2.5 stars Having just recently finished Altered, I more or less knew what to expect from the sequel. Both books are excellent for when I’m otherwise pr2.5 stars Having just recently finished Altered, I more or less knew what to expect from the sequel. Both books are excellent for when I’m otherwise preoccupied: fast-paced, romantic and extremely easy to follow.
Despite its high entertainment value, Erased is chock full of issues. Unfortunately, it’s even more predictable than the previous novel, its every single twist and turn visible from a mile away. The predictability doesn’t matter too much when combined with such rapid pacing, but a few surprises along the way would have been nice anyway.
Even in Altered, I found Anna’s relationship with Sam, her older sister’s ex-boyfriend, extremely creepy, especially because neither of them could really remember Anna’s sister. In Erased, the creepy factor has increased tenfold, to the point that really made me uncomfortable. Both Anna and Sam’s memories have been wiped far too many times and their history is too complicated to allow for a healthy relationship. Instead of making me swoon, I was a bit weirded out by it.
I did enjoy Nick’s much bigger role in this book, even when he was being his usual obnoxious self. Despite guessing his part in Anna’s childhood traumas extremely early, I still liked seeing him realize the depth of their relationship. Funny, lighthearted Cas remains the only source of comic relief, his significance in the main story arc minor, but his importance for the fans and the overall picture monumental.
All things considered, this is not a series I’d recommend for a more demanding reader. It’s fun and the writing is pretty decent (though nothing to write home about), but don’t expect a life-changing reading experience.
As a book reviewer, I sometimes have to struggle very hard to keep even a semblance of objectivity. With some books it’s easy: I either get a combinatAs a book reviewer, I sometimes have to struggle very hard to keep even a semblance of objectivity. With some books it’s easy: I either get a combination of technical excellence and great chemistry between myself and the story, or there’s an unfortunate lack of both. But sometimes, a book is technically good, with very little I can objectively criticize, but there’s no chemistry to speak of. In other words, it’s written fairly well, but I don’t like it. Born of Deception is one such book.
Anna van Hausen’s story intrigued me greatly in Born of Illusion. Combined with Teri Brown’s excellent writing, it made for an excellent read, perhaps one of my favorites in 2013. Needless to say, I waited with bated breath for my advanced copy of Born of Deception to arrive, but the initial reviews that preceded it had me worried that it wasn’t quite up to snuff.
The biggest letdown wasn’t the story or the pacing, it was Anna’s relationship with Cole. Like everyone else in the known universe, I adored these two in the previous book, but this time they just didn’t fit together very well, and their lack of communication combined with Cole’s reluctance to show his feelings made me doubt that they should be together at all. By the end I still wasn’t convinced that these two were right for each other, and the final chapter did absolutely nothing to ease my worries.
Adding a love triangle to a relationship that’s already shaky didn’t go very far toward endearing this book to me. I despise love triangles at the best of times, but having one so poorly constructed, with no other purpose than to put even more distance between Anna and Cole, made me extremely uncomfortable. I liked Billy a lot, but I never really considered him to be a true love interest, just a means to an end.
However, I enjoyed the rest of the story. While the villain was painfully obvious almost from the start, the crimes were gruesome enough that I didn’t particularly mind. After all, I had death curses, exsanguinations, powerful mages and a very large group of Sensitives like Anna to entertain me. Anna faced a formidable enemy in this book, and her abilities weren’t all that helpful in this case. In the end, she had to rely on others to stay alive, and unfortunately, Cole wasn’t really among them.
Since Anna moved to London to work on her own show and be with Cole, Born of Deception introduced a number of new characters, most of them really interesting. I loved seeing Anna on her own in a new city, she was able to prove that she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.
As far as I can tell, this is the second part of a duology, but it felt vastly unfinished to me. I don’t have to have a neatly tied ending, but in this case, far too many things were left open, which made me uncomfortable. I hope we’ll get at least a novella that will clear things up a bit.