Cry of the Icemark was a stirring military fantasy adventure. The author really took the time to bring the cultures of this novel to life. I could seeCry of the Icemark was a stirring military fantasy adventure. The author really took the time to bring the cultures of this novel to life. I could see that Icemark people seemed to be modelled after the Scandinavians, while Thyrrin's mother's peoples, the Hypollitan must have been based on the Amazons. And the Polipontans seemed to be like the Roman Empire. The battle scenes were fantastic--thrilling and very well-written. I got the impression that Mr. Hill took these elements very seriously and worked hard to get this part right and make it feel realistic. And I appreciated that, and I am sure that his younger readers probably do as well. Although not excessively gory, I felt all the inherent threat and bloody nature of battle. The element of loss is very evident in this story, and I definitely could appreciate the horrible odds that Thyrrin's people faced with an enormous invading force pitted against their smaller country. However, the Icemark people quickly proved that they wouldn't easily be conquered. Along with their fierce nature, there were elements of their rich sense of family and tradition, many aspects that would have been destroyed or wiped away by the Polipontans, who cared nothing for other cultures, only the assimilation of their lands and raw resources.
Thyrrin is a young heroine that I just loved. She was born to be a queen, and she showed a multi-facetedness to her character that brought her to vivid life. She's very strong and the kind of leader you want to have when you are facing a mammoth invading force who wants to wipe your people off the face of the earth. On the other hand, it's clear that she is very young and still learning a lot about leadership, courage, and humanity. I really wanted to give her a hug for all that she dealt with in this novel. I loved her friend, Oskan, Witch's Son too. He had a mystique, and a wisdom that was much greater than his young years. I also loved his wry sense of humor and the fact that he never took himself too importantly, despite his incredible latent power. He was a good companion to Thyrrin, able to deal with her sometimes hot-headed arrogance, and to soothe her very recognizable fears with the voice of reason and comfort when she seemed like she couldn't handle one more burden. In fact, most of the characters were well-drawn and excellently narrated by Heather O'Neill. This book really got me sucked in. I found myself cheering for Thyrrin and her warriors (the Hypollitan warrior women were freaking awesome), and hating General Scipio Bellaron. I loved the werewolves and the snow leopards, both groups having a ton of personality. The vampires were nicely creepy, and the wood folk (like the Green men and nature spirits of Celtic/Norse mythology) added a sense of majestic awe to this story. This book would have great as just a straight military historical fantasy, but the supernatural elements elevated it to an even more interesting level.
There was so much to like about this story. It really got me revved up. I was excited to listen to it, and sad but satisfied when it ended. It was definitely a five star listen for this reader. I look forward to the reading the other books in this series. Recommended! ...more
**spoiler alert** Ugh I was so underwhelmed with this book. I didn't like Lexi. I thought she was so wishy-washy and not nearly as strong-minded as sh**spoiler alert** Ugh I was so underwhelmed with this book. I didn't like Lexi. I thought she was so wishy-washy and not nearly as strong-minded as she thought she was. She came off as weak to me. I don't care for the pseudo-strong heroine. In other words, she's tough and independent, but emotionally she's very immature and flightly. This kind of heroine bugs me big time. I'd rather see a quiet, gentle, but emotionally mature heroine anyday. She's much more strong to me. Poor Lexi. She didn't win this reader over at all. I think she's probably one of my least favorite werewolf heroines. She had a bit of a sleazy vibe to me (I have a low tolerance for sleazy). The way she was shedding her clothes left and right, walking around naked like no big deal. And the way she handled her sexual business really got to me. I understand that when a wolf goes into to heat, she has to have 'it', but why would you turn down a sure thing with a guy that you know is pretty decent and you're attracted to (the hero Darius), go to some group sex party and hook up with a stranger just to get your freak on with? Thankfully the stranger was Adrian. My sleazometer went to red level on that scene.
In this story, Lexi has done it with a stranger in the past more than once, and she's not particularly proud of that, but accepting at the same time, so it made her behavior even more nonsensical. In her mind, if she gave into her lust for Darius, it gave him control over her. And sleeping with a stranger is better? I don't think so!
The other thing I didn't like was the whole emphasis on sex magic. Man, there was too much of that in this book. Frankly, it was gross to me. Some of the story ideas were interesting, but the execution was lacking. It would have helped if I liked the heroine and hero. I didn't like Lexi at all, and I was indifferent towards Darius. I have to admit that I liked the action scenes and some of the magic stuff seemed very vivid. The villain was pretty creepy, too.
My other issue is the whole 'selling' of paganism. Okay, no big if that is the religion of most of the people in this book, but I don't want to read a treatise on the subject, aka Introduction to Paganism. I want to read a romance. I am consistent in this, because I don't even like preachiness in a Christian romance. Lay enough of this down to set the backdrop and move on.
After reading this second outing, and being so underwhelmed, I'm really kind of blah about continuing this series. That's a dilemma for me, because Jennifer Ashley (one of the writers in this series) is one of my favorite authors (although I don't read her erotic books because I don't like erotica). I want to see this series out, but I'm lacking the motivation. This book definitely didn't help me....more
Ilona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that storIlona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that story, one that has stayed true in the subsequent stories that I have read by this team. With On the Edge, they have continued that excellence, providing me with a novel that is multi-faceted, genre-wise and story-wise.
Although I grew up in the Midwest, my roots are Southern, and I do appreciate books set in the South that show the real ways of Southerners. In this case, I saw something very real and almost familiar in Rose, her brothers, grandmother, and friends and neighbors. I smiled when Rose threw the boys in the car and took them to Walmart. Yeah, that's real. Real people do shop there. How many times do you read a book where the characters go to Walmart to buy not the designer shoes, but the ones that look close enough to pass muster? How about a heroine who buys ground beef and adds rice and bread crumbs to stretch it? Yup, that's real alright. How about those moments when you have to stretch your paycheck and hope you have enough money left over the week to buy gas so you can get to work? I've definitely been there. And the love and ties of family, having to work hard all day and get home, take care of your family, go to bed, and get up and do it again. I think a lot of readers can identify with that. So what if Rose is magical, along with everyone in her family? That's a little more on the fantasy part of the scale. But this combination is why urban fantasy is so irresistible to me. The real and the surreal nicely entwined.
The ideas in this story strike me as very unique and different. I liked it a lot, even if some elements was pretty odd, like a reanimated grandfather who likes to eat stray dogs' brains. Or the fact that a lot folks in the Edge community can curse people, or send flashes of powerful energy out of their bodies. And then there is the shapeshifting younger brother of Rose, Jack. The other young brother is a powerful necromancer (hence the zombie granddad). And things get even more interesting when Declan shows up. Rose's powerful flash abilities have made her an asset to Blueblood families who want to integrate her genes into their family lines, one way or the other. She has become wary of men for that reason, since most of her suitors didn't ask nicely. So when too good to be true Declan shows up to claim her and take her back to the Weird, the magical lands that are adjacent to the Edge, she definitely doesn't eagerly go off with him. She makes an oath with the handsome warrior that he can have her if he succeeds in her three challenges. However, they have big problems on their hands, as there are horrible, magical hounds that are devouring Edgers for their magic. And they really want to get their hands on Rose and her family.
I loved Rose. She was a heroine that you could hang with, and that you'd be slightly in awe of, because she knows how to take care of business. She's the type that you tell to do something, and she takes about five minutes or more, and she's back and ready to get the job done. Not the heroine who is infallible and annoyingly perfect. Nope, she's the heroine that you love because she tries so hard, and she has the determination to do what is necessary. I loved Rose's commitment to her brothers, how she raised them from a young age after her mother lost her mind and her father ran off treasure-hunting. Jack and Georgie (her brothers) are adorable and genuine little boys, despite their very unusual abilities. They were sweeties and reminded me of the poem about what boys are made of (you know, snails and puppy dog tails). You could see why Rose loves them, even though being a single mom to her brothers is far from easy.
Declan was a great match for Rose. He was just as determined and capable. He might be a rich princelike guy, but he was down to earth enough that this didn't bother me. And I do like tough, warrior heroes, I won't lie. He took to the kids very quickly, and he treated them like they were his own. He even makes pancakes for them. I liked how he was as much a thinker as a doer, a problem-solver not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was a guy who made a commitment and stood by his word, no matter what. Declan was definitely a knight in shining armor, and I could see why Rose fell in love with him.
William was also adorable. I felt for him, and I will probably end up reading Bayou Moon soon to get more of him. I liked his wildness but also his goodness and how sweet he was with the kids (I am a sucker for that).
On the Edge has its dark, gruesome elements, but I'm okay with that. I like some dark in my fantasy. I loved the juxtaposition of the everyday with the fantastic and surreal. The Andrews have a great way of writing descriptively and setting the scene without overdoing things and info-dumping. I like that the narrative is spare in some places, and the character sketches give you enough to get an idea of the folks in the story, but you can still learn more as you read. There are times you have to figure things out as you go, which is what I prefer, to be honest.
Although I am sure this book wouldn't work for everyone, I had a ball reading it. I liked everything about it. The romance was great, but the fantasy elements were equally important. I'd recommend this to a reader who likes fantasy but wants to try romance, and a reader on the other side of that equation....more
Oh, my. What a book. I am going to flub writing this review very badly, I think. I just plain loved this book. This book is so gorgeous in the writingOh, my. What a book. I am going to flub writing this review very badly, I think. I just plain loved this book. This book is so gorgeous in the writing, and like poetry, but more readable than poetry, because it's prose.
Do you like reading about soulmates? Then you will like this book. Sam and Grace are soulmates. It doesn't matter that Sam is a werewolf, and that Grace is a human girl. They connected years ago, and that connection bloomed over time. You see the pure, powerful love between them, and it is the cornerstone of this book. Their interactions have a fiery intensity, a soul-deep truth (I sound so stupid, but that's the best way I can express this).
Do you like poetic, loveable, fantastic, yet tortured heroes? You will probably go gaga over Sam. I did. Oh, Sam. You are so wonderful. You could give lessons about how to love a woman.
Are you a werewolf fiction fan? Have you read this book? If the answer is no, you need to rectify that. I am not one for bandwagons. I read the books that draw my interest. And this one did, before it was even released, and I heard about it. I was not disappointed. I was waiting for a really good werewolf young adult book, and this is it. The aspects of werewolves that draw me and fascinate me are depicted here. The concept of pack is such an integral part of this book. Sam hated being a werewolf, but he loved his pack. He loved the bond and the security of it. Poor Grace had indifferent parents who barely even spent time with her. She had Sam living in her room for many days, and they didn't even know it. That's neglect. I don't care how well fed, sheltered, and clothed a child is. If that child isn't loved or nurtured by her family, that's neglect to me. So, having Sam and that bond with him felt so right. To Grace, he was her home and her family. Her pack. I loved the descriptions of the instincts of the wolf, the smell, the primal nature. It was so well done. I loved the wolf that Sam was. I loved the young man that Sam was.
I am a cold-natured person. I love being cold. Winter is my favorite season. It was very interesting how cold was the enemy to Grace and Sam. I dreaded the drop in temperature in a way I never have. In real life, I rejoice when the seasons turn to late fall, and eventually into deep winter. My favorite times of the year. Ask my family, and they will tell you I am a polar bear. I sleep with my window open when it's thirty-something degrees outside. But, reading this book, I wished it was the middle of the hot, unforgiving summer. Because cold was the adversary for Grace and Sam's love. Ms. Stiefvater depicted this beautifully.
If you're looking for major external conflict and a big smackdown between good and evil, you won't find it here. This book is focused on the love relationship between Sam and Grace. It's focused on the character development of these two, and the people in their lives.
This is a love story. Not just a boy meets girl. But, it's a love letter for werewolf fans. Highly, highly recommended for people who love werewolf fiction, and people enjoy lyrical, gorgeous prose, and stories that go deep into the heart of the reader and leave a sad kind of joy behind. Bravo....more
Kate Daniels, could you be more awesome? Nope. This book rocked my world! I loved the first book, but I loved this one even more. Kate Daniels is suchKate Daniels, could you be more awesome? Nope. This book rocked my world! I loved the first book, but I loved this one even more. Kate Daniels is such a cool heroine. She's not only kickbutt, independent, and snarky, but she's utterly likeable. She's down to earth, and one of those heroines I think a guy or a girl could get along with equally well. I like her quick thinking and her ability to get out of some pretty nasty spots. And her willingness to do the right thing, even at personal cost to herself. And she's so funny! I think her one liners are hilarious, and her internal dialogue really puts me in the action and gives me an identification factor.
The action in this book was fantastic. A little bit gory and gruesome, but the fast pace allows you to tolerate that aspect fairly well. It's like watching a really good movie. The climax was one heck of a battle. I can't say I've read many other urban fantasy books where the conclusion had me so riveted. Ilona Andrews really knows how to write action, and that's coming from a very picky reader when it comes to action scenes.
The use of magic and the ugly and beneficial aspects fit very well with this particular story. The descriptions of the freaky version of a modern day Atlanta that has been morphed by magic into a sort of dystopian future setting, rife with deadly and mystical creatures were very vivid and iconic. I think this is such a great idea for an urban fantasy series.
I thought the Celtic mythology elements were very well done. The whole use of Morrigan and the Formorians. It tied in so smoothly with the overall plot. There wasn't boring periods where info dump slowed down the story. There was a huge element of risk here where you really worried if everything was going to be resolved well.
To be honest, I didn't really think of Curran as much of a love interest in the first book. There was a bit of potential, and he had me intrigued, although I wasn't sold. But, I could really see the attraction between Kate and Curran, and I was digging Curran pretty hard. He's...well, he's the Beast Lord, with all that applies. I like the back and forth between Kate and Curran. How she's attracted and kind of scared of him (because he's pretty scary, let's face it), but she won't allow herself not to stand up to him. It's pretty clear that Curran has it bad for Kate. I loved his courtship ritual that she didn't pick up on (it had to be explained by a few members of the Pack). I love the slow build of their relationship, with all the nice 'flirting moments'. I can't way to see things progress with this couple.
Kate's sidekicks were cool. Derek is adorable but a tough fighter. I loved Julie. I hope to see more of her. All the contacts and the acquaintances that Kate has stand out in my mind, each adding to the story in crucial ways. And then there was Bran. A very interesting character with a complex relationship with Kate.
Man, oh, man. I had no idea how much I would come to love this series. It just keeps getting better and better. I was so pumped after reading this book, it took me a whole hour to calm down. Magic Burns is highly recommended to the discerning urban fantasy reader who likes a great heroine, kickbutt action, wonderful world-building, and intriguing secondary characters. I'm going to try to keep myself from devouring this series back to back. I need to have a guaranteed read in my pile for that 'rainy day', and the Kate Daniels series is definitely that!...more
Has a prominent bwwm interracial storyline. I definitely want to give this one a read. How sad am I that you put werewolves and interracial in a bookHas a prominent bwwm interracial storyline. I definitely want to give this one a read. How sad am I that you put werewolves and interracial in a book and you get my attention? The two together, oh, yes!...more
The visual medium has a distinctive way of conveying a story to a reader. Unlike movies, graphic novels encourage a reader to use their imagination baThe visual medium has a distinctive way of conveying a story to a reader. Unlike movies, graphic novels encourage a reader to use their imagination based on the visual images presented (we see the artist rendering, but our minds process those pictures into a three-dimensional finished product in our minds). Honestly, I wasn't quite sold on the concept of popular, already published books translated into the graphic novel medium. Now I am! It’s just an additional way to gain exposure to one’s favorite books and series.
It was utterly diverting to see Mercy Thompson's prequel story in the graphic novel format! As most already know, I am a huge fan of Patricia Briggs and this series. Seeing Mercy in action on the page, not to mention the other characters from this series I know and love, just primes the well of my devotion.
The artwork is beautiful, and the script feels like Mercy's voice, which was crucial to connecting to this graphic novel as an authentic part of the Mercy Thompson story. In other words, it was an extension of the series as I know. For readers who are curious about how Mercy ended up in the Tri-Cities, working for Zee, with the oh-so scrumptious Adam Hauptman as a landlord, this book will fill you in on that.
The artists captured the motion and action of a story in which wolves clash with each other over territory--rogues versus Adam’s pack under the aegis of Bran Cornick, the Marrok (leader of all North American werewolves); vampires attacking humans (and one vampire named Stefan befriending Mercy); and a smaller, but incredibly courageous walker (Mercy) who dives in to save the day when necessary. The colors were beautiful, and the artists render Mercy beautifully, revealing her appeal, valor, and strength of will. Stefan is quite creepy-looking. I can see why Mercy was wary of Stefan and his offer of friendship. Zee has a Loki-like mischievous look to his face that fits what I would think of him as a gremlin. Adam is as gorgeous and full of presence as he seems in my mind. The wolves are dangerous and powerful, creatures that inspire fear in others, even the wolves who don’t attack humans. Mercy’s coyote form is small and spry and just what I imagined. I’d say the artists did Patricia Briggs’ characters justice.
Mercy is the kind of heroine you want to give a high five. She's so down-to-earth and fierce in an everyday way. She has to work for a living, and is not afraid to do so. Nor is she unwilling to pay her dues. She's taken steps towards establishing her independence and keeping it. She clearly has emotional wounds from being abandoned by her mother, later losing her adoptive parents and the safety of Bran, the Marrok's pack. She rejects the Marrok's overtures to take her back in, determined to live her own life. You can see how ‘complicated’ her relationship with Adam promises to be. Lots of tension and sparks between them already.
Homecoming is a great addition to the Mercy Thompson series. It successfully captures the spirit of this series for fans. Homecoming takes us back to the start of Mercy’s time in the Tri-Cities, fills in the blanks on what we don’t know about her prior to Moon Called, and exploits the visual medium to tell the story of one of my all-time favorite heroines in beautiful, living color. I need to pick up the other Briggs graphic novels at the library as soon as I have the time to fit them into my reading schedule! ...more
What if one of the Allies' greatest spies during WWII was a werewolf?
The Wolf's Hour is the story of Michael Gallatin, born Mikhail Gallatinov. His jWhat if one of the Allies' greatest spies during WWII was a werewolf?
The Wolf's Hour is the story of Michael Gallatin, born Mikhail Gallatinov. His journey is sprawling and meaty, full of intense moments, both emotional and physical. Although I am not sure this technically counts as an epic, it feels very epic to me. Because there is so much to see about how Michael goes from being a privileged eight-year-old during the bloody Russian Revolution to a thirty-four year old British Secret Service spy. You might say, "That's a big jump." But when you read this book, you find out how he evolved from that boy to the man he becomes.
Things to Take Into Consideration:
*This is a bloody, gory book. There is a lot of violence. The action scenes are almost always gruesomely described. If you're really squeamish, be warned. I am not big on gore (at all), and I often winced as I read. However, it doesn't come off as gratuitous. Why? Because this is about predators, human and animals. Michael has to learn to live in the brutal world of the wolf and the more brutal (for it is often not of necessity), unnecessary viciousness of humanity. I feel that McCammon draws a contrast between wolves and humans. Wolves kill for survival. They can attack fiercely and brutally, but their motives are for living another day. Whereas the vile actions of the Nazis and some of the Russians during their Revolution depicted in this novel speak of human evil and the dark heart of human nature. To kill, maim, and to harm for paltry reasons (if there are any good ones), that's not the animal world. That's purely human. Not all humans are evil, and McCammon shows that. But those that are commit so many heinous acts that it weighs on the soul, even when reading a fiction novel set during WWII. Even Michael, a man who lived as a wolf and has a dual beast nature, is not so cruel and blood-thirsty as the Nazis, with their racial and ethnic hatred, their greed, and thirst for domination. I liked how he is asked the question about where werewolves fit in God's eye, by his tutor, Wiktor, and eventually asks himself later on in his life--to find his answer. Suddenly he realizes his place in this world of ugliness, God's wolf avenger. I have to make it clear that I despise the Nazis so much, I liked the idea of having someone like Michael around to take care of them. He realized he couldn't save everyone, but he always tried to do what was right.
*There is a fair amount of sex in this book. Michael's life plays out over nearly thirty years, and in that time, he loves and 'loves' numerous women. I'm not real big on seeing a character 'hook up' with several people over the course of a book, but I suppose that this is another layer to his character that plays out. And in all those encounters, you get the sense that Michael does respect and love women. So it wasn't exploitative, in my opinion.
*As I mentioned earlier, this book focuses heavily on the War World II time period. McCammon does not shy around the atrocities committed by the Nazis, and if that is disturbing to a reader, you might want to avoid this book. If a reader has an interest in WWII, I do recommend this book. It focuses mainly on the Nazis as the evil entity behind this war. Interestingly, it does not focus as much on the political state or evolution of Soviet Russia, or the atrocities that were committed under Stalin. While he doesn't paint the Soviet Army as the only or primary good-guys, neither does he delve deeply into that part of the WWII puzzle (and the reasons why the Soviets were able to crush the Axis on the Eastern Front). This is interesting, since Michael is Russian born, although he becomes a British citizen. But at over 601 pages, this book is plenty long enough, and I can respect that McCammon chose to focus on one aspect of the war.
*This book is about loss, struggle, the fortitude it takes to keep going and living when everything you love and that is familiar and comfortable to you is taken away. It's very angsty and sad, in other words. Just when you have hope that things might turn out out okay, the rug gets swept out from under you. McCammon does a great job of building and sustaining that tension. In real life, there isn't a such thing as "and they lived Happily Ever After." Instead, we have seasons of joy and plenty, and then there are seasons when sorrow seems to prevail above other emotions. But we have to keep moving through those seasons and take the lessons we can from both periods in our lives. Michael shows tremendous fortitude in his life, considering all that he went through. Giving up just isn't part of his makeup. Instead, he takes those hard-won, painful lessons and uses those to grow stronger. How can you not love that about him?
*The mix of espionage with supernatural was very well done. You might be fooled into thinking that things will be much easier for Michael because he is a werewolf. Oh, no! He bleeds just like humans, he can be gravely injured, he suffers from illness and starvation. Being a wolf gives him strength and endurance more than humans, but he is not infallible. Instead, his dual nature is just one other tool in his spy armament. And even that can be a liability in some circumstance. Although I think I do like the wolf who regenerates quickly, even with life-threatening injury, and heals more rapidly than humans better, the portrayal of lycanthropy in this book is better-suited to the tone and overall story. McCammon very carefully avoids using deus ex machina, but instead relies on Michael's physical conditioning, his mental acuity, and his extreme drive and determination, along with help from the Resistance groups of various parts of occupied Europe, and his spy cohorts. The espionage unfolds very well. That razor edge of spywork, and the extreme cost that comes with it. Knowing your life could be forfeit from any mistakes or just because of the danger of the work, and also that you cannot save everyone. You have to make sacrifices so that the greater good could be done. Man, I felt that moral angst deep down as I read this book. I held my breath as Michael and his compadres dealt with the Nazis and did their dangerous work, hoping they wouldn't be caught, and if so, they would find their way to safety. With this book, there certainly are no guarantees. You don't know who will make it, including the lead character. As I said, very well done!
The Wolf's Hour is compelling, involving reading. My emotions were deeply engaged, all of them. The story of Michael Gallatin, a man with many identities, drew me in. He is a great hero, and this is a great story about his life. When I finished it, I was kind of sad, because I felt as though he was part of my life for that time I spent reading this book. I highly recommend this novel!
**spoiler alert** LA Banks succeeded in restoring my faith in her as an urban fantasy writer with this book. I read the first two Vampire Huntress Leg**spoiler alert** LA Banks succeeded in restoring my faith in her as an urban fantasy writer with this book. I read the first two Vampire Huntress Legends books, and I was very disappointed with the execution. I didn't feel that the first outing of an African American lead vampire hunter went very well. Thankfully, I had different thoughts about the first in the Crimson Moon series.
There were times where I wasn't sure I would like the direction that Banks took with this story. But then, her writing (which is very polished and without flaw) diverted me into paths that made me fascinated and almost excited to keep reading. My fear of being let down hung in a pall over me as I read this book. I was almost determined not to like it, afraid to have myself be disappointed again. That's why this book earning a four star rating is significant.
I like a lot of books, but at the same time, I'm rather demanding on what I read. I don't like certain elements thrown into a book without rhyme or reason. I want things to make sense. I want my time spent reading to be of value. I want to feel that the writer took the time to write a story that she or he cared about. If she or he does not care about the story, why should I? It's clear that Ms. Banks really did invest herself in this series. And the results turned out very well.
Bad Blood has a strong lead in Sasha Trudeau. She is a competent soldier, who is very good at taking care of herself and solving problems. That's what I look for in an urban fantasy heroine. I liked that she's just one of the guys, but feminine at the same time. She is devoted to her team, they are her friends and family. Events in this book unfold to destroy her unit, and her grief is palpable to the reader. Her path in the world has not been easy, and she goes through even more heartbreak in this book. She earned my admiration for her strength and for her humanity. I thought Sasha's origins were quite interesting, giving this story a high tech/almost futuristic vibe in that sense.
The plot of this story centers heavily on the aspect of lycanthropy being in part a viral disease that turns humans into rampaging beasts, completely out of control, and hungry for human flesh. As the story continues, it becomes clear that this not representative of all werewolves. There are natural werewolves, who are in control of their wolves, and who are good, and hunt the demon-infected werewolves. That's where Max Hunter and Shogun come in. Max Hunter is the alpha of the Shadow Wolves, part of the Ute Native American tribe. They are werewolves who can hide in shadow and use shadows to travel. I found this to be a very fascinating element (and something new for me as a werewolf fiction fan). Shogun is the alpha of another tribe of wolves, who makes contact with Sasha on a mission in North Korea, revealing that what she knows about wolves is all wrong.
From their very first scenes together, it's clear that Max Hunter is destined to have a very strong connection with Sasha, and this is revealed in a very steamy, erotically intense way. Their scenes together make you want to reach for a large glass of something cold. There was some serious chemistry between Sasha and Max, making this story read more like a paranormal romance, in certain scenes. I think that their relationship will make this series even more worth continuing.
On the negative side, I do have to say that Sasha came off as being a little hard-shelled in her behavior towards Max Hunter. It was clear from the begining that their attraction was extremely intense and hard to resist, and going with it, went against the grain for Sasha. However, this is a woman who herself said she was used to be a sex buddy, booty call, casual friend that you take to bed, and it felt good to be someone of value, someone treasured by another person. Max cherished, respected and valued her. He saw her as an equal from the beginning. He didn't treat her merely as a possession or sex object, disposable or otherwise. But when Max got possessive with her, she threw a fit. Come on! This is an alpha wolf--that's how they are. He made it very clear that she was his mate in his mind. Max was a man who was rejected by women because of the taint of his heritage. For him to find a woman of his own was a tremendous thing. Even still, when he wanted to bond with her fully as a mate, he didn't try force her, or press her for a commitment. It hurt him deeply that she couldn't give the same for him, but he was willing to give her time. Despite that, he couldn't help feeing possessive, especially if she was treating him as her mate in all but name. She took it as a personal affront, like he was saying she would sleep with any random guy to get info. It wasn't like that at all. It was about his primal feelings towards her. Just like the attraction between them was primal, and she was more than willing to go with that. That annoyed me about her. I will freely admit, I am not fond of hardened heroines. Something just rubs me the wrong way with them. Nothing wrong with being tough and in charge, having self-control, and being no one's pushover. But when they get where they are so callous about emotions, that's a pet peeve to me. I admired her honesty with Max, but I think she needed to really get where he was coming from a little more, since he was doing the same for her.
This was really the only issue I had with Sasha. But I'm a little worried what's going to happen in the next book. A clear that there's an attraction to Shogun as well. She's more or less 'lightly committed' to Max. Is she going to get with this other guy too? If so, I will be very disappointed, especially in the light of how much ground was laid building the relationship with Max. I really dislike when the heroine is going between two men. I don't mind if there's a flirtation, but since it's very clear that Max is deeply in love with Sasha, I will not be a happy camper if Sasha 'cheats' with Shogun.
The military vibe was working for me, mostly. I love characters who are soliders, warriors, or military. I especially like when the heroine is a badass warrior. Sasha's definitely that. It looks like she'll be running her own unit, so that's going to be really cool to see where her mission takes her yet.
I hope the storyline expands past the search for the demon-infected werewolves. Ms. Banks already introduced other creatures into this book, and very well, in fact. I look forward to seeing the vampires, werewolves, faery, wizards, etc. The vamps that show up, do a good job at trying to steal the show. They are seductive, sexual, and devious, with their own agenda. They have presence. I think it will be interesting to see more of the vampires as this series progresses. I can't wait to see what Ms. Banks does with the fae.
As you can see, I got involved with this story. Even though I was a reluctant reader, afraid of being hurt again. I have to give Ms. Banks kudos for that. I was glad that she left out a lot of the urban vibe that she used in the Huntress books (it does nothing for me), and told a story I could get involved in. The action scenes were intense, and the magical elements were very vivid. I loved the parts when Sasha and Max called their wolf. Very well done. It's icing on the cake to see the main characters of African-American/Native American ethnicity. We could use some ethnic diversity in the urban fantasy.
If you're like me, and felt let down with the Vampire Huntress books, give Bad Blood a try. I think you might like it. I'm happy to say that I believe this series has a lot of potential, and I hope I continue to enjoy it....more
I deliberately took a long hiatus on this series. Not because I didn’t love it, or that I was bored. No! Quite the contrary. I did it because it was dI deliberately took a long hiatus on this series. Not because I didn’t love it, or that I was bored. No! Quite the contrary. I did it because it was doggone heartbreaking to run out of books after Kiss of a Demon King. Now, I have accumulated a nicely sizable stock of IAD stories, and I am good to go, if having to avoid spoilers like the plague doesn’t put a bit of a crimp in my style.
The Story: It was quite fun to see besotted Lykae, Garreth MacRieve chasing after his reluctant (for the most part) Valkyrie mate, Lucia. You see, Lucia totally has the hots for Garreth, but she has some really good reasons to give him the cold shoulder. For the most part, this didn’t bother me. I like to see the hero doing the chasing. And Lucia did show that she had feelings for Garreth. There were a couple of things she did to discourage Garreth that I wasn’t fond of. And I didn’t like the way she treated them the day after the night in the temple. (view spoiler)[ Thankfully, she saved his life from the anaconda and apologized nicely, so I forgave her (hide spoiler)].
(view spoiler)[I do have to say that I was dismayed that Lucia was married. I hate cheating. I just do. I convinced myself that emotionally she was divorced or annulled from her horrid, disgusting, awful husband, and he didn’t deserve her. But I just wish authors didn’t go there. Yes, this is a series about pagan immortals and my set of values clearly don’t apply, but I feel much better when I read a romance with a pair who is not married to someone else. Having said that, it was an interesting idea, Lucia being married to a being of legend, a horrible thing who made her wedding night unspeakable. I also liked that Lucia saved herself and Garreth. And I loved that Garreth’s love for Lucia kept him from killing her, able to fight off her husband’s magic just long enough to keep him from hurting Lucia. (hide spoiler)]
As usual, Kresley Cole writes a blisteringly hot romance story. Here I am reading this book at the gym on the elliptical, with my eyes glued to the pages, which were singeing my fingers. Oh, my! Ms. Cole writes so many good foreplay scenes, you are eagerly awaiting the big moment, and of course, you are not disappointed.
I loved the adventure aspects. The trek into the Amazon, and the natural, strange but natural creatures, and of course, the Loreans that Garreth and Lucia encountered made for an exciting read. She didn’t let the tension wane in any way, sexual or storyline-wise. And there are so crazy, over the top action scenes that I loved. I didn’t know what to expect, and I wasn’t bored for one second. Lucia holds her own against enormous caimans, crazed assassins, shapeshifters, vile, cannibalistic gods, and crazy humans. Garreth ain’t shabby either. My werewolf fixation was very much appeased with him! A girl could do no better than to have a devoted Lykae mate out to protect her and to meet her every need! Hot and sultry, this book was, in many ways. The treasure hunt was a nice addition, giving this book that Indiana Jones vibe that I love. I have a feeling that some of the happenings in this book will have repercussions in the next, and I am eagerly awaiting to see how those chips fall.
The Characters: Ms. Cole was able to distinguish Lucia from her Valkyrie sisters by giving Lucia a more serious bent than her other sisters. She had a lot of emotions simmering underneath that she had to keep leashed. While most of her Valkyrie sisters are party animals, she has to stay in control and honor her vows. Her situation was a tough one, with her obligations that kept her from living a full life. She was punishing herself for childish choice she made when she was a very young girl. That’s one thousand years of guilt. Way too many! I liked her rationality, and I loved her archery skills. She was freaking awesome! I liked that she had a soft spot for Garreth, and it wasn’t just lust. She really liked the guy and cared for him. And she really, truly showed how much he meant to her, going after him in his time of need. If I didn’t like her before, she definitely won me over at this point.
Like pretty much all of KC’s heroes, I adored Garreth. Sexy, sweet, tough, funny, intelligent, and devoted, very devoted. It’s safe to say that when he makes a commitment, he keeps it. And when he loves, he loves, to the bottom of his soul. He just about broke my heart near the end of this story. But this story has a happy ending, so fear not.
The secondary characters are always entertaining and well-drawn. Ms. Cole has a great imagination, creating characters that populate her ever-expanding Lore, and making me even more of a devoted reader. I love the romance, but the world-building was an equally powerful factor in making me a fan of this series. It’s very distinct and fascinating, full of legend and myth that makes this paranormal romance into fantasy adventure, and keeps me coming back for more. When I meet new characters, I hope that Ms. Cole will bring them back so I can see what their story is, and where this series will lead them. I have to say that Lothaire is one character that I have my eye on. What is his deal??? Inquiring minds! And the epilogue….Evil. She’s evil! I am so glad that I have the next book waiting in the queue.
Some Questions to Finish This Review: Did I love this story? Yes‼‼ Sexy romance, humor, adventure, fascinating storylines. They are all there for the intrepid reader. Was I satisfied? Oh, yes‼! Am I excited for the next book? Absolutely‼! Would I recommend this series? You aren’t reading it? Do you like paranormal romance? If the answer is yes, hop to it! ...more