I read Exiled, the first book in MR Merrick’s The Protector Series, and was totally blown away by his writing style and world building talent. As soon as I found out that the 2nd book in the series was coming out I began to leave subtle Twitter hints MR Merrick’s way. When that didn’t work I resorted to begging, which ironically, worked. ;) (Actually, all I really had to do was ask – who knew?) How I got my hands on Shift is beside the point, the important part is that this is one sequel that lives up to the first book in a series.Shift takes up pretty much where Exiled leaves off. (Now would probably be a good time to let you know if you haven’t read the first book, you might find spoilers in this review. Consider yourself warned and go download Exiled at Amazon- now!) Everyone is still recovering from the trauma that unfolded at the end of Exiled, especially Chase. No one came away from the last book unscathed, but Chase’s life was changed more drastically than anyone’s. Getting beyond hiding that pain from everyone around him is a big part of his character development in Shift. Although I wanted to shake Chase and scream at MR Merrick a couple of times while I was reading Shift (I actually may have done that second one – whoops ;) ) it was necessary and important, still painful to experience through his character, but inevitable for him to have to go through.The other characters in Shift don’t escape their own personal torture either. Rayna is fighting her own personal battle and lovable, stuttering Willy is also subject to his own brand of character development. How each of these characters handle the situations they are dealt is what keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. That being said, to say that Shift is full of action is an understatement. I’ve discovered through these two books that MR Merrick likes to start books off with a bang. From the first chapter on there are slight lulls in the action, but the characters are never given much of a break. You just know that around the next corner, shortly after Marcus leaves or when Rayna and Chase are …. well, you’ll have to read Shift to find out the rest.Aside from all the action, The Protector Series is about loyalty, family and friendship. The development of the relationship between all of these characters is amazing to read and not just the relationship between Rayna and Chase. These characters all grow and become totally different people by the end of the book. It’s not forced. They make mistakes along the way and they learn from them. In short, the formula that MR Merrick has used to create this series works.In Shift we meet new characters that are sure to play even bigger roles in the next books. New types of paranormals as well as unique worlds are introduced and even though Chase learns more about the power he has gained, there is still a lot of mystery behind it all that needs to be solved. That’s a good thing because I am no where near done wanting to experience more of this series. So when does the next book in The Protector Series come out?Shift will be available on February 1, 2012.