more patience with her than I would have. It was sort of funny b/c it was almost expected that she’d open her mouth every time they encountered something new or he said something, but yeah…enough is enough. At some point, he should have earned a bit of trust. I sound down on the book, but really I liked it and will be going back for more when the next book comes out.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

Nah I can totally tell you enjoyed the book and get what you’re saying about her. I think most of us have run into heroines like that now and again. And the heroes with the patience of a saint who deal with them. Heh. I have this marked on my wishlist so next shopping spree…it’s mine!

Guest
Guest
Guest

Hmmm, I wonder whether Mr. Richland should read your reviews as a sort of support group for those super-patient heroes with argumentative heroines … perhaps he would have an insight to contribute! (Although he knew going in that he was marrying a lawyer). Seriously, thank you for the kind comments! The next book is a spin off novella about Cruz, one of Wolf’s teammates, and the heroine is a bit shy and has to learn to speak up, so it’s very different, and I’m also working on the sequel featuring another Immortal Viking – Steig, the immortal thief. I’m so… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

Hmmm, I wonder whether Mr. Richland should read your reviews as a sort of support group for those super-patient heroes with argumentative heroines … perhaps he would have an insight to contribute! (Although he knew going in that he was marrying a lawyer). Seriously, thank you for the kind comments! The next book is a spin off novella about Cruz, one of Wolf’s teammates, and the heroine is a bit shy and has to learn to speak up, so it’s very different, and I’m also working on the sequel featuring another Immortal Viking – Steig, the immortal thief. I’m so… Read more »

Anna Richland Author
Guest

Hmmm, I wonder whether Mr. Richland should read your reviews as a sort of support group for those super-patient heroes with argumentative heroines … perhaps he would have an insight to contribute! (Although he knew going in that he was marrying a lawyer). Seriously, thank you for the kind comments! The next book is a spin off novella about Cruz, one of Wolf’s teammates, and the heroine is a bit shy and has to learn to speak up, so it’s very different, and I’m also working on the sequel featuring another Immortal Viking – Steig, the immortal thief. I’m so… Read more »

Sophia Rose
Guest

Totally interested! I love where the series is going and I’ll be happy to read Cruz and Steig’s books when they come. Honestly, your heroine reminds me of my boss and dear friend of many years (not sure if this says something about her or me). My nickname for her is ‘The Philadelphia Lawyer’ b/c she makes everything a discussion. Ah yes, the support group for super-patient heroes is probably a big group. I’ve read lots of feisty heroines who like to make their point in my time. I suppose real men can join too. My guy would probably be… Read more »

Anna Richland Author
Guest

“She makes everything a discussion.” OMG! Totally saw myself there. (Scary, too!)
Now back to Steig’s book… he’s slippery and hard to pin down, which I hope means I actually have a grip on his character since he is a thief.

Sophia Rose
Guest

LOL! Well just remember, you don’t use a sharp point object to pin down Jell-O (aka Steig the thief), you use some sort of fast working freezing chemical. Looking forward to his story, Anna.

Anna Richland Author
Guest

Are you psychic? I just came up w/ a scene a couple days ago involving liquid nitrogen and the heroine’s bad uncle’s winery (used in wine bottling – when they use plastic twist caps instead of corks they inject a small amount of nitrogen gas into the top of the bottle to fill the space that used to have a cork in it, otherwise the bottle would have too much air).

Sophia Rose
Guest

Bizarre! Nope, definitely not psychic or my life wouldn’t be half so eventful. Haha!

Anna Richland Author
Guest

“She makes everything a discussion.” OMG! Totally saw myself there. (Scary, too!)
Now back to Steig’s book… he’s slippery and hard to pin down, which I hope means I actually have a grip on his character since he is a thief.

Sophia Rose
Guest

LOL! Well just remember, you don’t use a sharp point object to pin down Jell-O (aka Steig the thief), you use some sort of fast working freezing chemical. Looking forward to his story, Anna.

Anna Richland Author
Guest

Hmmm, I wonder whether Mr. Richland should read your reviews as a sort of support group for those super-patient heroes with argumentative heroines … perhaps he would have an insight to contribute! (Although he knew going in that he was marrying a lawyer). Seriously, thank you for the kind comments! The next book is a spin off novella about Cruz, one of Wolf’s teammates, and the heroine is a bit shy and has to learn to speak up, so it’s very different, and I’m also working on the sequel featuring another Immortal Viking – Steig, the immortal thief. I’m so… Read more »

Anna Richland Author
Guest

Oops! The reply below was really for Sophia Rose! Realize you haven’t read it yet! Sorry…

Sophia Rose
Guest

Got it figured out, no sweat! 😉 Thanks for stopping by to read my review!

Anna Richland Author
Guest

Oops! The reply below was really for Sophia Rose! Realize you haven’t read it yet! Sorry…

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[…] “That final scene in the book [had] me smiling from ear to ear. After all they had gone through and knowing their personalities, it was perfect … I was left impressed with this big opener to a new series and the creative new paranormal world.” From Sophia Rose at Delighted Reader […]