The publisher got Arthur to write a five page epilogue to append to the end of this book to try and make it seem like the re-issuing of the first threThe publisher got Arthur to write a five page epilogue to append to the end of this book to try and make it seem like the re-issuing of the first three book of this unfinished series wasn't a terrible idea. It's a big load of... It was a promising series that was never finished and ends abruptly. Adding a few pages that try to make it seem like there's suddenly a guaranteed happy ending in store for the couple that was refreshingly taking a slow path toward a relationship just doesn't solve the problem or make it worth buying these books. Although the biggest questions about Sam's past are answered, it's still right in the middle of all of the mysteries and battled and anyone who enjoys reading a series is just going to be super annoyed if they start these books. It's a shame but there it is....more
You know how sometimes you read a book, maybe an urban fantasy book, and even though you kind of like it, it also annoys you because there are thingsYou know how sometimes you read a book, maybe an urban fantasy book, and even though you kind of like it, it also annoys you because there are things that feel really derivative or forced or like the author is checking "things that need to be in a popular urban fantasy book" off of a list? This wasn't like that. It could easily have been. There isn't any big original idea. It's even extremely similar to the author's Riley Jensen books in many ways. But half way through I found myself wondering why this one works and others don't. I don't know the answer other than it felt easy and effortless. Maybe she just didn't try to over complicate the premise. It's a pretty basic paranormal set-up. She added shapechangers to shapeshifters and changed the definitions a little, created a couple of new kinds of paranormal people to spice things up. But the intrigue is in the characters and Arthur writes good characters. Sam is one that most people would be hard pressed not to like, she's not a smart-ass, she's a stubborn, brave cop. She doesn't look like Gwen on Torchwood, but that's who she reminds me of. Nothing will stop her from getting to the truth, no matter how weird or scary it is. Especially when someone she loves is at risk.
Unfortunately, I just looked at someone else's review and saw that this isn't a trilogy, as it appeared because the books were re-released not that long ago, but it was three books at the beginning of a series that was never completed because she was contracted to start the Riley Jensen series and wasn't able to work on these anymore. Why in the world the publishers re-released the beginning of an uncompleted series I don't know, but I have no interest in getting even more immersed in characters and a world and then being left even more frustrated at the end when it gets abandoned. I have the next two books from the library and I'll flip through them to try and get some of my questions answered, but I can't recommend anyone try this book or this series because of this situation. It's a shame....more
Mostly it was a good book, the writing flowed well, the characters felt real and I liked the main character. But. I felt like the author and I had a dMostly it was a good book, the writing flowed well, the characters felt real and I liked the main character. But. I felt like the author and I had a disconnect about some basic ideas about what makes a story work or she just was so caught up in what she was writing that she wasn't able to step back and see some flaws in the characterization. Because it came across too much like an '80s Romancing the Stone kind of thing with the hero sweeping in and rescuing the dame at the last second, which it shouldn't have since the woman WAS the hero.
The very first thing that happened was that Owl told me how stupid she is. She was driving on a bad desert highway with lots of potholes and she had to grab for her water bottle before it got knocked over and spilled on her laptop keyboard. Oops! Too late. Well why wasn't the laptop somewhere else or the cap on the water bottle? In a similar situation with valuable things in the front seat I've screwed the cap on and off every time I've wanted a drink. It wasn't a promising opening for my new heroine.
I like reading about UF heroines who aren't superheroes. They don't have sudden powers that make them invincible, they don't solve all of the problems instantly while all of the much more experienced people stand around and gratefully thank them for their amazing leadership. Normal women fighting to survive or figure things out or solve the mystery or whatever. But they don't have to be too rough and completely awkward too, the pendulum can go too far. I liked that this woman was smart and brave but she had no social skills at all and she was the first one to tell me, over and over again. But somehow she loved labels and knew all about them, Miss Chanel and Ralph Lauren and yet she claimed she never knew what to wear. She didn't know about make-up or hair but she goes on and on about details about them. She didn't have conversational skills, as proven by her interactions with Rynn. It didn't make any sense. She wasn't a geek but she was supposedly a mess socially despite being in her late twenties. She's just felt too old to be as dumb and awkward as she claimed to be. She's a world traveller. And her voice in the book doesn't match someone as socially awkward as the character comes across sometimes or claims to be.
And it really bugged me how everyone kept saying that Owl was so great at being a thief because of or despite being so reckless and headstrong. I just don't get it. She's only been a thief for two years, how great could she be? A handful of jobs, how much experience could she really have, how great could she be at walking silently (an example she used at one point in the book) or knowledgable about the best equipment for climbing that everyone else somehow doesn't know about or everything else that somehow makes her such an amazing expert just a few short years after setting off on this new life of crime? And that's even without making a LOT of really bad decisions that should get her killed if she wasn't the protagonist of a novel. Two years is not a big thieving career that would make her world famous, or infamous, except maybe in archeology circles. And it certainly wouldn't make her the big expert at anything.
But my biggest issue is that even though she is headstrong, and makes some bad decisions, she is still the hero of the book and she shouldn't have to be saved at the last minute every time by the guy! She fights her ass off and right as she's about to lose after a pitched battle he shows up to save the day. And of course he's furious at her for being so stupid as to rush off into danger and make it necessary for him to have to come save her. Screw that! What year is this anyway? This trope should have been retired decades ago. "Every other instance I've let you make your own choice, even when I knew you were in over your head. I can't let you stumble through and learn for yourself this time." Let her?! Stumble through? Most of the time she kicks ass and takes numbers. She's smart, competent, bold and brave, thinks on her feet and makes good fast good decisions in a crisis that save her life over and over again, she never gets credit for any of that, only criticism for her smart mouth and possibly bad decisions, some of which were debatable. I'm not convinced that this guy isn't an ass and not hero material, at least the way he's being written. He claims he likes her for all of the right reasons, but he doesn't demonstrate it when it actually matters. I'd say that maybe Owl's defensiveness and fears were justified, but the problem is probably bad and inconsistent writing an not a character flaw.
And we need a drinking game for every time Owl kicked someone in the crotch. They don't have to be human. This happened way too many times to be cute, tooooo many, not funny, especially the last time. She needs some new offensive moves.
I love the idea of a flawed character. Having her be some balance of headstrong and rushing into things and making mistakes and quick to act and fast on her feet and making good decisions can make for a good character. And having her learn and grow over the course of a series is good too. I don't want I read about some perfect Mary Sue for sure, I like a flawed hero. But her friends were so down on her all of the time for her bad decisions without ever acknowledging her good ones, really feeding into what felt like a sense of insecurity from her. Wonder why she's so afraid to trust anyone? Maybe it's because everyone is so mean to her all of the time. Forget the vamps, the people who care about her are cruel enough. There are just a lot of underlying things from the author that I don't think she intended to be issues that really bugged me. There was a fundamental lack of respect for Owl's character, who can't save herself from all of the trouble she stupidly causes for herself by her terrible decision making and then she has to be rescued over and over by men or the hated supernaturals. That's an unkind, extremely incomplete and extremely lacking summary of the book, but accurate in some ways. I want to read about women who can save themselves, who can save men, about men are willing to be saved as much as they're willing to do the saving, about people who all screw up sometimes, who all take responsibility for it and grow from it. The first book in a series about a flawed hero, sure she's going to be a bit rougher around the edges, that's fine. She can screw up a lot, rush in where she shouldn't, not answer her phone or listen to her friends when they're trying to tell her something urgent because she's too busy feeling pissy or whatever. But she should also get credit for the good stuff that she did, she isn't just a punching bag. If the author wants me to believe that she's really some super thief, and what do I know, maybe five years of grad school in archeology is great training for being a thief, at least for most of her jobs stealing from sites. She still seems way too young and inexperienced to be the big master thief and boogeyman of the art world the book is trying to make her out to be, but whatever.
But if Charrish wants me to think she's hot stuff then she has to let her get things right a little more. It's fine for your best friend to tease you or give you a hard time, but some respect would be good too. She fought those vampires and held her own, got her mask on, shone the UV lights at them, tied them up and got away, good for her! Most people would panic, flounder and go under. She survived. And survived again and again and again. With and without Captain the super cat. Awesome cat. Hero cat. Maybe the best cat in books. The author says in her bio that she writes stories about strong, savvy female protagonists and I think she's on the right track with Owl. If she just wouldn't undermine her so much. Let her make mistakes, just don't turn her into a perpetual screw up that always needs to be saved. ...more
Probably more of a 3.5 on the strength of the writing. It has a lot of familiar elements and I'm not entirely convinced at the originality of the remiProbably more of a 3.5 on the strength of the writing. It has a lot of familiar elements and I'm not entirely convinced at the originality of the remix. Certain aspects start to get really familiar when you read a lot of urban fantasy when it comes to books featuring Heaven and Hell and angels and demons. And in the end the book felt like a drawn out prequel for the series more than a book that stands entirely on it's own. I don't know. I liked Ava's mix of tough and vulnerable. Though her mood swings were pretty extreme, this was the first time she'd faced up to a lot of things she'd been suppressing from her past in a long time and opened up to any emotions at all in many years, so it did make sense. I'm wasn't too sure about Leo, but I don't think we were supposed to be too sure about him. I don't mind having characters who are more interesting than they are easy to peg. I think Kittredge captured something quite horrifying in Ava's situation, with the idea of being caught in a situation that you just can't escape in any way, even in death, that concept does frighten me whenever it's explored. Overall the positives definitely outweighed my small hesitations and I'm looking forward to the next book....more
Maybe even 3.5 stars. It didn't have as much of the things that tend to annoy me, and I've gotten better at skimming over them too. There were a few "Maybe even 3.5 stars. It didn't have as much of the things that tend to annoy me, and I've gotten better at skimming over them too. There were a few "Super-Merit" things that bugged me, like when the 400 year old vampire told the woman who's been a vampire and a soldier for a year that she was a better fighter than him, so absurd. Super-Merit-Sue! But this book even more than any other in a long while was grounded in strong relationships and as a fan who's stuck it out and read the entire series it was rewarding to see those relationships play out. It's really enjoyable to (finally) see a successful romantic relationship between Merit and Ethan, no more will-they-or-won't-they games and silly excuses to keep them apart book after book. It's great to see the warmth between Merit and Mallory re-establishing itself. Jeff, Catcher and Grandpa Chuck all have relationships with Merit and Ethan that resonate and ring true. The friendships in the House feel real and true, banter and worry and warmth of long relationships and new friendships. Supporting characters like Helen, Lindsay and Luc, and chef Margot add even more to the feeling that if I drove to Chicago I could very well find all of these people living there and that I might somehow have just missed the news about all of these crazy happenings, because these people all seem so real that these books could very well be true. In addition, a lot of the story elements in this book revolved around emotions that were easy to relate to. Ethan felt frightened and betrayed. Balthazar was greedy and egotistical. Morgan was a huge ball of emotions. Merit felt really vulnerable and violated because of something that happened to her. And all of those emotions were sort of a bridge between the human and vampire worlds, reminding me that they're still people, not just Masters or a hero/Sentinels like Merit is. I don't know how it feels to be cocky and confident, I do know how it feels to be scared and vulnerable, I can relate to that. And then the big scene after the end of the party close to the end of the book when the whole group was together was very nicely done, it pulled the various groups of people all together and really highlighted the positive, warm, emotional elements of friendship, love and humor without going overboard, it felt like the it showed off the series at its best. Grounding the wild fantastic elements so strongly in real and true emotional elements that anyone can recognize and relate to, with a big dash of humor, is what made me fall for this series in the beginning and this book felt truer to those roots than any in a while....more
It was less annoying than any recent story in the series until Super-Merit solved the more than century old unsolved mystery in less than an hour. HerIt was less annoying than any recent story in the series until Super-Merit solved the more than century old unsolved mystery in less than an hour. Her unwarranted fighting skills after a year of being a vampire make me nuts but her detective abilities were just silly. (view spoiler)[Nothing disintegrated, really? After more than a century in a hole in an area with tons of moisture the clothes and paper were fine? What did I miss? Seriously, I'm too tired to re-read it so please explain it to me because it must explain how that makes sense and I just missed it. (hide spoiler)] But despite ridiculous Mary Sue Merit the Perfect having all of the good ideas and insights everyone else just bumbling along, it was still a pretty good story because of the new elements allowed by the new setting. Travel stories don't always work well (as I noted in another review tonight) but I liked the way this one allowed some fresh perspectives on the vampire/shifter dynamic and brought in a view of the big picture outside of Chicago. I'd be interested in reading stories about characters outside of Merit and Chicago entirely. Obviously Gabriel and the Pack are fan favorites and have been featured in many of the novels and several of the short stories as well. This is the second story that has featured Gabe's number two, Damien, and I'd be happy to see him star in more short stories or in books of his own. Even though I'm ready for this series to end, I still feel like this world has room for a lot of interesting characters and stories. I wouldn't get so irritated if it didn't feel like there was so much potential....more
Any book or series that makes me really like mice has something special going for it. They're probably better in small doses or I'd be agitating for aAny book or series that makes me really like mice has something special going for it. They're probably better in small doses or I'd be agitating for a co-staring role in the next book as opposed to the minor/supporting roles they've had so far. And the rest of the book was good too. The "travel" book in a series is often a bit weak, but in this case it gave the author a whole new deadly and beautiful continent full of creatures to explore. She didn't even scratch the surface of her imagination, of course, but I found the new setting refreshing. And it worked for a series that's somewhat in the PNR mode of new stories each book, or every other book, anyway, continuity isn't as big a deal. The first two books were about the second sister, Verity, the third and this one are about the oldest sibling, the brother, Alex, and you can catch a couple of short stories in anthologies about their younger sister, Antimony, as well....more