I don't exactly know how to review this book. I have such a polarized reaction about it. I loved it, but it absolutel...more*Originally read 7/6/10 - 7/7/10*
I don't exactly know how to review this book. I have such a polarized reaction about it. I loved it, but it absolutely pissed me off. When I got to the end and saw that I'd be left hanging like that, I was absolutely infuriated! I think that if the 4th book was out right now, what happened in the book (and the ending) wouldn't have hit me quite as hard. But it's not out! I closed the book knowing that I'd have to wait a year to read the next one. Noooooooo!
In the beginning of this book Merit and Ethan are still dancing around each other. They seem to be having an easier time not getting on each others nerves, but you can still feel the tension. Merit and Mallory are still not back to best friends. Too much happened in the last book for them to bounce back easily. Ethan once again involves Merit in what she terms "shenanigans." This time they're going to be involved with the shifters.
I loved getting to know the shifters. We got to see a lot more of Jeff too. He's so fun. I love the friendship and banter he and Merit have going on. Gabriel, the Alpha was very interesting. I'm very curious about the remark he made to Merit about being close to family. The way shifters and magic are portrayed in this series is very interesting. I'm interested in seeing what the future holds for the shifters.
I liked the progression of Mallory and Merit's relationship. Because they came into the series as best friends we never got to see them build their relationship. I liked watching them try to make it work even though they both have changed so drastically.
Now, the part that pissed me off... It was Ethan and Merit's relationship progress. Everything seemed like it was going well, and then it got great! But then it went in reverse. I thought this would be the book where Ethan and Merit finally got together. I love their slow building tension, but I want them to be together too. I want some resolution!
I thought maybe things would be salvaged before the end, but it wasn't. It ended on a hopeful note, with a really sweet gesture from Ethan, but nothing was settled. I ended the book horrified that I would have to wait a whole year to see what happens!
Even thought I wasn't pleased with what happened to them, I still liked the fact that we got to know Ethan so much better. I could totally see his side of things, but I could see Merit's side too. The fact that he made that decision, even though Merit warned him of the consequences...I know that had to hurt. I really liked that she was so mature about it. She wasn't the one constantly trying to talk it to death. But I want her and Ethan to be together! How can you resist a man that touches you and tells you he is undone? Sexy, but so romantic too.
I loved the book, but I just want more. I think I'll be first in line next year when the next book is released. (less)
Reading this story was quite a departure for me. I am not a fan of short stories, so it’s rare that you’ll see me reading novellas or anthologies. But...moreReading this story was quite a departure for me. I am not a fan of short stories, so it’s rare that you’ll see me reading novellas or anthologies. But I was browsing through some of the books offered for review and found my attention caught by this. It was set in Alaska. There. That’s my whole reason for choosing it. LOL. I found the rest of the blurb intriguing too, but the Alaska thing is what really convinced me. I am quite familiar with Alaska, especially Anchorage, so I am always surprised and intrigued when I see a book set there. I guess I’m always curious to see if the setting is done well.
Well, the setting didn’t come in to play much, other than to be used to make it easier for the vampires to live there. I was rather curious about what they did during the summer, though. Sure, it’s great in the winter when daylight is reduced, but what about in the summer when daylight is maximized? The vampires would hardly be able to move around. The whole “midnight sun” thing, you know? Regardless of the setting being largely unimportant, I still liked the world the author created. Alaska may have hooked me, but the story was what reeled me in.
I really liked the heroine, Sydney. She was very capable and convincingly badass. Most messengers don’t last long, but not Sydney. She’s 26 and she got to that age by being smart and vigilant. She plays the game better than most and thrives on the excitement and danger she faces daily. She is never off the clock. She never tells anyone her name, not even the other messengers. She always disguises her scent and never takes the same route twice in a row. Her hair and makeup always change. She might not be able to recognize herself anymore, but that just means no one else can either. The only close tie she had was a mentor that quit the game years ago. She’s been thinking about pulling up stakes and moving to sunny Hawaii, too, but life has a way of complicating things.
A turf war is brewing and Sydney finds herself stuck in the middle before she can leave town. Her life becomes tangled up with a mysterious man named Malcolm and she finds herself allowing him closer than she has let anyone else come in years. Things are not as clear cut as they first seem, though, and Sydney has to decide how much she can truly trust him after she learns the truth about him.
I don’t want to say much more about the story because I’m afraid of spoiling it. It’s a pretty short story and it would be easy to reveal too much. I liked the characters and the stoyline a lot. I felt that the romance lacked proper depth, but I’m sure that’s just a symptom of the length of the story. I also felt that some of the scene changes and time shifts were jarring, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t reorient myself quickly. I was really impressed with the heroine’s strength, intelligence, and well honed survival instinct, so I was surprised to see her make a ridiculous assumption toward the end which led to her being in a dangerous situation. I know it served the plot, but it didn’t mesh well with what I knew of her. It seemed like newbie behavior to me.
A friend on GR mentioned that this book sounded like a hoot (after one of my status updates) and I said it had some funny moments. That same friend pointed out that if I had posted that many funny quotes by 50% in a novella, then chances are it had more than just “some funny moments.” And she was right. I didn’t consider it a funny book because so much of the tone was edgy and occasionally grim, but there was a nice sprinkling of humor throughout the book that kept the mood upbeat and the pages turning quickly.
There were a lot of plot points left dangling, so I wonder if this is going to be part of a series or if it was meant to feel open ended, like an ongoing journey for the characters. I was glad that the author didn’t tack on a cheesy, unconvincing HEA. Instead, there was a hopeful HFN that felt much more authentic. I just wouldn’t have believed it any other way. Malcolm and Sydney have a definite connection and are willing to give a relationship between them a go, but there are a lot of things that need to be worked out before they’ll have a chance at a long lasting relationship.
As I mentioned before, I’m not a short story reader. I find them unfulfilling. I can’t say that I found this one any different. There’s just not enough time to develop rich characters and deep worldbuilding in a short story, and that’s what I crave in a book. But I was satisfied by the author’s voice and her writing style. So even though I would have preferred that this develop into a longer novel, I enjoyed being exposed to a taste of her work. I finished the book and jumped onto the author’s website, only to be disappointed that she didn’t have anything else out for me to read. I guess that just means that I’ll have to keep an eye out for more from her, because I would really like to something else by her. Her voice was great and her style easily drew me in.
"And obviously getting you to sleep with me wasn't a challenge." Malcolm gestured at the bed, his smirk completely out of place with my stark confusion and building fear. "I merely had to suffer serious injury while saving you and then lie about looking pathetic until you took pity on me. A small price to pay."
This is a really hard one to review. I think my opinion was skewed because of unmet expectations. I think if I gone into this book cold I would have e...moreThis is a really hard one to review. I think my opinion was skewed because of unmet expectations. I think if I gone into this book cold I would have enjoyed it a lot more. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, but my opinion teeter-tottered throughout it. I finally decided on a four star grade because the end did pick up and once I was able to put aside my reasons for reading it immediately after Bitten I got caught up in it. I'd say that Bitten is a high four star while this one is a low four star.
When Bitten ended we left Clay and Elena on a hopeful note. Nothing was really worked out, but the promise that they would try was given. I was so excited to pick up this one and watch their relationship heal itself. For me, that's half the fun of reading about a couple. I don't just want to see them together, I want to watch them get together and strengthen their relationship.
When I started this book I was shocked to find out that approximately six years had passed since the last book. I was pretty pissed off about it too. All my expectations about watching them build their relationship collapsed. I was pretty surprised to see that even though she was still with the Pack and still with Clay, she wasn't really with Clay the way that a six year commitment implies to me. They're still in basically the same spot spinning their wheels. It was actually kind of sad for both of them. I guess I didn't miss as much as I originally thought...
The beginning of this book was very slow going. My attention kept wandering and I had to struggle to make myself focus. The attention is no longer focused on just the werewolves. For a good chunk of the beginning half there's barely any werewolf interaction at all. The focus is all on the new type of supernatural creatures we meet and the organization hunting them. I did enjoy learning about the different groups, but what caught me most in the first book was the feel of the "otherness" of the werewolves and their interactions together. I felt that that aspect was really toned down in this book. Yes, there were gruesome moments, but the mentality of it felt different.
Around page 200 is where the pace started to pick up for me. We were still focused on only Elena, but her personal demons started to come into play. It seemed like her captivity and isolation dug beneath her skin enough to break through her persona. We got to see the despair and the insecurities and the depression. It was great getting that raw view. I loved how Elena admitted she wasn't over her past and probably never would be.
When Elena was back with Clay I found it extremely irritating that they never talked through anything. Their mode of operation seems to be to ignore everything and move on. It drives me nuts. You'll get to see how they solved the issue of his betrayal of her 12 years ago, and you'll see why I feel that way. I don't understand how they could have been back together the last 6 years and never have sat down and talked these things through.
I loved the glimpse we got of Clay's point of view (sort of). I felt it added nice perspective for that time period. I loved Clay in this book. Even though we saw him infrequently his presence was still felt. I hear the next book is about Paige. I hope, for both her sake and mine, that she isn't as irritating in that book as she was in this. I was on Clay's side about her and I loved the nickname he gave her. Xavier and Adam seemed like interesting characters and I hope to see more of them in the series. (less)
I bought this book because I really enjoy Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. Someone recommended that I try the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy b...moreI bought this book because I really enjoy Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. Someone recommended that I try the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy because it is supposedly some of her best historical work. If this is an example of her best historical work I'm definitely better off not reading anymore of them.
What was up with Anna in this story? Her personality was so grating and she did such stupid things. Through out most of the book she loathed Court. Now I can understand this as I found him pretty irritating, but to hate him and then suddenly decide you're in love with him? That's pretty much exactly what Anna did.
I wasn't expecting the paranormal aspect of this book. I really didn't like it either. I think I would have gone with the flow of it better if I had actually been enjoying the book. I also seriously disliked the fake Scottish accents. I had an eye twitch by the end of the book!
I don't plan on continuing with any of this author's historical novels. I think we're both better off that way. (less)
**spoiler alert** Something was missing for me in this story. I read it quickly, but it left me unmoved. It had elements that I usually like: initial...more**spoiler alert** Something was missing for me in this story. I read it quickly, but it left me unmoved. It had elements that I usually like: initial antagonistic relationship, a morally gray character, unwillingly falling in love, etc. Very few of those elements felt like they actually worked in the story though. None of it clicked for me and I was left feeling cynical and disbelieving of the main character's ability to stay together for the long term.
Chloe's character didn't do the story any favors. She blew past naïve and ran straight into too stupid to live territory. She starts getting uncomfortable with the people she's supposed to be translating for but instead of bowing out and going back home she won't leave until she has to because of Bastien. This is after she tells herself that he's married, a womanizer, and that there's no way they could be together because she has personal rules against being with married men. It seemed inconsistent.
When they have sex for the first time, Chloe realizes that he used and degraded her and criticizes herself because she still wants more. I thought we'd get some deeper personal struggle with her fascination with Bastien and her willingness to be used. I was really looking forward to it! It never happened though... She just seemed to get over it and be willing to jump on him if he showed the smallest sign that he might be interested in doing it again. Everything Chloe did seemed to illustrate how idiotic she was. It did not endear her to me. After Hakim tortures her she still doesn't think she's in that much danger! It didn't seem possible that she could be so stupid. I guess I was supposed to attribute it to her age? That's rather hard to accept though. I don't think I've ever met a 23 year old that stupid before. The fact that she had lived on her own for 2 years in a foreign country makes it hard to believe that she hadn't acquired even the barest smidgen of street smarts.
Bastien had the potential to be very interesting. Unfortunately I never got more detail into his characterization. I was eager to see a character who was on the "good guy" side but who had been killing people for so long that he accepted the very real truth that in the end there's no real difference between the good guys and the bad guys. Unfortunately he was just... there. I wanted insight into what made him tick. I didn't really need an unhappy childhood with a crappy mom, but I wanted to see more of his journey down the road he chose. Does he regret what he lost? Would he do everything the same? I just wanted more of what made him who he was. Everything about him seemed to be told, not shown. We're told that Chloe fascinates him; we're told that he loves her. I didn't feel that I was shown any of that.
The whole story felt like it skimmed the surface of everything. I thought that the "bad guys" felt like caricatures. I thought Chloe would have to face some inner realization that in the end there's no real difference between Bastien and the "bad guys". She would just have to decide if it's something she can accept or not. No such thing here though. I was amused by Bastien's refusal to lie to Chloe. When she kept thinking that underneath it all he's just a good guy who doesn't really want to kill a woman and he kept telling her she was an idiot to believe that he'd only kill in self defense I had to laugh. I appreciated his cold honesty but I think that despite his repeated assurances that he could kill anyone Chloe still had a romanticized vision of him. I don't think she ever saw who he really was. That was disappointing.
Despite my problems with this book I still read it quickly. I was hooked on it even as I was deeply unhappy with the story being told. How confusing. I ended up giving it a higher grade than I originally planned because of the story's readability.(less)
I was torn between three and fours for this book. On one hand I thought it was kind of awkward, but on the other ha...more*Originally Read 6/15/10 - 6/16/12*
I was torn between three and fours for this book. On one hand I thought it was kind of awkward, but on the other hand it kept me entertained. I finally decided on four because it was interesting enough that I only reflected on the things it was lacking once I was done reading it.
In a lot of ways my reaction to this book is just like my reaction to Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. I can see the potential for a great series and I enjoyed my time reading it, but it was also awkward and the pacing felt off.
I never really felt that I got to know any of the characters, even Kate. There was a lot going on so it wasn't as noticeable until the end. When I stopped and reflected I realized that all I got was a surface look at the life of Kate Daniels. I hope that as the series goes on I get to know her and the secondary characters better.
I liked Kate's attitude. I can see that it has the potential to grate on me, but right now I like it. When she gets scared she just gets more confrontational. She knows that she's not the biggest, baddest chick in town, but she tries her best anyway. However, even though I like her attitude, I still think she needs to tone it down. You don't need to mouth off to every single person you meet. I know Kate admits she's not subtle (definitely not) but a little tact would be nice once in a while.
The description of the vampires were pretty unique. Comparing them to insects was a very good way to make sure I thought they were creepy and disgusting! I got the willies thinking about having a conversation with someone who was speaking through someone else's mouth.
Curran seems like he's going to end up stepping up to the plate with Kate. Either that or he'll kill her. It will be interesting to watch their dominance games one way or another. I wonder if Kate truly can do to Curran what she did to Derrek. Bet that would earn her an enemy for life. What was up with his attitude? Even after Kate showed that she could hold her own he kept thinking of her as a glory hound and willing to make stuff up to keep herself in the spotlight. Doesn't he ever talk to Jim? Maybe do a little research... Nah, that would make sense. I found him interesting and powerful but also really cocky and a pretty big jerk. Nick was right, he does have tunnel vision. Hopefully he doesn't continue like this.
A couple things bothered me though. There wasn't enough information on the Order and the Guild. I didn't feel any connection between Kate and her old mentor, so her determination to be involved in the case didn't really make sense. What is magic in this world? I want to know why there are surges of magic and why tech stuff only works sometimes. Explain your world for the love of God! Where are the straight humans? What do they think of the magic, People, weres, etc.?
I was also bothered by the situation that came up with Crest. He seemed like someone who could deal with Kate's life. He fell asleep against her door after waiting hours for her. He brought her food and let her sleep on his chest. He was nothing but nice to her! I felt no connection to him and didn't care about him one way or another, but the way Kate acted toward him pissed me off. ***SPOILER***Out of no where Curran goes off on some half-baked theory about Crest being a bad guy. There didn't seem like a lot of supporting evidence to me. Why was she suddenly on board with Curran's stupid idea. Don't go guns blazing with your posse to the poor guy's house. No wonder he dumped you. You acted like an ass.***END SPOILERS***
Throughout the book there's hints about how special Kate is and how she has to hide it. As soon as I read about Kate's dad keeping notes on that guy I figured it out. Now, we weren't out and out told, so I suppose I don't know for sure if I'm right... but I think I am. So, if I'm right, how exactly did that work out? Guess I'll have to read the next one to find out. (less)