I really loved this series, and so I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to this book. I think part of it is that the changeling/changeling roman...moreI really loved this series, and so I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to this book. I think part of it is that the changeling/changeling romances don't appeal to me as much as the psy/changeling... those totally different personality types coming together just, imo, make for a richer story.
That said, I enjoyed this. Riaz and Adria were fun, and while I could have stood for less Sienna (I know other people burned out on Sascha, but I love her... whereas Sienna just was a spoiled brat for too many books for me to really have been won over by her), I was thrilled to see the overall story continue to push forward... something I've always really loved about this series. I'm just so impressed at this lengthy series with a clear, strong direction and an exciting arc, that manages to keep moving as it flips from couple to couple with each book.
While I was happy to get to know Kaleb, as he's been such a compelling, mysterious character for many books now... I was little disappointed.
Firstly,...moreWhile I was happy to get to know Kaleb, as he's been such a compelling, mysterious character for many books now... I was little disappointed.
Firstly, I am just never a fan of characters suddenly having god-like superpowers. It flattens their characters immensely. I feel this way about Sienna, and I now feel this way about Kaleb (this began in the previous book, honestly, when he was revealed to be a double cardinal). It also flattens and arc they have, because it is hard to believe anything really poses a risk to them. Given that no one is as powerful as they are (until the author decides to make the next character even more uber... because the other bad side of this is that you're forced to keep stepping up the abilities to make new characters impressively powerful... or the new characters feel meh by comparison (total aside, that's why Tangle of Need was a bit meh to me, for example)), it is really hard to ever feel nervous about a threat against them. It's just a mistake.
Secondly, part of what I love about this series is the magnificent cast, and how they people each book even when they aren't the featured couple. This was much less the case in this book, as Kaleb is an outsider and Sahara didn't exist in the storyline up until this point, so they have no real relationship with anyone. The rest of the cast are pure tangents, and that's disappointing to me in a series that is usually so full.
That's not to say I didn't like it. I did. I guess I just expected more from what has become one of my favorite series, and the man who has been casting a long shadow across it for a very long time.(less)
I liked this one more than the last. But I still miss the confident, centered Lily Yu that we had in the earlier books of the series. She seems so muc...moreI liked this one more than the last. But I still miss the confident, centered Lily Yu that we had in the earlier books of the series. She seems so much more unsteady. That said, it was still a fun read, and it was nice to revisit the characters that I like so much.
As always, I love me some Mercy Thompson. This book was no exception. I'm excited to see where the politics of the Mercy-verse, as a whole, are leadin...moreAs always, I love me some Mercy Thompson. This book was no exception. I'm excited to see where the politics of the Mercy-verse, as a whole, are leading the series.
My only complaint (and no, I didn't downrank for this... that would be too petty), is where is Bran?! He's by far my favorite character in the entire verse, and I feel starved for every crumb I can get. There weren't nearly enough in this book.
But as always, the book didn't disappoint. I love that Mercy is a strong character, who takes care of everyone she loves ... all without having to be an alpha-bitch about it. I love that Mercy and Adam can love each other and want to protect each other... but manage to not undercut each other. They are stronger together than they are apart.
The worst thing about getting to visit one of my favorite series for the latest installment is finishing, and knowing it will be a year or more before I get to come back. :((less)
And whether I love this series or begin loathing it depends on where the series goes from her. If she forgives him, I'm done. Because (view spoiler)[rape is unforgivable. I don't care what his provocation was. He's worse than Ray. Because she never trusted Ray, never expected better from him, so though he may have raped her physically, her defenses were intact. Against Disco, she had no defenses, and him shredding her mind like that is unforgivable. The author very clearly portrayed it as a rape in the way she told it. She could have softened it if she wanted Disco to be forgivable, but she didn't soften anything. (hide spoiler)] And so because of how Saare chose to portray it, if she forgives him, I'm done with this series. Any story that tries to justify that level of violation is fucked in the head. It isn't justifiable, and it certainly isn't forgivable.
For now, it gets a tentative ***4.5***... but I reserve the right to come back and hate this book depending on how things go in book 3.
I brought my hands up and cupped his face. "I already have."
And that was when I deleted this from my kindle. 57...more"Forgive me for taking things too far."
I brought my hands up and cupped his face. "I already have."
And that was when I deleted this from my kindle. 57% in.
(Note: there are spoilers in the below... mostly about book 2, so... don't read if you want to not spoil yourself.)
Here's the deal. If Saare wanted Disco to be forgivable, then she shouldn't have painted his invasion of her mind at the end of book 2 as a rape. But she did. I know rape. I have first-hand knowledge of it. And I have worked as a volunteer at a halfway house for women fleeing domestic abuse, so I also have first-hand knowledge of the way countless women blame themselves, justify their abuse, tell themselves that "he loves me, he'll never do it again, it's just that I made him so mad."
I'm not interested in any book or series that helps women in these situations justify abuse they are receiving at the hands of someone who supposedly loves them. I'm not interested in any book or series that makes this something forgivable, and paints the heroine as out of her mind - LITERALLY - for being angry. Goose telling her she was being selfish, that should have been my last straw. But no, I read on, hoping that she'd grow some balls and find a way out of the situation.
Look, my problem is with the author, 100%. If she wanted him to be forgivable, she could have painted the invasion as uncomfortable, regrettable, embarrassing. Let me point out that Rhiannon was not wearing the amulet when this occurred - Saare was careful to point out that it came off with her sweater - so the emotions she was feeling as he tore through her mind were ALL HER EMOTIONS. Her screaming - so much so that people downstairs wanted to intercede - that trailed off to broken whimpers as he finished his business. Her shaking shame after he left her to "clean herself up", as she tried to get dressed. Her revulsion. If this was supposed to be a dramatic fight, you can write that without making it into a rape. I hate - HATE - reading rape in 99.99999% of books, because they are clearly written by fucktarded authors who want to up the drama, so they throw in some rape to make for easy betrayal, and then have the regretful heroine come to understand that she loves the rapist too much to continue pushing her away. These kinds of stories literally make me want to throw up. When I clicked to my menu and deleted this book, I was trying to not puke.
If you want your h/h to deal with betrayal, and be made stronger by their reconciliation, then make it a forgivable fucking betrayal. Not rape.
The fact that in this book, we just had abuse heaped on abuse only made it worse. She's not ready to deal with him yet, but he doesn't take no for an answer... he instead tears into her throat, bleeds her until she's woozy, and then forces her to take his blood in return. Or when everyone - EVERYONE - blames her for their falling out. Thinks she's being shitty to keep away from him. Let's please go through past events, because I'm trying to think of what transgressions justified Rhiannon's horrific abuse and then being shamed over her anger.
1. She got dragged into this entire situation against her will, in book 1. They laugh over the fact that she knows literally nothing about this supernatural world that they are forcing her to step into. Disco literally won't take no for an answer.
2. In doing the job for Disco, she suffers unbelievably. From reliving having a dead man's still-beating heart carved out of his living chest, to being beaten savagely by an incubus and his helper, and nearly raped. All because she's trying to do the right thing, and help Disco. (book 1)
3. She gets killed. (book 1) Gets killed, I'd like to stress, solving Disco's problem with another vampire, who, it turns out, was the guy carving those still-beating hearts out of vampire chests.
4. A demon - that DISCO made a deal with - shows up at her house and tells her that, basically because she's Disco's possession, she can be held responsible for the deal he made with the demon. He offers her what sounds like a simple solution to wrap it up, but tricks her and spirits her away. (book 1)
5. 75% of book 2 is spent dealing with the fallout of that (remember, HIS deal with the demon). But she finally makes it back to Disco, just in time to save his life. Hooray for Rhia!
6. He mentally rapes her. She is horrified and runs away. Apparently, this is unforgivable - everyone thinks she's being a bitch about it, and should just get over it, because he clearly regrets it. He won't do it again. Promise.
Fuck this book, and fuck this author... and ALL authors who write in rape as some dramatic tension-builder that their heroines can just get the fuck over and go back to the rapist hero that clearly loves them so much.
Goodreads, please create a system so I can give this kind of shit negative stars. (less)
This one is so, so hard for me to rate. Honestly, I always kick out reviews (when I am going to do them) immediately after reading the book, when I'm...moreThis one is so, so hard for me to rate. Honestly, I always kick out reviews (when I am going to do them) immediately after reading the book, when I'm still breathing the story... but I wonder if I wouldn't be better off with time to digest. Ah well, onward.
Let's begin with: this is one of my very favorite series ever. This book in no way diminishes that - it was a good cap to the series, and will keep it solidly in my favorites pile. But was it everything it could be? I just don't know. While I am left with a general feeling of satisfaction, there are definitely some things that don't sit perfectly with me.
I'm just going to throw this whole section in spoiler tags.
(view spoiler)[Firstly, a Jax book with literally no space travel, NO GRIMSPACE, it leaves me off-kilter. I think that the "she's grown and changed into a whole new woman!! kitsch was taken a bit too far in this book, and this is one place where that was definitely true. Yes, I liked that Jax no longer needs to be defined by her addiction to Grimspace, but at the same time... it is who she is. So much so that, for example, that is the tattoo that Vel wears in honor of her (the Ithtorian for "grimspace"). So much of the theme of this series seems to be that you can't find happiness if you subjugate yourself for someone else - a theme that I am completely in support of - but to literally completely deny this aspect of Jax in the final book of the series feels to go against that. I love that she no longer embraces Grimspace like a thrill-seeking addict, but at the same time, that space-faring Jax is Jax at her most alive. Her most vital. Her most real. It is hard to feel happily complete without a whole, vitally alive Jax. Even better would be a whole, vitally alive Jax, paired with March in Grimspace navigation.
That brings us to March. I'll be honest... I was pretty disenchanted with March coming into this book. Part of me hoped that, in the end, it would be Vel - the way the relationship between Jax and Vel has grown in this series... it is one of the most beautiful relationships that I have come across in any book. I was angry with March. Angry that he would set Jax aside for his needs, time and time again, but that he was pissy when she wouldn't give up everything she loved to live the life he chose for himself. He had a double-standard that was beyond unfair, and he'd been hurtful and hypocritical more times than I thought I could forgive. But it was hard... I still loved March, even while I resented him. Even when I felt like he was so inconsistent that I couldn't imagine how he could possibly ever really work out with Jax. Because Jax is many things, but inconsistent isn't one of them. She's loyal - sometimes too loyal - and she will always, always have your back once you've become part of her family. But the only person who has ever had Jax's back time and again is Vel. Not March. Not ever. When it comes to doing the things she feels she needs to do, he is not there at best... and a judgmental douchecanoe at worst.
That said, I was happy with Aguirre's resolution here. The conversation, at about the halfway point, where Jax and March put all the cards on the table - all the hurts they had been harboring - and discussed whether they really had a chance together... this was an excellent moment in this book. Jax said all the things I was thinking - she called him out on his double-standard (what's okay for him is somehow not for her) and most importantly, she called him out for being a martyr. She said she deserved better than to be his hair shirt. And it felt like March finally - finally!! - got it. And yes, I know, Jax has faults too... but she would be the last person to deny that. If anything, she beats herself up too much, takes too much onto herself. But March is just so uncompromising.
Until now. In this book, March learns to compromise... about everything. About the war, about Jax, about needing to be true to yourself, needing to keep your promises, needing to assuage your guilt... and most importantly, he learns to compromise about Vel. Because I just really couldn't have taken it if he had made her choose. If he had driven a wedge between them. Vel has always had Jax's back, he has always had the utmost faith in her, and more than anyone else, Vel's unwavering love and faith has helped Jax grow into this capable, unselfish human being that she has become. For anyone to try to separate them... it would have been devastating. But March comes to understand that you really can love someone without being in love with them (as Jax does with Vel), and you can be in love with someone without closing your heart to everyone else (as Jax does with March). It is such a beautiful, grown-up statement, and it was satisfying for that arc to resolve in such a peaceful way.
Do I think that Jax and March can really make a go of it? I... do. I really think I do. And I went into this book thinking the opposite. So make of that what you will.
Moving on... war. While I don't discount the importance of the war for hte La'heng, I guess I felt like it dominated the plot in a way that... well, I don't know. Maybe it has been too long since I read the other books, but I wasn't emotionally invested enough to spend the whole book there. Not as the LAST book in the series, you know? Again, not to say that I didn't support Loras and the La'heng's quest to be free, but... to have this book literally encompass 5 years of war just felt... I don't know. I understand the tying up of loose ends. And I understand that Jax felt like she needed to make amends to Loras (though promising to help free his entire race to make it up to him seems a bit excessive). I guess I just feel that, for the final book in this amazing series, I'd like to end somewhere more transcendent, more climactic for the series as a whole. Maybe exploring the Makers, or what Grimspace really is. I think this is where the root of my weird feeling is on this book. I wanted more, I wanted bigger. We've fought planetary wars, we've fought intergalactic wars... to end with a grueling space-less ground war that drags on for literally years, has no greater implications for the mythology of the series and ends with the La'heng saying "thanks so much for the help, now GTFO of our planet" just feels really unsatisfying. *shrug* (hide spoiler)]
Oh well. I could talk about this series forever, because I really do love it completely. It has been an incredibly emotional journey. I just wish it ended with more of a bang and less of a whimper.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[I don't buy Hancock's line that Grace was never the mission. That's bull. If it was true, the...moreI liked it - this is a fun series - BUT...
(view spoiler)[I don't buy Hancock's line that Grace was never the mission. That's bull. If it was true, then it would have never come down to Grace healing Elizabeth. Hancock claims he only needed Grace to get a meeting with Farnsworth, but then why didn't he shoot the man the minute he walked into Farnsworth's office with Grace? Mission complete. Booyah. So... I call bullshit.
Also, I missed the Kellys. Don't get me wrong, Rio is a great hero, but the secondary cast is literally the best part of this series - they flesh it out in a way that is just a joy to read. With Rio not being a Kelly, we got pretty much zero secondary interaction with the Kellys.
Lastly, meh. I don't know why, but I liked Shea better. And I resent that Grace was all over Shea's book (not literally, but the constant "she's so much more important and talented and amazing and wonderful" blah blah... yeah whatever, I get it) but Shea was pretty non-existent in Grace's book. Why on earth is Shea not equally valued? Why were both books pretty much entirely about the acquisition of Grace? Dude, in the kind of real world setting these books take place in, I'm pretty sure that the discovery of a woman actually capable of telepathy would excite some interest. It's just weird to me that she was a second-class citizen in her own book, and I had hope that in Grace's book she would get back some of her own... but nope. It's all about Grace. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It is interesting that this realistic-ish (I mean, how realistic is any romance novel, really... but it was set in the real world) series took this su...moreIt is interesting that this realistic-ish (I mean, how realistic is any romance novel, really... but it was set in the real world) series took this sudden PNR turn... but as someone who primarily reads fantasy, UF and PNR, it was great fun to me.
Besides, who can get enough of the Kelly family? They are always a fantastic fun read.(less)
This one is reaaaally tough for me to rate. See, I love Garrett. I have loved him since the first book. And I thought Sarah was a fantastic heroine, a...moreThis one is reaaaally tough for me to rate. See, I love Garrett. I have loved him since the first book. And I thought Sarah was a fantastic heroine, a real survivor, and absolutely not a doormat.
But here's the thing...
(view spoiler)[I can't get over the fact that he chose to seduce a rape victim, while lying to her about everything. I get he cared about her, I get the panting attraction, but... if he REALLY cared about her, he wouldn't have had sex with her when he was lying to her, when he was using her as bait for her brother. Yes, yes, Marcus was a bad man. But for whatever reason, he was good to Sarah, and she knew nothing about his other life. Marcus was her only rock, her only anchor, and he protected her fiercely, even killing a man who hurt her.
When someone has survived rape, trust is... a hard thing. To lie to Sarah, to use her and make her trust you, and then have sex with her because you think you love her... that's fucked up. Beyond fucked up. And from that point forward, I just really had a problem with the book. Because in my mind, nothing Garrett could ever, EVER, say or do would make up for such a flagrant betrayal of her trust. If he hadn't had sex with her, maybe. But to pretend to be someone he's not, and take advantage of her in that way... nothing could ever make that okay. If he was a decent human being AT ALL, he should have insisted on that step not being taken until the situation was over and he could be honest with her. If he cared about her, wanted to protect her, he wouldn't have done that. (hide spoiler)]
The thing that makes it so particularly hard is... I really love Garrett. I think that as I was reading it, and becoming appalled, my brain kept trying to sweep away the details, rewrite the book in my head, to have him not be that guy. To have him be the *amazing* guy that he was in the first 2 books.
So I don't know. I can't, in good conscience, give this any kind of good rating, because that was seriously fucked up, and made any kind of HEA unbelievable to me.
But I love Garrett.
Garrett and Sarah: A Maya Banks: F
Best I can do.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The truth is, I wasn't a fan of Winter well before this book, and this book didn't win me over. I'm not really down with the ma...moreEh, I was disappointed.
The truth is, I wasn't a fan of Winter well before this book, and this book didn't win me over. I'm not really down with the martyr/saint-types. Plus, I think I was just disappointed that he was the Ghost... I mean, he's been the obvious choice since the first book, and I was hoping Hoyt would surprise me. Oh well.
Well, I couldn't help but be disappointed in this one. It feels, to me, like the author isn't sure what to do now that she offed the nemesis,...more***3.5***
Well, I couldn't help but be disappointed in this one. It feels, to me, like the author isn't sure what to do now that she offed the nemesis, and so we end up just spinning our wheels on character development.
What I liked:
A villain that was just flat-out nuts. That was a fun change of pace. Some people have terrible things happen to them, and they just crack. From what we heard about her past, Salina was never really a good egg to begin with, but I liked that you had sympathy for where she'd been. I liked the juxtaposition of what could have been Gin's life.
Bria has finally gotten over herself. Thank god for that. The sanctimonious Bria of the last book really got on my nerves.
The secondary cast is, as always, brilliant. How can you not love Finn, Roslyn, Sophia and Jo-Jo (though none of them got much face-time in this book)? And I thought Kincade was a good addition... I expect he'll be around.
What I didn't like:
Gin being put into a really shit position by people she loved. I think that I'm tired of Gin being taken advantage of. People can't deal with a problem, they come to her, she deals with it, and then with all the shitty consequences that come with being who she is. For Eva to ask is... really shitty. For Eva to ask without making the whole thing perfectly clear to Owen (as in, telling him what happened, telling him that if Gin doesn't, she will) is unforgivable. I'd like to know how she justifies it in her head. Maybe "sorry I ruined your life, Gin, but I really needed you to do this"? Owen needed to know this came from Eva, and he needed to know she had cause. Not that Owen gets a free pass here, which brings me to my next point of irritation...
When did Owen become a fucking moron? I can't even really elaborate, because it would be both spoilery and... really really long. Because Owen sucked in every respect in this book. There wasn't one thing that he did that was a smart call. He was delusional, manipulative, a liar, and just a damn idiot for the entire book. And for him to bitch about Gin not trusting him at the end... ?? Are you fucking kidding me, dude? Yes, we should trust you, because you've proven over and over that your judgment is sound when it comes to Salina. Never mind that you lied to us about her, and, you know, appear willing to forgive the fact that (view spoiler)[she tortured your baby sister, made you nearly kill your best friend, and drowned Gin. (hide spoiler)] How silly of us. You are clearly uncompromised and the smartest guy around. I don't even want them to get back together. I want Gin to kick his stupid ass to the curb. Preferably while wearing steel-toed boots. But then, Gin should have spoken up about what all happened, which brings me to my last point of hatred...
Gin the doormat. For a badass assassin, she's really surprisingly emo. I think she should get a snake-bite piercing in the next book. She made the right call in a really shitty situation. But she does owe it to the people she loves to let them know the whole story. She told Finn. She told Jo-Jo. Why not fill Owen in? I'm not saying he deserves anything more than a kick to the cans, but she clearly wanted him to understand, so... give him the information. But no, she'd rather be all stoic and emo, so that she can sketch emo pictures and cry on her couch all day. Come fucking on. She made the right call. Everyone knows it but Owen (dude, if BRIA says bitch needed to die, then bitch needed to die). Give him the info, and if he can't see reality when it is staring him in the face, fuck him.
I really hope we can shake off the funk in the next book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I really just love this series. Definitely ranks as one of my favorites, and this was yet another fantastic installment. I am dying to see where we go...moreI really just love this series. Definitely ranks as one of my favorites, and this was yet another fantastic installment. I am dying to see where we go next!(less)