I think I just need to hang up the towel and admit this series is not for me. It's gruesome and dark in a way that doesn't appeal to me. The characterI think I just need to hang up the towel and admit this series is not for me. It's gruesome and dark in a way that doesn't appeal to me. The characters are either sadistic or they fall prey to other sadistic characters. I wouldn't say I'm too squeamish to enjoy any horror, but this kind of horror I don't like. I was drawn in by the story within a story format and the idea of a house between dimensions. But those things don't overshadow the unappealing aspects for me. I feel the series really jumped the shark with one event. I was like, seriously! I did kind of like the cameo though. I guess I'm going to have to say that this is the last volume I will read. My sister is tough and I'll ask her to hold me accountable not to pick any of these up. It's a shame. I want to know how things end. I suppose I'll have to do what I did with the Under the Dome show. I had my sister keep me honest! I stepped away and haven't looked back, other than drooling over pictures of Mike Vogel. I don't think that there's a hot actor in this series to tempt me to reading more of this series.
Three stars because it's not really bad quality or poorly written. It's just not my taste....more
This volume was a mix of emotions: "wow", "that's so sad", "I don't get it", and "not so much". I do have to say that Love Stories for Dead People defThis volume was a mix of emotions: "wow", "that's so sad", "I don't get it", and "not so much". I do have to say that Love Stories for Dead People definitely canvasses the theme of this collection. Love is so much more than a four letter word, with infinite potential to shape our lives for the best and worst. This volume delves into that with a dark, twisted, and often gruesome collection of stories.
I loved the backstory on Ann, who was a pirate back in the day. I am all for a kickbutt, take charge, dangerous woman, and that's definitely her. I can see how deeply she was hurt, and why love isn't something she focuses energy on. And of course, I am a pirate theme lover. As far as Miranda, once a waitress in the House and a part of the crew, what was that about??? I didn't get it! The bits about Fig and an important person from her past were interesting. I can see that she has an ability that is going to play a huge role. I didn't understand what Cress did to Simon, but I know it has something to do with her terrible luck with love. Simon reminds me of John Constantine so much, it isn't funny! I loved the fact that Cress's doctor suitor looks exactly like Peter Cushing. Anyone else pick up on that, I wonder?
I feel like I didn't understand a lot of what was going on. The whole Cain/Abel thing and the nightmares that Harry had to battle. I could use some Cliff Notes for this book, but thankfully, I did find a Wiki, and I'll read some of that and hope I don't get too spoiled.
It's hard to give a good analysis of this book because I was feeling so lost for a lot of it. I saw a mix of nightmarish images with some events that had a little more clarity. I think the best part of this book was getting more of a backstory on two of the main characters: Ann and Cress, and finding out about Harry's earlier days in the House and his decision to make it into a bar. Oh and finding more about Fig's relationship with her father.
I hope I don't feel so lost in the next edition of this series. ...more
One of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives andOne of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives and to escape to a new one. In this novel, Golgotha is such a place, however the voice that leads travelers into its depths is a sinister, ageless one. A voice that also attracts all sort of supernatural phenomena.
Young Jim makes it to edge of this town, where the desert almost kills him and his beloved horse, Precious. His life is saved by a strange half-Indian man, Mutt, who turns out to be the town's deputy, and to have a supernatural heritage of his own. Jim gets hired to work for the Sheriff, Jon Highfather, a man who has cheated death again and again. A man who is the protector for the town from the supernatural evil always lurking in the dark.
Golgotha is full of strangeness, and also flawed humans, such as a wife and mother who has an incredible legacy. There is also a resident mad scientist, who has more interest in the dead than the living. And did I mention that Golgotha has a very large Mormon population? There might also be an angel lurking in the town. But I can't confirm or deny that.
The Six-Gun Tarot was very much a surprise find for me on the new arrival shelf at my library. I couldn't resist it, because I love the Weird West, and this book couldn't get any weirder. Many times, this book is more horrific than anything else. The deep, dark secret of this town is pretty darn harrowing, and the fact that its menace lurks behind a dark religious cult out to destroy the world as we know it.
There is a lot going on in this book. I think the author does a good job of holding it all together. The twisted threads of the story and the various character point of views come together as a cohesive whole that gave me a shuddery feeling as I read. I was glad I feverishly finished the last 160 pages during the day yesterday, trying to get it done, since it was due back at the library. It would have been a not so good thing to read before bed!
This isn't a feel good book, I must warn any who want to read it. It's dark fantasy/horror that seats itself very identifiably in the aesthetic of the Old West, where blood runs freely, and regret and prejudice are a part of the landscape. Where peoples of many heritages coexist uneasily, when they aren't at each others' throats, and the time comes to band together to face a darker, far from human threat which cares nothing for humanity, or anything right or decent. While not a feel good novel, the writing is very good and atmospheric. Belcher inspires empathy for the flawed characters in this novel. Their failures in some ways equip them for just the threat they face. There are many subtle references to works of weird fiction, such as a character who has Ashton Smith in his name, and quotes from Frankenstein by Mary E. Shelley. I want to read more stories in this town, since this threat they face in this book is neither the first, nor will it be the last.
If it's not obvious, I liked this book, even in its highly disarming moments. Good solid, weird fiction with a very credible Western setting and iconography. I'd recommend it to the brave reader who doesn't mind some tentacle, squirmy elements....more
This is a really good series for fans of angelic fiction. The angels aren't really that likable though, except for Remy. I like the insight into the AThis is a really good series for fans of angelic fiction. The angels aren't really that likable though, except for Remy. I like the insight into the Angelic War, although it's not very biblical in some aspects (others sort of). I didn't care for one aspect in the presentation of Christ, honestly. The lower rating is mainly because the pacing falls apart at the end. The cliffhanger is rather brutal too. I'll keep reading this because I really like Remy (and I'm fascinated with angels).
This was a very dark, intense vampire action horror novel. There were some blasphemous elements that I found disturbing, which knocked my rating down.This was a very dark, intense vampire action horror novel. There were some blasphemous elements that I found disturbing, which knocked my rating down. Readers who like dark vampire horror might enjoy this. But be warned. Not for the faint of heart.
This was a gusty work, quite interesting and different. Probably one of the most overtly Christian dark fantasies I've read thus far, although I don'tThis was a gusty work, quite interesting and different. Probably one of the most overtly Christian dark fantasies I've read thus far, although I don't think it will find favor with a person who is fairly fundamental in their Christian beliefs (ie. avoid anything related to the occult). I was scratching my head at some of the physics concepts, since they were over my head, also some of the occult elements. Either the author did some heavy-duty research or she has a great imagination. Even though I'm not sure it was successful on all levels, I felt impressed with this novel, even as I acknowledge that it won't be for everyone. Thus the 3.75/5.0 star rating.
This is a weak four stars for me, because there were some things I think detracted away from the book, but also things I really like. This has to be aThis is a weak four stars for me, because there were some things I think detracted away from the book, but also things I really like. This has to be a short review, so I can't get into all of that in great detail (if you really want to know, check Bitten by Books for the full review). On the whole, enjoyable. I loved the angel parts, but some of the theology was a bit muddled with bit too much of everything thrown in. Probably won't bother some readers, but it didn't sit well with me. I definitely recommend this to angel fiction fans, and for readers who want to see some cultural diversity in their urban fantasy. Ms. Banks gets an A+ for that.
Rest in Peace, Ms. Banks. The fiction world is poor for your passing.
This was a solid four star book until the last hundred or so pages, when it really turned around, and I knew it would get the highest rating from me.This was a solid four star book until the last hundred or so pages, when it really turned around, and I knew it would get the highest rating from me. I must say I think the storyline is very imaginative, artistic and surreal. Ms. Douglas isn't an overly expansive writer, but she somehow paints a very vivid picture of the sights and surroundings, emotions and actions of her characters. Dark City is a nightmarish place, and the imagery rang loud and clear as I read. Sheol has an otherworldly beauty and feeling of peace, and the images of the Fallen appeal greatly to this angel-lover, even in the dark aspects.
I don't love the theology here. Earlier on, I choose to view this book merely as fiction and divorce it from my Christian beliefs, which is the wisest choice for me. Otherwise, I think the portrayal of God would be problematic for me. As a believer in the God of the Old and New Testament, I don't think there is a disconnect between the God of the New and Old Testament, as portrayed in this book, although I know many feel this way. God is shown as a vengeful, angry, unfeeling character, which is not what I believe. I believe in a God that is equally loving and equally just. If I view this merely as characters who have their own way of processing their relationships with God and their subsequent choices and actions, I can still enjoy this book very much, and I did. Outside of my disagreeing with some of the theology, I find the storyline very interesting, and the portrayal of angels is majestic and hypnotically appealing and arresting. I feel that Ms. Douglas writes this books in a very visual and cinematic way.
Azazel is not a nice hero by any stretch of the word, for most of this book. He is almost cruel to Rachel in some ways, although his reluctant feelings (and the fact that he is not a woman-hater) holds him back from hurting her physically. He made a choice that led to something very bad happening to Rachel, and I know some readers won't be able to get past that. Although I don't condone his actions, I understand the turmoil that was behind them. I do like his sea change later in the book, and I think he proved he was worthy of her love. I like how I was able to see how he evolves in his perceptions of Rachel, and as he changes in his feelings towards her, this difference is very apparent in his physical expressions of lust and later passion/love towards Rachel. I could understand that he was angry and hurting over the loss of his latest and best loved wife, and how he wanted to blame Rachel for that because of the prophecy.
As far as Rachel, I liked her from the beginning. She starts as something of a blank canvas, and as the story continues, more and more depth and definition is evident with her character. Her latent identity is slowly and deftly revealed, and it was interesting to process this. The myth of Lilith is interesting, although I have never put much emphasis on it. It ties into that pervasive belief that Judaism and Christianity is inherently misogynistic, which I have never agreed with. More than anything this is a manifestation of the way that these beliefs have been used as a tool for control over others, and through human and societal cruelty, and not due to God disvaluing women (take religion out of the picture and people would find another tool to use against others). Having said that, Rachel is a very sympathetic character, and I liked how Douglas gives the Lilith myth a human and emotional (and relatable) feel instead of dwelling on the horrific aspects of that legend.
As I alluded to earlier in the review, the romantic aspects of the story bloom later, because initially, it's very apparent that Azazel mainly has hatred in his heart for Rachel. It was hard to see that possibility of love initially, but by the end of the book, I did see it. I think that took some skill on Ms. Douglas' part. I went from thinking Azazel was a total loss, and hoping he'd just leave Rachel alone and in peace and safety, to wanting him to prove he was worthy of her and for them to be together. I feel that this ultimately was a successful romance because I was able to arrive at the conviction that they should be together. The love scenes were well-written, showing not just the act of sex, but the emotions, good and bad that went along with it. They were integral to the story, because they revealed crucial aspects of both Azazel and Rachel's psyche, and also their healing processes from damaged emotions and hearts from their journeys in life.
Ultimately, I was very impressed with this novel. This is not just from the viewpoint of a lifelong (and therefore biased) admirer of this writer (Anne Stuart). It is because of her obvious and proven skill as a writer. To take a story that somehow shouldn't appeal and make into something that intrigues me and gets under my skin, leaving me thinking about the story long after I finish it. This book won't work for everyone. Although clearly paranormal romance, there is something very atypical about it. The writing has this flavor that puts it into a different and not always comfortable category. However, I found this to be a feast for the reader's senses. This kind of book takes me on a journey and fully rewards me for the time spent reading it. I definitely loved it.
Angel lovers beware. You should avoid this book. You will probably end up addicted to angel books after reading it. (Like I need more literary addictiAngel lovers beware. You should avoid this book. You will probably end up addicted to angel books after reading it. (Like I need more literary addictions!) As you can tell, I really enjoyed this.
I admit that the angel storyline is a huge draw, and the concept of the seraphim lurking within Remy appeals very much. I liked the different look atI admit that the angel storyline is a huge draw, and the concept of the seraphim lurking within Remy appeals very much. I liked the different look at some very well known Old Testament biblical figures, even though one was quite chilling and the other very irreverently portrayed. This is urban fantasy that jumps back and forth across the horror line, sometimes even in the same chapter. I liked it a lot, so that's why it gets a four star rating from me.
**spoiler alert** This was a powerful, gritty, very dark story. In fact, I am quite surprised that this was released as a young adult book, other than**spoiler alert** This was a powerful, gritty, very dark story. In fact, I am quite surprised that this was released as a young adult book, other than the age of the protagonist, Billi. Billi SanGreal lives a grim existence as the daughter of the leader of the very small remains of the once-powerful Knights Templar. They exist to fight the darkness and the demons that would destroy humanity. Only, Billi isn't so sure she wants to be a Templar. The cost has been too high. Her father barely treats her as his daughter, showing her no affection, only pushing her constantly to be the best warrior and to be utterly ruthless in her destruction of evil beings. She has already lost her mother to a horrendous attack by ghuls, demonic creatures who were once humans, but gave up their souls for power or possessions. Billi just wants a normal life. As if being a teen wasn't bad enough, she's considered weird because of her constant bruises and cuts, and the fact that her father was on trial for her mother's murder.
Her friend Kay finally comes back from Jerusalem where he was training to be an Oracle, or a seer for the Knights Templar. She's angry at him that he left her when she needed his friendship and support. She's also confused at the feelings she has for the handsome young man he's become.
And then, she meets gorgeous, mysterious Mike, who might be her first chance to have a boyfriend. But Mike isn't quite what he seems.
This was a very intense story. There were times I had to put this book down and take a breather. Billi's life truly is one battle after enough. Part of that is due to the struggle with her father for control of her life, and her yearning for him to show her the affection and approval she needs as his daughter. And then, there is the struggle with her feelings. She truly wants to be free from this life as a Templar that was forced her on by her father.
Mr. Chadda really knows how to pack a punch with his writing. Between the intra- and interpersonal angst and the battles between good and evil, the tension in this story never lets up. His worldbuilding is strong and compelling, and unrelentingly grim. This story has a seriousness that I appreciated, yet it challenged me to keep reading. At times, I was frustrated at Billi for her determination to rebel against her father. But it made sense. She wanted his love, and he didn't give her that very thing she needed so badly, and her rebellion was a way of letting up the pressure that she constantly lived under.
I thought the idea of a modern-day Knights Templar was fantastic. Although her father was pretty ruthless, and not very good at showing affection to Billi, I really liked and respected Arthur. He was a strong man with an unrelenting sense of duty. He was the kind of man who would fight evil to the end, regardless of the cost. He would hone his daughter into a powerful warrior who would do what was necessary in the battle against evil, if he had to make her hate him to do it. I admired him for that, although I wished that the relationship between Billi and her father was more loving.
The plot twists and turns until I really had no idea how things would end. The ending really brought things full-circle, but I won't pretend it didn't break my heart. Billi doesn't come out of this story without loss. She is like a weapon that has been tested and honed by the fires of combat and trial. And that includes painful loss.
Brutal and violent and unrelentingly dark, Devil's Kiss really involved me. I couldn't let go of this book, even though I had to put it down to regroup. I am very impressed with this author. His writing is vivid and stunning, painting a world that seems lost to the darkness. But it's not, for the Knight's Templars will continue to fight evil, until Kingdom Come. If you are looking for supernatural action with a strong heroine who has a compelling relationship with her father, you will love this book. I certainly cannot wait to read the next book.
This is a play I enjoyed reading in school. I find stuff with deals with the Devil pretty scary so I really liked it that Daniel Webster is able to beThis is a play I enjoyed reading in school. I find stuff with deals with the Devil pretty scary so I really liked it that Daniel Webster is able to beat the devil at his own game. I'm a sucker for anything supernatural, so I was glad that some of the classic required reading did have some supernatural elements. ...more
Trick of the Light takes Rob Thurman's urban fantasy storytelling in a different direction. She is known for her male POV characters, but in this bookTrick of the Light takes Rob Thurman's urban fantasy storytelling in a different direction. She is known for her male POV characters, but in this book, the lead is Trixa, a female. While I am a huge fan of Cal and Nik Leandros, it was nice to see a different set of characters, although there is a subtle tie-in to the Leandros series through a Robin Goodfellow cameo (sort-of).
This novel is set in Las Vegas, which is great, since I love Las Vegas. We used to go there for vacation when I lived in San Diego, and it is a town with a lot of energy, and I could easily believe they have a demon problem. After all, a city with that much gambling, desperation and rowdy entertainment going on would be a good place if you were looking to buy some souls on offer.
Trixa's character has a lot of layers. Rob Thurman excellently crafts this story and leaves clues that more than you think is going on. When things culminate, I had a sense of everything coming together, and little facts revealed in the narrative and things the characters did clicked with me. I was completely surprised about Griffin and Zeke, and that was kind of fun! Leo as well.
I hate to compare things, but it's inevitable. I think it's because I just adore Cal and Nik so much, this one wasn't quite as endearing to me. But I have to say this was a very good book. It has that tangible feel of Rob Thurman, a deep sort of mix of cynicism mixed with hope and integrity, and a powerful use of folklore and legends to build a story, that I enjoy so much about the Leandros series. And Trixa was a fun, distinctive character. She was easy to like, even when she was tough as nails and almost vicious about it, and I rooted for her. I liked her complexity, and the fact that she was very good at plotting out her course and dealing with bumps in the road. I liked her motherly/older sisterly feelings for Griffin and Deke. She was feminine but not in a stereotyped way. Sort of like what I would expect a kickbutt woman to be: rough and ready, but also with a soft side. More like a real woman and not the typical "urban fantasy" incarnation.
I will say here and now that I loved Griffin and Deke. No, they aren't Cal and Nik clones, but what you like about the Cal and Nik dynamic is here in this book, but going in a very different direction. Deke was an incredibly interesting character. A borderline sociopath with psychopathic tendencies that are hinged on a very black and white sense of morality. He has a childish innocence that makes you want to hug him, but that is mixed with a very alarming tendency towards violence that he exercises on the 'guilty.' Perhaps he is a bit like The Punisher mixed with Judge Dredd. Griffin is like his moral conscience, keeping him on track and tempering his tendency towards violence. They are close in a way that appealed to me. That too ties into the reveal and it takes the story in a distinctive direction. I don't know if I would have chosen that resolution, but it works for the story and I did wonder if things would end up that way.
Leo's character was very inscrutable and I didn't feel I got to know him very well. I guess for the purposes of the novel, it would have given too much away if I did. I hope to see more of him in the next book.
Las Vegas in this book isn't the one that instantly comes to mind. Trixa and her companions don't hang out on the Strip. Her bar is in downtown, which is called The Fremont Experience, and she spends a lot of time going to the areas (often rural) around Vegas. The scenery is so vivid that I did feel like I was along for the ride, which is important for me when I am reading a book. Since I don't get a chance to explore the outskirts of Vegas that much, usually spending my time on the main Strip, that was a nice way to explore Vegas as an armchair traveler.
As far as the storyline, it's quite dark, which is typical for Thurman. She mixes Judeo-Christian angel and demon lore with different folklore traditions to make an interesting combination. I normally don't think it works to stir too many different legends/myths together in a storyline, but it was well-done. I felt that the angels weren't very sympathetic or likable, which is a shame, since I love angels. The demons were what I would expect, but Thurman mixes in a lot of gray here. She makes you question the motives of both and wonder who's the pony to back. In the end, I understood what she was doing with this story, and it all came together satisfactorily.
I can't really give this five stars, because it didn't feel like a fiver for me, but it was close. It has a different feel that I enjoyed, and the characters are very complex and interesting. I think that some aspects weren't as clear as I wanted and I was left with some questions. There is this sense of a lack of resolution here that I suppose comes along with a potential series (and with characters of this sort). This is a dark story, which I do enjoy in a strange way. Although there something melancholy and morose here that stays with me that isn't quite satisfying. A sense that there is not one road to travel to the end destination. It comes with the territory when you mix up traditions this way.
Overall, a very good book. Another Rob Thurman to add to my keeper shelf. Looking forward to catching up with Trixa, Deke, Griffin, and Leo again.
Okay! That was a very interesting book. First of all, I applaud Ms. Ward for trying to do something different and tackle the whole Heaven versus HellOkay! That was a very interesting book. First of all, I applaud Ms. Ward for trying to do something different and tackle the whole Heaven versus Hell theme. I liked her spin on it, although the unfolding of theology is slightly different from what I'm used to. The reviews are mixed on this one. I can only speak for myself, but I loved it. I did one thing that really helped me to go into this book with no preconceived notions: I didn't look for more Black Dagger Brotherhood. If a reader does that, they will probably be disappointed. Be happy with the cameos, and take it from there. Be open to something different, and I think that will help.
This is a very different kind of story from the BDB. It's pretty ambitious too. Although the WARDen has been accused (maybe for good reason) of abandoning the paranormal format and going into urban fantasy, I really do believe this is urban fantasy with a strong romance. I will concede that the latter BDB books are urban fantasyish, but I still consider them primarily paranormal romance. This is the opposite. This is obvious right away, with the strong narrative focus on Jim Heron, who is the main protagonist, although not the romantic hero. That is Vin diPietro. Personally, I kind of like the hook about a guy recruited by Heaven in the Great Game between Good and Evil. He's got seven souls to save, and his mission starts now. It's fresh and interesting. And I love a story about "G. v. E."
Okay, so what did I like about this story?
First and foremost, I loved the protagonists: Jim and Vin. They are strong characters, both deeply flawed, but good men at heart. They are very similar in the fundamental ways. I liked how they seemed to click as friends. They had an ease between them that transcended their so-called socio-economic dividers. I think that Ms. Ward is great at depicting relationships between men that seem authentic (at least to me). She has tough guys, but they aren't all "I'm too macho for feelings." They are men with dreams, broken and intact, hearts, souls, and feelings. Like real men. I liked that they were both pretty straight-shooters, and had come from traumatic pasts to become who they are when this story starts. Therein lay the connection, I believe.
Vin was a character I loved from first meeting. He made me think of Rehv (who I am crazy about). He's ice cold on the outside (but I always felt like he was a good person at heart). I think he was somewhat remote with Devina, but he seemed to really respect women and treat them well. I like his ethics about not cheating and abusing women. His need for ownership, money and power was fascinating. I could totally see why he had that. It was a sense of false security when he had none growing up. I think there the paranormal elements were obligatory for this story, but it could have worked without him having a demonic influence to make him that way. It was great seeing him get some peace and resolution for his life. I felt so bad for how he had never had those things. Had never known love. I felt his love for Marie-Therese, and why she was what he wanted.
As for Jim, he was the other kind of hero I gravitate to. Sort of the salt of the earth type (despite his past as a lethal assassin). He really had a core of goodness. His way of taking care of Dog endeared him to me and warmed my heart, but I also liked his innate kindness and care for women. I think he found his mission in life, but part of me hopes he'll get a woman of his own one day. I think he is a great choice as the narrative focus for this series.
I also liked Marie-Therese. It was dicey crafting a heroine who turns to prostitution as a lifestyle. For the most part, I think Ms. Ward did it well. She didn't glamorize prostitution, and she didn't make it seem like doing that for a living didn't have an effect on a woman. I definitely believe it does. She didn't make Marie-Therese into too much of a plastic saint. If she was that sainted, she wouldn't have turned to hooking for a living. She even admits that she had options, but she chose that as a quicker way out of her problems (and for another reason that is a spoiler to discuss). I felt for her. I couldn't imagine doing that. We didn't really get offered the opportunity to analyze too many of the other girls, but we do get a glimpse into the other side. Gina is a girl who likes the lifestyle of a sex worker. She's up for it, and has no problem with it. I think there was a little balance there. I'm not sure if I wanted to see more of Marie-Therese, or if I was happy with what I got. I get a strong vibe that this is more of a story about men and their relationships with each other and with the women in their lives. In essence, the male voice is a much stronger focal point in the narrative. Much like the BDB books. But, by and large, I didn't have much of a problem with Marie-Therese. I did see that she was determined not to fall back into the old habit of waiting for her knight-in-shining armor to save her. In this case, he's there, but they will help each other. I could see her attraction for Vin, why he got in her heart. She was afraid that he was the same thing all over again as the man she'd made a mistake over, but I feel that she recognized the essential character of Vin, and that's what drew her to him. I think she was pretty layered. She was a good person, but she had some flaws, and she was passionate and earthy, although that part of her had been suppressed by her troubles in life and current profession. I was happy to see her find Vin (and the promise of future happiness), and I loved seeing her relationship with her son. I think she was too hard on herself, and I hope she learns to forgive herself.
The paranormal elements: I think this was well-done. Her view of angels and demons stays more on the realism side. There aren't wings and halos here. I liked how Jim could tell who was an angel or demon by their lack of a shadow. That was a nice touch. I liked the elements going into the lore and ritual of why Vin was in trouble, and getting him out of his fix. That was well-crafted and intriguing. I think Vin's backstory was fascinating. I'm hoping that he will show up in later books as a resource to the Fallen Angels in their battle. I'd love to see more of him. I liked Adrian and Eddie. I wish I had gotten to know them better. It seemed like I didn't see much of who they were initially, but as the story built, you could see what they were and how they were powerful assets to Jim. I especially liked the role that Eddie played in freeing Vin. I'm intrigued with finding out what Adrian's deal is. What's his power? What happened when he confronted the villain? My hope is that they will have a more prominent part in the forthcoming books.
The romance angle: I'm going to get busted for saying this, but I felt like Vin and Marie-Therese had sex too soon. I'd like to have seen them do more romancing and talking before they got physical. I think this was the tone for their lives prior (although Marie-Therese not by choice). I wanted to see their relationship start in a different manner, setting a new tone from the past. The love scenes were steamy, and I liked that Ms. Ward addressed a crucial issue for them both as far as being safe (considering their pasts). I do feel they had a connection and loved each other, but I probably could have seen a little more courtship outside of the physical, to be honest.
I'm loving Trez. He is the man! Can't wait to read his book! I like the relationship he had with Marie-Therese. He's a good guy. In the prior BDB books, you see him more as a bad MOFO, but he seemed very sweet in this book, although the menace was there when it needed to be.
Oh, can I say I adored Dog? What a sweet baby! He was so cute! I think he was just what lonely Jim needed. :)
The villain was a nasty piece of work. Completely evil and awful. I like to see a genuinely bad female villain, so that was pretty well done. I bet she's going to be up to even more despicableness in the following books. She was also pretty creepy (which I like in a good urban fantasy/horror setting).
What I was kind of 'meh' about: I'm not sure I really bought the execution of who turned out to be Marie-Therese's stalker. It seemed a bit anti-climactic. It played into the story arc very well, but I guess I needed more threads and breadcrumbs to buy his connection with Marie-Therese. It seemed to come a bit out of left field for me.
So, my final thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot. I did mention some things I thought could have been a little better for me. But, overall, I was pretty happy and impressed with this story. I like this concept a lot, and I think that the forthcoming stories will be even stronger. I think that most fans of JR Ward will like this book. If you don't care for the WARDen's hip lingo and brand name dropping, you will probably hurl the book into the corner. I am used to that about her, and I consider it part of her style. The things I love about her writing are here: her detail, her way of putting the emotions and the heart there. The characters I fall in love with, and their complex relations with each other. She doesn't let me down. And, like I said, I love the big stakes battle unfolding in this book. Long story short, Danielle was a happy camper!...more