**spoiler alert** Ward's tome-length novels usually take forever to get through, but this one moved quickly. The focus stayed mostly on Rhage and Mary**spoiler alert** Ward's tome-length novels usually take forever to get through, but this one moved quickly. The focus stayed mostly on Rhage and Mary, who discover that they want to be parents despite Mary's infertility. Together they figure out they want to adopt. The other 'mated pairs' do some soul-searching about parenting too. Some of them already have kids, some don't want them at all, etc. Rage and Mary move quickly through adoption, since there's a kid on the spot who needs a family, but Ward manages to imply some sort of mystical fate-connection to justify it. Which makes perfect sense in a book about modern-day GTO-driving vampires in upstate NY.
Quinn's babies are born. Layla, the baby mama, is still trying to figure out what to do about her feelings for Xcor, who's being held prisoner. There's a new vampire guy (Assail) in the mix, and a new pretrans called Jo who doesn't realize yet that she's a vampire. The other Brothers are still stomping around killing lessers. Something's going on with the Scribe Virgin that has intriguing possibilities for future plots. There's lots of stuff about counseling and domestic abuse, since that's what Mary does for a living. So there's still lots of complicated backstory and lots of other plot threads, but the central focus on Rhage and Mary help the other things move along. It's better than the last few novels, which were waaaay too much. I think Ward is more effective when she sticks to the original Brotherhood, expanding on and adding to their storylines instead of trying to flesh out new characters. It's a big and confusing enough 'verse already....more
**spoiler alert** I find myself thinking about this book at oddball moments, like this morning in the car on my way to work, and laughing. The author**spoiler alert** I find myself thinking about this book at oddball moments, like this morning in the car on my way to work, and laughing. The author made choices here that are just... bad. Or sad. Or maybe both. One of the most likable characters in this universe was a smart-alec 14 yr old girl with superpowers and a dark past. Moning really ruined things by fast-forwarding Dani's life and morphing her into a 20-something femme fatale called Jade. Dumb. The "Jade" character is dull. She fights! She's cold as ice! She's fearless! Guys get ah-ooga cartoon eyes when they see her! As if that's not enough, the author has one of the other main characters (whats-her-name, Mac) rhapsodize over "Jade's" beauty, her now-straight hair and nice boobs. When you first meet Jade she's stalking through the streets in stiletto heels, oiled legs and a short dress (the oiled legs make me snort-laugh even now). There's absolutely nothing of Dani left, and she was the only voice in this universe who seemed to have something original to say...
And the whole reason for this smashup is because Dani/Jade is destined to be some ancient guy's love interest, and it's creepy for Ryoden to have romantic interest in a 14 yr old. Not that aging her 5 years matters -- tell me again why any man who's been alive for thousands of years (there's a whole group of them here, they're cursed with immortality) would be enthralled by a 20 yr old? It's icky no matter how you do it. The 20-something thing kind of worked in the first series with Mac because you learn along the way that Mac isn't all that she seems -- not even she's aware of her own abilities and what's lurking in her brain, so it sort of makes sense. And the romance stuff comes at the end of the series. But Moning had to mess with that, too, rewriting some stuff from the earlier books to add to or edit that storyline. Again, no. Leave it alone.
Back to this book: Mac goes invisible and creeps around the club, spying on people, which is completely awkward. There's a whole subplot with the unseelie king that makes no sense. Then another character gets locked in a dungeon (essentially - it's really a very nice apartment) to learn how to control her powers, but you don't see anything happening there, she just disappears from the storyline and you check in on her to find she's meditating. There's a rescue attempt where Mac and Jade a some of the cursed guys go tooling around Europe in a Humvee with Jade lying attractively across their gear in the way back. (I can't stop laughing, sorry)
I don't have any idea where the author intends to go here, but I really don't think I care to find out. Originally Mac et al were interesting to read about as their world imploded and they had to figure out who they were and what kinds of choices they were going to make (a lot of moral stuff), but the focus has switched entirely to hair, makeup, and sex. Too bad. Dani was cool and this could've been a good YA crossover character/series....more