Darkest Highlander (Dark Sword Series #6)

Darkest Highlander - Donna Grant Well... unfortunately, this book totally jumps the shark, which is tough to do in the fantasy-paranormal-Druid genre.This 6th book is about Broc and Sonya - finally! Except that most of the book is Broc & Sonya, Deirdre, some Malcom, and some Phelan. We barely see the Castle MacLeod folks at all, and once again, when we do, they're such background and say and do such obvious things that they might as well not have been in the book at all.Sonya left Castle MacLeod because she thought she lost her magic, which is primarily healing. She barely healed the little boy injured in the big battle and she couldn't heal Reaghan. Then she saw her sister, Anice, dead with many other Druids from her village, AND she saw Broc hugging Anice and acting as if she were his soulmate; he was bellowing and demanded that Sonya heal Anice. But Anice was already dead.So Sonya left and wandered outside Isla's magic protection circle all by herself. No food, no water, no clothes, no provisions... yeah, she left in a hurry and quite a state. And she's too stubborn to go back. So when we see her, she's battered and being chased by a mean, hungry wolf. Who comes to her rescue but... Broc! These two have had an obvious thing since Broc first came to Castle MacLeod, and I'm not talking about when he came for good; we got a glimpse of their story when it was mentioned that Broc rescued Anice and Sonya (twins, but not identical) and relocated them to a Druid village. We also got the idea that Broc and Anice had an affair... but why? If Broc was so enamored of Sonya, why did he sleep with Anice? *Then* we learn in this book that Anice wasn't quite "right"; so Broc took advantage of Anice. And he's not supposed to be a villain? Hmmmm....So Broc takes Sonya to a village and checks in as husband and wife. Through the innkeeper's wife's eyes, Sonya realizes that Broc is originally from noble stock; which is later confirmed, as Sonya finds out Broc's father was laird of his clan, and Broc was next in line. We also discover that Broc has lots of coin hidden around Scotland in places where supposedly only he can get to. He uses plenty of it in this book.When wyrran come to the village, Broc assumes they're after Sonya, even though she adamantly tells Broc that her magic is gone; but Broc can still sense her magic, and he's afraid that the wyrran are there to take Sonya (a Druid) to Deirdre. Broc lures the wyrran away from the village, only to discover that they weren't after Sonya, they were after him. Sonya doesn't stay put like she's supposed to, she follows the wyrran and sees them take Broc. She also sees Dunmore. And now we get to the "jump the shark" bit... I realize for a fantasy, paranormal, Druid, Warrior tale that it's tough to jump the shark. But this book does: Sonya follows Dunmore and the wyrran back to Deirdre's mountain, undetected, AND she manages to enter the mountain, AND she manages to save Broc. Yep. Now to be fair, she uses Dunmore to do it (and manages to get him killed in the process - yay!), and Broc manages to hold off Deirdre. But still. Oh yeah, and Broc manages to mumble back Deirdre's spell to her - the one that unlocks his magic chains. Uh huh - jumping the shark for you yet? But there's more! You see, when the wyrran captured Broc, Dunmore poured blood from The Demon's Kiss all over Broc, so he shouldn't have healed, right? In fact, Broc had a hard time fighting the drough blood... but somehow, after leaving Deirdre's mountain, Broc is fine. No trace of lingering affects or damage from The Demon's Kiss. In the past, we've seen Lorena have to have Warrior blood - and lots of it - to heal. But not Broc. And unless I missed something, it wasn't even Sonya's returning magic that healed him.While Deirdre was torturing Broc, he tricked her into delivering a villain's monologue - you know, where the villain basically spills his or her entire evil plan and gives away lots of details because, hey, the listener won't be able to defeat the villain! Broc finds out that Deirdre thinks he's the only one who can get inside an ancient Celtic tomb and get another artifact. So when Broc and Sonya flee the mountain, they head off to find the tomb. AND of course, they finally give in to their raging passion... and of course, we have lots of confessions and secrets about their growing up and many of the things that plague Broc, such as his believing that there's a curse on him that kills any female he takes an interest in. And of course, they waste a lot of time looking for the tomb when they could have flown back to Castle MacLeod and gotten help. But no. Of course they find the tomb just before Deirdre, and Broc manages to decimate the stone tablet that points to the artifact being somewhere else. And of course it takes both Broc and Sonya to enter the tomb. And of course Broc is captured by Deirdre, leaving Sonya sealed inside the tomb. The only surprise is that Phelan has seen Sonya and Broc, and because he's seen their "love", he uses his powers to confuse Deirdre and the wyrran into believing that there are many Warriors fighting for Broc, and Broc manages to fly back to Castle MacLeod - finally!So using Gaelen's power of thought transfer, Fallon, Gaelen, and Broc jump inside the tomb and grab Sonya. Except she's trying to tell them something important about the sword she's discovered; she wants them to look at it. But it's too late, they've already jumped back. Sonya does have an amulet that was around the dead Celt's neck, something that points to a summer equinox, when the day and night are equal in length. And all the stuff you'd expect to happen at the castle does. Sonya and Broc avoid one another. Everyone gossips about them. Marcail still hasn't had that baby. And so on.Meanwhile, Malcom left Castle MacLeod, too. And Deirdre finds him and unleashes his god, because of course, Malcom has the god from the Monroe clan inside him. (Lorena always suspected.) It seems that to regain the use of his damaged right arm, damaged by Deirdre's Warriors, Malcom is willing to go to the Deirdre side. Hmmm.... Deirdre decides that he's the perfect Warrior to lead her new army of Warriors that she intends to amass and fight against those in Castle MacLeod. Since many of her Warriors were killed when her mountain was destroyed and it was assumed she was dead, Deirdre knows that she only needs to venture out to those clans and unleash the god in the next fiercest Warrior of that clan. (The god moves to the next in the bloodline.) And Deirdre thinks that Warriors with no experience or knowledge of how to tamp down their gods will willingly work for her; if not, she'll kill them and resurrect them to make their god stronger and the god's evil take over until she gets her way. Hmmm...Deirdre even boldly goes to Castle MacLeod to deliver a message, which she does - to Sonya, who's never seen her before. Sonya had to go "hear the trees", so she had to step outside Isla's magic circle of protection; Broc, of course, went after her, and they ended up naked and making love - yep, outside the circle. Smart, huh? So Deirdre tells Sonya that they're all marked. That's it.When Logan and Duncan venture out in search of the 2nd artifact, Deirdre and Malcom catch up to them. Deirdre wastes no time in commanding her new Warriors to kill Duncan, which they do. But suddenly, Deirdre is shimmering and ... she disappears. Logan knows that even greater drough magic is at work, but whose? Logan takes Duncan's body back to Castle MacLeod to face an irate Ian, who already sensed Duncan's death and is irate - so much so that most of Castle MacLeod's Warriors have to hold him down while the Druids cast a spell of sleep over him. Except suddenly, Ian starts shimmering, and Logan yells at everyone to stand back. Sure enough, Ian disappears.And then we discover that someone from the supposed "present" time (400 years past the early 1600s, which makes it approx. 2003) has brought Deirdre forward in time. He thinks that he's all powerful and will use Deirdre to help him rule the world. Why he needed Ian, I don't know. But in the teaser for the next book (not yet published), it seems that now the mission to stop Deirdre will take place in the future. What about Castle MacLeod? Why did we have to jump into the present time? And if this was going to happen, why not make it pre-9/11/2001, so this villain can take credit for the awful event?I've already spent waaaaay too much money and time on this series. I think it's time to throw in the towel, which is tough for me since I have this need to complete things I start - even bad series. Sorry, but I think I'm finally done.