Ah, the conclusion to the Living in Eden series. I didn’t realize this was going to be a trilogy, so that was a bit of a surprise, but it was a welcomAh, the conclusion to the Living in Eden series. I didn’t realize this was going to be a trilogy, so that was a bit of a surprise, but it was a welcome one. I love that the author didn’t draw it out too long. I’m sorry to say goodbye to Eden and Darrak, but I’d much rather end on a high note, still wanting more, than have the series drag on forever.
This has been a really fun series. If you haven’t read the two previous books, I don’t recommend you start here. It doesn’t stand on its own very well. For the past two books we have seen Darrak and Eden struggle to come to terms with their feelings and the fact that they are stuck together. They haven’t had the smoothest path, but they’re both still hopeful that they can find a way to get Darrak out of Eden’s body, without hurting him. Also, they’re highly motivated to find a solution, given that they can’t have sex without repercussions until they fix his curse. Sounds simple, right? Right…
The Darrak we see in this book is a bit of a change from the guy we’ve known in the past two books. I’ve always enjoyed his voice, so I noticed right off that he was a bit more subdued than he was before. He still had some nice lines, but the jokes and sarcasm weren’t as frequent as before. Instead, we saw a more vulnerable side of him. He’s finally come to realize what Eden means to him and struggles to reconcile that with their situation and the person he used to be. He also has to come to terms with the fact that he and Eden might not being seeing eye to eye on their feelings and their hopes for the future.
Eden is not quite as likable as she was in the past, but it’s (mostly) understandable, given what all has happened to her. She’s trying to roll with the punches, but it seems like the hits just keep coming and it’s wearing on her. She’s stressed and having a hard time controlling her magic and just wants her body back to herself. She cares about Darrak too much to take the easy way out, but she could use a break right about now. She just doesn’t have the energy to deal with feelings and what-ifs when they don’t even know how to get out of their current situation. Eden’s desperate for a solution, but when things are taken out of her hands and solved for her, she starts to reevaluate how she actually feels.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, and this trilogy in general, is that not all the characters are nice people. They’re not the “bad” guys of the story, per se, they’re just crappy people who sometimes make crappy choices. I liked that the author didn’t feel the need to excuse their actions and make everyone friends in the end. I know that some people like everyone singing “Kumbaya” at the end, but I’m not one of them. Take Ben, for example. I loathe him with a fiery passion. If I had watch him be excused for his douche behavior then I might have had to punch my book. And I don’t want to do that. Because that would be the final straw in convincing my husband that I’ve gone ‘round the bend. That loathing goes double for a person close to Eden who popped back up, by the way. They did some things in this book that cut even the slight amount of sympathy I had for them.
I found this book really readable and enjoyed seeing it all wrapped up, but it wasn’t perfect. As I mentioned before, Eden was less likable and Darrak was more subdued. We also ended up seeing much less of him than usual, due to things that I won’t discuss, so the usual dynamic was a bit off and not as gripping. I felt that things were a little too easy for Eden in regards to her magic. She never got any control of herself—no matter how much Darrak nagged—she just had the equivalent of an “Easy” button to clear up her problem. Way too convenient.
I found the developments with Lucifer very interesting. I like that the author didn’t make things as black and white as they originally seemed. I was surprised to hear the particulars of Lucifer’s connection to hell, but it made sense once I thought about it. I enjoyed how it all resolved and liked getting a little glimpse of the future for Darrak and Eden in the epilogue. I’m sorry to say goodbye to this series, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.
”Stanley?” Darrak said after a moment. “Do you know who this is?” A pause. “No, it’s okay. Don’t be scared. I’m not going to do that to you.” Another pause. “Seriously, I’m not. Evisceration is extremely messy and the cleanup is a—Come on. Stop crying. Be a man.”
One thing I’ve learned while reading the Dirk & Steele series is that defeating the bad guy doesn’t necessarily mean that things are over. StoryliOne thing I’ve learned while reading the Dirk & Steele series is that defeating the bad guy doesn’t necessarily mean that things are over. Storylines and characters are interwoven throughout the series and things have a way of coming back around. Such is the case with Soul Song. When we meet M’cal his situation seems eerily familiar. We have to wonder, is it coincidence or is history repeating itself?
Imagine falling in love and opening yourself to a person. But instead of happiness you find yourself made a slave; your will stripped. You are compelled to do unspeakable things, and over the years you find yourself emptier and emptier. You have no relief from the torment—the only pleasure you are allowed to feel is from the touch of the woman who enslaved you, and that in itself is a form of torture. That is the M’cal we are introduced to in the beginning of the book. He is a man lost and my heart broke for him. Watching him find happiness gave me a warm feeling inside.
I really appreciated having a book with Kitala Bell in it. Ever since being introduced to her in Tiger Eye I’ve been curious to get to know her better. I was very surprised to find that she is more than just the good friend of Dela, she has a hidden magical ability of her own. She’s gone out of her way to avoid further developing her abilities, so she’s stuck in a plateau. She can’t avoid seeing how these people will be killed, but she can’t seem to change anything and is frustrated by her inability. When she meets M’cal, suddenly she finds out that she has been living in a world filled with supernatural people, just like her, and never even knew it. She’s helplessly fascinated by him and his deadly music and can’t resist the urge to feel his music and add to it. Her abilities unwittingly compliment his own and give them both the opportunity to try to defeat M’cal’s captor and survive.
There are still twists and turns to be found here, but on the whole it’s a lot smoother than the previous book was. I didn’t have any of those odd moments of disorientation, where I wasn’t really sure if I had missed something or not. The plot unfolds smoothly and sucks you into the joy and helpless despair M’cal and Kit find in their situation. Once again Liu has managed to provide complex characters who will leave you questioning yourself as the details are revealed. Does personal tragedy make what the villain is doing okay? What exactly are you willing to forgive? Can one good act change your feelings about a lifetime of neglect? These are all things I asked myself as I read the book. Nothing is clear cut, and sometimes you’ll find yourself uncomfortable with how easy it is to sympathize with the villain.
I really enjoyed Kit and M’cal together and thought that they were both exactly what each other needed. I still winced a little over how quickly they fell for each other, but that was easily swept aside as I was sucked into the rest of the book. At times I found Kit’s actions a little idiotic, but she’s a steady enough character for the rest of the book that I didn’t hold it against her too much. My favorite crow, Koni, is back in the action and I am really hopeful that we might one day have a story about him. Sometimes he’s the only (much needed) voice of levity in a very serious situation. We also got to see some of the other previous Dirk & Steele characters, which gives us a nice character refresher before we head into the next book.
”Keep your hands above the covers.”
“Give me a break,” Koni replied, staring at the ceiling. “I am not a total pervert. Although, to be honest, consider the night we’ve been having. First handcuffs, and now this? Way more kinky than I expected.”
“Please,” M’cal said. “Do not talk.”
“You like the strong and silent type, huh?”
“If you do not shut up, I will kill you with my voice.”
“I love it when you talk dirty.”
“Fine. Which do you prefer to lose first? Your soul or your testicles?”
“You know, you’re just a bit obsessed with chopping off balls. Do you have issues with your masculinity?”
Eden Riley is a skeptical psychic. After helping the Chief of Police's wife find her missing dog she was pressured into taking a job as a psychic consEden Riley is a skeptical psychic. After helping the Chief of Police's wife find her missing dog she was pressured into taking a job as a psychic consultant for the police. No one is more miserable about this arrangement than Eden. She freely admits that she doesn't believe she's psychic. She gets hunches that pan out, but she can't make herself have psychic visions. That means she's not psychic, right? Unfortunately for Eden, on her first consultant job she gets a hunch about where a serial killer is and ends up with more than she bargained for. All of a sudden she's hearing a man's voice in her head and she just doesn't know what's going on.
Darrak is a demon who has to jump from host to host to survive. Unfortunately for Eden, that serial killer was his last host and when Detective Ben killed him Darrak was forced to jump to another body. Guess who that turned out to be? Yes, Darrak and Eden now inhabit the same body. This is something new for both of them as Eden has never had a demon in her (obviously) and Darrak has never jumped to a female before.
Watching Darrak and Eden navigate the boundaries of their new life was fun. The author actually addresses subjects that the common reader would ask. What happens when Eden needs to go to the bathroom? What happens if she wants to get physical with someone? They have very funny exchanges throughout the book and the momentum never stops.
I really liked that Eden didn't trust Darrak right away. I think it was very realistic for her to try to take the measures that she did. She unwittingly started an undesirable chain of events, but how was she supposed to know? She was looking out for number one. I also really liked the facts that we found out about Darrak. I liked that he tried to present himself in the best possible light and that Eden had to figure out if she was okay with the reality of who he was once she found out more about him.
All in all a fun new series that I would definitely recommend. ...more
When I first started reading this book I didn't think I'd like it very much. Every time I turned a page Olivia was crying again. I don't require my heWhen I first started reading this book I didn't think I'd like it very much. Every time I turned a page Olivia was crying again. I don't require my heroines to be emotionally dead, but come on, you're embarrassing me and I'm not even in the scene! I feared that she'd spend the whole book sobbing at the drop of a hat. That is definitely not the heroine for me. Luckily, Olivia bounces back pretty quickly. She's still a little bipolar at times, but for the most part she becomes well adjusted.
This book was a quick, light read. I know that they're supposed to be angsty and tortured with the demons and all, but that's not how this series comes across to me at all. They had some really funny parts in this book. I liked watching Aaron struggle with himself. He cracked me up when he'd cave to her pressure and compliment himself on what a great guy he was. I wouldn't have been surprised if his demon had slapped him on the back and congratulated him for taking one for the team (metaphorically of course).
Watching Olivia learn to be human was also entertaining. She had the right idea in making sure she experienced the most in life. If you're going down, you might as well make it worth it. The angel council seemed pretty harsh. I don't know whether humanity should be worried or not with these guys pulling the strings.
Legion, and Aaron's blindness toward her, got old really quick. What a selfish creature. I didn't enjoy so much page time devoted toward her and after her actions in the bathroom (trying to avoid spoilers) toward the end I wonder what part she's going to have in the future of the series. Also, Aaron's willingness to do that-thing-to-save-them-all (vague again!) was totally upsetting to my romance-reader heart. It was really depressing because I didn't see a way out of it. Even though he was upset about it, it still pissed me off that he even agreed. That's not the way it's supposed to happen! The author did choose the one route I didn't see him taking, so it all worked out. Sort of...
The events at the end kind of seemed to come out of nowhere. I thought Olivia's explanation for why she was able to help Aaron was pretty weak. You argued that? And it worked? Also, meeting that friend toward the end left the book with a somber note. You're happy for Olivia and Aaron, but you still can't help but feel bad.
It was a toss up between 3 stars and 4 stars for this book. I swung toward 4 because even though the end seemed really weird and out of place, I had a good time reading it and was entertained. ...more
Eh. This one started off well, but it didn't last. I was very pleased by how much I was enjoying the book but then the relationship started to get a vEh. This one started off well, but it didn't last. I was very pleased by how much I was enjoying the book but then the relationship started to get a vibe to it that I didn't like. After that I kept losing interest, especially once the relationship delved into cutesy territory.
Rosalia and Deacon play the lead in this book. If you've read the last book in the series, Demon Forged, you'll know*Originally Read 7/5/10 - 7/6/10*
Rosalia and Deacon play the lead in this book. If you've read the last book in the series, Demon Forged, you'll know the connection that Rosalia and Deacon have. If you haven't read Demon Forged I would not recommend you read this book. Too many things happened in the last book for you to skip it. The Guardians were fundamentally changed, and the back story for Deacon is played out in it.
I liked Rosalia and Deacon, but I think they had a hard time living up to my love of the characters in the last book. They're both great characters, but they're more subdued then the tempestuous relationship between Irena and Alejandro. This book is great, but it also has the feel of a set up book.
One of the best things about the characters this author creates is that they have real vulnerabilities and insecurities. They don't come off as flat characters, they feel real. Deacon is consumed by self loathing over his apparent failure to save his people. He made a deal with a demon and got burned for it. He wanted to die, but he pulled himself up and tried to find a purpose for himself. He cannot see the good in himself anymore. Because of the way he views himself he cannot believe that anyone would think he was worth anything. That's a major stumbling block in the path to relationship bliss for him and Rosalia.
Rosalia has a past consumed by what she considers her many failures. When she loves, she puts the wants and needs of that person ahead of her own. She'll take pain and heartache and never show it, she'll just move past it. Even with her horrible past she is still an optimist. She is optimistic that one day she'll be able to break that character flaw. :) Rosalia is not like many of the Guardians we have seen in the past. She does not have the history or connection with the other Guardians that most of them have. She has spent most of her time as a Guardian keeping her brother in line and watching over her vampires. She's always got a plan, and a back up plan.
In this book her plan is something so bold and daring that it will either be a huge victory for the Guardians or will be responsible for a lot of deaths. I liked the risks that Rosalia took with her role as a Guardian. She had to confront some hard truths about where the line really is between demons and Guardians. Is it just good intentions? Rosalia goes beyond the line most Guardians are willing to cross, all for the sake of the greater good.
I'm so glad that we got to see a lot of Taylor in this book. After what happened to her in the last book, I was dying to see what was happening with her. This book shows a rough time for Taylor. She's struggling with her new role of Guardian, and trying to keep control of her mind and body. What Michael did had a harsh consequence for Taylor. She's in a dominance struggle for her own body. I think that when Taylor and Michael get their book, they're going to have a lot of issues to work out before they get their HEA. Hell has stripped a lot of layers of Michael's humanity from him. He is down to instinctual emotion and reactions. Before the end, we find out why he's been struggling with Taylor, and we finally learn why Michael never wears shoes.
I can't wait for the next book. This world gets more and more interesting with every book. I can't wait until 2012, when we get Michael's book, but I dread saying goodbye to this series....more
This was an entertaining read. I can’t say that it was very original, as I saw many familiar elements mixed together, but that’s not something I requiThis was an entertaining read. I can’t say that it was very original, as I saw many familiar elements mixed together, but that’s not something I require for every read. What matters most is that the author took the world and tweaked it enough to make it her own. The world rules occasionally felt a bit complicated and bulky, but the author explained it all well and kept me from getting confused. I liked the unique spin Day gave on the reason lycans and vampires existed in the world. I, unfortunately, felt that some of the elements she featured were not given the weight they needed, but I’ll get into that more shortly.
I was uncertain about whether or not I would like this book in the beginning. It felt a bit overdone and I got tired of the overuse of adjectives and the fawning adoration of how hot the angels were. I was surprised by how modern the ancient angels felt, as well. I had to adjust mindsets and shed the expectations I had for a more serious, intense PNR, so I could enjoy what the book actually was.
I thought the premise of this book was pretty interesting. I’m not much of a fan of reincarnation, but I didn’t mind how the author handled it here. I originally got the impression that the author was just going to throw it in there without delving into it much but she surprised me at the end. I wasn’t too keen on Adrian punishing others for the same transgressions he was committing, but I understood why he thought it was necessary. It did make it a bit ridiculous, though.
I liked the angle about Shadoe dying again and again throughout time as a punishment for Adrian. But after getting a peek at Shadoe’s core personality I thought Adrian wasn’t missing much with her gone. She seemed very unlikable and it was hard to see what inspired the love that drove him to reunite with her again and again. Lindsay, on the other hand, I liked. I felt her character occasionally lacked nuance, but she stood out as thoughtful, considerate, strong, and a fighter. She was completely unlike the previous incarnations of Shadoe and we got to see Adrian fall for Lindsay instead of just falling for the girl housing Shadoe’s soul.
I thought the attraction and the desperation to be together before time ran out was really well done. Lindsay finds herself unable to resist Adrian without knowing why. Finding him attractive would be normal, but she feels a compulsion to touch him, to claim him. She’s a straightforward girl and is willing to act on those feelings—which I liked—but she also finds herself “falling” for him within just a few hours of knowing him—which I didn’t like. In addition to that, she has no problem sleeping over the first night (not for sex) despite barely knowing him and having already heard him proclaim that she couldn’t leave. Once we got into the thick of the romance I liked it, but I winced over how unrealistic I found some of the beginning stages, before that point.
Although I liked the world Day created, I thought she played with things that I felt needed to have more weight to them. For one, she linked the angels to God and by extension, religion, instead of going the usual route and casting the angels as removed from religion. Souls were mentioned frequently, but they didn’t seem to be an important factor in the world (other than to create a line between angels, lycans, and vampires) which surprised me because God/religion was brought into play, and souls are definitely important in that. And reading about the actual transgressions that made the angels lose their wings led the reader to regard God as the villain more than anyone else. Added to that, the way the lycan slavery was treated made me uncomfortable. Lindsay, a girl from the regular world, didn’t like it, but she didn’t really make a stand against it either. Even though her friend/guard, Elijah (loved him), was directly impacted by it and was in a particularly dangerous situation for a lycan. I just needed more focus placed on these things so I could feel more comfortable with it.
I’m curious to see where Day is planning to take us in this trilogy. I’m a bit nervous about the punishment that might eventually come down on Adrian, but I’m trying not to lose my HEA high by dwelling on it. I’m eager to get my hands on the second book so I can delve into Elijah’s story. He ended this book in a tight spot and it’ll be interesting seeing him try to wiggle out of it.
Lindsay shook her head. "No."
Adrian's features lit with a glorious smile. He twisted swiftly and she found herself beneath him, filled with him.
"I know what it means when you say that," he murmured, hooking his arm beneath her leg and drawing it up, opening her so completely he hit the end of her.
Panting in exquisite torture, she managed, "It means run. Save yourself."
"All of which says, 'I'm falling for you. Adrian.'"
I was browsing the bookstore when this cover caught my eye. I read the back of it and figured I'd give it a try. I wish I would have known it was partI was browsing the bookstore when this cover caught my eye. I read the back of it and figured I'd give it a try. I wish I would have known it was part of a series first. Unfortunately this book does not stand on its own well at all. There were so many characters running around that I was irritated. I found Lore's newly discovered brothers especially irritating. I suppose if I had read their books first I would have had some investment in them and might have been glad to read about them again. Obviously that wasn't the case with me.
Lore can kill with a touch (even inadvertently) which makes it very awkward for him to have the sex that he needs to keep his rage down. He's also bound to Deth as an assassin until he completes his 100th kill. His last kill is assigned to him and this time he isn't given the option to say no. Deth also gives him a time limit that he has to complete his last kill by or his sister, Sin, will die. Needless to say he's determined to kill the guy even though it will put him at odds with his brothers.
While trying to take out his target he comes into contact with Idess. She's basically an angel-in-waiting and guards people who have an important destiny until she finally makes it to heaven. One of the people that Idess is assigned to guard is the very same person that Lore has to kill. Idess and Lore have several confrontations until Idess gets the upper hand. Unfortunately for Idess another one of the people she has to protect is in danger too. She ends up very busy trying to keep all of her charges safe.
Idess and Lore seem to have good chemistry together. There's nice sexual tension between them and their dialogue together is amusing. I think if more time had been spent on developing them and their relationship I would have been happier. I could never forget that they had known each other a matter of days when they were overcome with love. There was way too much page time devoted to other characters and it definitely impacted the believability of the main character's romance for me.
The type of book this was and tone of it really reminded me of Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. I think if you enjoy those books you might like these ones too. I'd definitely recommend starting with the first one though.
I don't think I'll read any more in this series. I'm mildly interested in Sin's story but I think I would be just as lost to all the previous book references in that one as I was in this one. It really pulls you out of the story when you're constantly wondering what everyone is talking about....more
I cannot believe I did this to myself again. I opened this book and didn’t stop until I had inhaled it. And it was so good* Originally Read 8/21/11*
I cannot believe I did this to myself again. I opened this book and didn’t stop until I had inhaled it. And it was so good to revisit this world, but now I’m horribly aware of the looooong wait for the final book. And it’s Michael’s book, so that just makes it even harder. I don’t want to say goodbye, but I want it so bad. I know I’m not going to be able to hold out a whole year. I’m going to crack and have to reread them all to torture myself some more.
I was really surprised to discover how different this entry felt from the earlier books in this series. That’s not a bad thing, I actually liked seeing things from another perspective, but it was unexpected. I think if you were completely new to the series you could jump into this book without a lot of the same issues you would experience by jumping into one of the other ones. The third book, Demon Night, also seems like an easy place to jump in. I DO NOT recommend it, however, because I think this series is best experienced from the beginning, so you can watch each twist and turn develop in the story arc. And I seriously cringe in horror over the thought of someone starting with this book and spoiling themselves for the intense events in Demon Forged.
One of the most surprising things about this book was how removed it was from the Guardians. The hero tried his hardest to steer clear of them so he could fulfill his own mission, so we spent most of the story solely focused on Ash and Nicholas. We occasionally cut away to spend some time in Taylor’s POV (squee!) and eventually get some time with the Guardians, but for the most part it’s just them. Luckily, they were great together. Ash was especially hilarious, owing to her problem feeling emotion, and watching Nicholas become frustrated by her lack of memory was fun.
Ash is the worst demon ever, but that’s what makes her so fun. She cannot remember anything, so we get a crash course on the ins and outs of demons right alongside her. I really enjoyed getting a deeper look at the Rules and what was and was not allowed and how that could be twisted. Nicholas finds her a little frustrating at first, and is very suspicious of her—big surprise. Who isn’t he suspicious of? I loved watching him be bothered by her staring—she’s isn’t worried about making people uncomfortable—and I laughed to myself as he tried to figure out whether or not she really was that clueless and actually did want him. I can’t blame him for being suspicious, especially because what he knew about demons was pretty concrete, but I wish he had let it go earlier. Luckily, neither of them were unreasonable and both were willing to own when they screwed up.
I loved watching Ash and Nicholas grow into themselves together. They both started the book in a kind of childlike state. They inadvertently helped each other discover themselves, but it wasn’t without bruised feelings along the way. I also really, really liked how the author played with what makes a person who they are. I, personally, agree with the decision that Ash made, and the reason she did. I would have been very unhappy if it had gone any other way. I am firmly of the belief that the person you are is what life and experience has made you. Change one thing and it might change everything. You might never had ended up the person you are today.
In addition to a lovely romance, we are also treated to an ever deepening story arc. Each book has layered onto this storyline, which is why I really think people cheat themselves if they skip around. I am constantly impressed by the depth and intensity we get in each book and am amazed at how well balanced they are. Not only do we get a great romance, we also get an intricate story full of well developed characters and plots galore. I am really excited to see how this will all resolve in the end.
"And I wasn't thinking of a plane." When she looked at him blankly, Nicholas clenched his teeth and counted to three. "I know you can fly."
Her eyes widened and she looked down at her hands. "I can shape-shift into a bird? How?"
Jesus H. Christ. The next time he made a bargain, Nicholas would damn well make certain the demon knew more than a bag of bricks.
I can't say that I read much Fantasy romance, but I was intrigued when I read the description of this book. It made it seem like the book would be fulI can't say that I read much Fantasy romance, but I was intrigued when I read the description of this book. It made it seem like the book would be full of uncertain politics and tense relations between two factions. The politics and twists and turns were one of the things I loved about the Tairen Soul series, another Fantasy Romance series I've read, so I was hoping for the same thing here.
Although I found the world idea interesting, it wasn't developed as well as I'd hoped. In the beginning we're introduced to Annika, a Na'Chi (AKA a Na'Reish/Light Blade halfbreed), Kalan, a Light Blade warrior (human), and the Na'Reish, the race of demons who captured Kalan. The plot develops from there, with Annika striking a bargain with Kalan to help him escape. They both initially distrust each other, and even occasionally fear each other, but they are forced to learn to rely on one another in order to successfully survive the escape.
Unfortunately, not much more development happens in regards to the world setup. The author developed the broad strokes of the world, like... There are demons and there are humans and they don't like each other. Halfbreeds are abominations that are rarely allowed to survive. The Na'Reish seem to have no religion, but the Light Blades believe in a goddess--who is indicated by the incessant use of italics and capitalization of the words "Her" and "She"--and their whole culture seems to be based around her, excuse me, Her influence. But that's about it for worldbuilding. At the very end more detail is given, but even then it wasn't enough. I needed more depth to the world and characters to truly become engaged.
One thing that I really enjoyed was the tension and wariness between Annika and Kalan in the beginning. Both of them took a big leap in trusting each other, but there was no other alternative. Their wariness was not cured in an instant, and they both spent a lot of time watching for betrayal. Of course, I didn't like that the heroine only proved that she was different from the other demons by showing her humanity. That seemed to translate into her showing her soft and caring side. Basically, she had to be emotional. This left the heroine feeling rather young and overly emotional, at least for me. Then again, I found the whole tone of the book flowery and overly emotional in general. Given that the Tairen Soul series reads the same way, I have to wonder, given my relative inexperience with the genre, if that's just the style of most Fantasy Romances.
The romance took its cue from the rest of the book and stayed underdeveloped. Kalan and Annika were likable characters, but their connection came too easily once they got past their initial mistrust. Love came way too quickly for both of them, and given Kalan's position and the responsibility on his shoulders, I expected more of a struggle over divided loyalties. The lack of it gave the whole Light Blade culture, and the romance, a superficial feel. Even at the end, when Annika is faced with the threat of an addiction she'd fought to avoid, we're still only given a bare minimum focus on it. It wasn't gone into at all, and I had to wonder why the author even felt the need to bring it up if she wasn't going to treat it as important.
I liked the book's focus on prejudice, and especially liked that the author wasn't afraid to play with who was to blame in the situation between the Na'Reish and the Light Blades, but I found the overall plot to be predicable and the conflict to be too easily solved. The situation lacked the intensity I was looking for and I was left feeling ho-hum about it when it ended.
"Hesia was right. The real test of a person is whether they can see past the names and labels." His gaze was steady. "I've seen you. You laugh, you fear, you cry, you love. You're as human as me, Na'Chi."
I finished this book last night and I’m still conflicted. I honestly don’t know whether I liked it or not. It’s one of those grey books that leaves yoI finished this book last night and I’m still conflicted. I honestly don’t know whether I liked it or not. It’s one of those grey books that leaves you with murky feelings and makes you wonder if you should check out the next book before you make up your mind.
I found this book really hard to get into. The writing felt distancing, although it became apparent to me later that this was on purpose, and I didn’t warm up to the characters easily. The world itself was a little hard to figure out, but I eventually got a handle on all the particulars of it—I still struggled until the end, though. I really think this book spent way too much time trying to be mysterious and not enough time on development.
The new world is filled with Shredders and Intel dogs and Text speak (which was seriously like nails on a chalkboard for me) and it got a little confusing. I didn’t understand that why’s of it all. I got that old people—or at least old compared to the new desirable age group—were no longer acceptable and that the hubs had turned into a wastrel’s paradise, but why? I still don’t understand how society got to that point. And when exactly did the vampires and demons and werecreatures come into play? I got the impression it was around the time everything else went to hell, but this wasn’t explained at all. I eventually shrugged it off, but it still continues to nag at me. Maybe we could have just had a quick opening page/prologue offering a quick explanation to ease us in?
In the beginning I didn’t like Gabriel very much. I found his motives for following the mysterious Abby less than sympathetic and was a bit repelled by the way his vampirism was presented. I suppose I prefer my vampires more controlled and sexy and less easily swayed by bloodlust. It’s all right, though. I adjusted to how it was presented in the book. I eventually came to appreciate his struggle to be more than just a monster and was sympathetic to his search to find Abby as more symbolic than not. He ended up being the most well developed character in the book and I found that he was really the only one I found sympathetic, other than the oldster, when the book ended.
The book was slow and grim and felt a bit claustrophobic because of being stuck in such a small area with so few people. It didn’t help that those people were prickly and secretive and getting any information out of them was like pulling teeth. I’m honestly surprised that it didn’t bother Gabriel more than it did, because it drove me nuts. I had a really hard time adjusting to the narrative style changes the author employed. In Mariah’s pov it was first person but in everyone else’s it was third. I did not like this, but I know that’s not going to be the same for everyone.
Midway through the book I started to get tired of the lack of information and deliberate mysterious air the author was employing. It became tedious and irritating. I knew exactly where it was going and I was tired of character development being circumvented by the distance necessary to achieve that air. After all was finally revealed toward the end, we ended up getting a huge infodump to bring us up to speed on all the information that had been kept from us. It made a lot of behaviors and situations make more sense, but it didn’t really change the fact that I spent most of the book bored with the way it was written.
There is a romantic arc in the book, but it doesn’t end with a HEA or even a HFN. Gabriel ends the book fulfilled in one sense but absolutely destroyed in another. He’s going to have to work through a lot of things before he can even like Mariah without feeling conflicted. I think it’ll be the same with me. I didn’t like her much when the book ended, and not much before that if I’m being honest. I found the romantic development we saw to be sad and not really romantic at all. It felt more like a creation of close quarters, desperation and loneliness, and a difficulty controlling the monster, than anything actually tender or soft. It was interesting to watch develop, but I can’t say I’m invested in any way.
I’m not sure if I will continue with this series or not. It’s not one that I can out and out recommend, but it’s not one that I can not recommend either.
"Don't ask me to explain, but I've had my time with evil. Every one of us out here has, and that's why I'm glad Stamp's men are dying. Bad guys deserve their comeuppance, and they sure don't get it back in society. There, unchecked greed is rewarded. Out here, it's punished, and that's why you don't go outside if you've got something to answer for. That's the way of the world here."
I have one simple question to ask after finishing the book: Where was the romance? Oh, there was a hero and heroine who hooked up at the end of the boI have one simple question to ask after finishing the book: Where was the romance? Oh, there was a hero and heroine who hooked up at the end of the book, but there was no relationship that would require, you know, actual interaction between them.
Although I had issues with the first book in the series, Never Again, I liked it. I found the story's 'voice' very readable and really liked the cast of characters the author assembled. The paranormal aspects of it were interesting, and I liked the small town vibe. This book had a lot of the same positives, which is what's keeping it from being an F, but the bad outweighed the good in this case.
First off, was it necessary to have so many POV's running around? The romance needed all the help it could get, so taking time to pay attention to every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the story was a mistake. But that wasn't the only factor causing me to dislike the POV's. They were, in a word, boring. I liked Gray and I liked Ant, just as I did in the first book, but did we have to spend so much time with them, especially in addition to all the other POV's we were treated to? I'm all for getting a well rounded look at the story, but maybe we could hold off on reading about some of those characters until, I don't know, their own book? Oh, wait, Gray already had his book, didn't he? (/sarcasm) Maybe (although I doubt it) this wouldn't have bothered me so much if the author had actually devoted time to the main relationship. That's a pretty important factor in a Romance and the lack of it was glaring and left me a touch resentful of all the time spent on other people.
Speaking of the relationship... It is not a good sign when the hero and heroine do not interact--barring the extremely brief rescue of the heroine, where they barely spoke since she was in such bad shape--until page 129 in a 296 page book. And even then they weren't exactly making up for lost time since the heroine was temporarily unable to speak. Norie and Taylor were attracted to each other for some reason that I'm still not sure of. They never actually had any insightful or deep conversations, or even an emotional connection of any kind. They just had some random, magical dreams which somehow replaced actual relationship (and personality) development. Apparently magical dreams are now shorthand for true love. Good to know.
But never fear that the relationship was pushed aside and replaced with meaningless sex scenes. (<--sarcasm) Nope, none of that. In fact, they don't even kiss until page 249. I thought that there was an obligatory, awkward sex scene shoehorned in there, too, but a review of the book tells me I was wrong. I must have mixed that up with one of the magical dreams. Yes, once again actual development was brushed aside by being told everything in a dream.
And in addition to too many POV's and a lackluster romance, the plot was confusing. *tears hair out* Events seemed to jump around and take us from one situation to the next with no real flow to it. The plot felt jumbled and randomly cobbled together. All in all, it was just not a good read for me.