I had read the first book, Fury, I was curious to see what would become of Dr. Tricia and Slade. The chemistry between the two was established at the...moreI had read the first book, Fury, I was curious to see what would become of Dr. Tricia and Slade. The chemistry between the two was established at the beginning and the backstory of each character lead for what I was expecting of great character growth and understanding in the future. After reading the story though, I was disappointed. I know the story is mainly going to have the focus be on the sex as it is labeled as erotica-romance, but I was expecting a bit more connection emotionally between the two leads for the romance part. instead, it all seemed forced that they are expected to have a Happily Ever After. I never got the sense that they really were in love with each other. Lust? Yes. Love? nah. Curiosity? Yes. Emotional connection and understanding? Not really. It did not help that I never felt that Slade really grew from being a bit of a selfish jerk to Tricia. Hard to root for a hero if he is always being selfish or a jerk. Having "great, hot" sex doesn't excuse the behavior either. Also, the whole stuck in the woods part just didn't ring true and everything seemed contrived to give the characters reason to have sex. Nothing wrong with that if that is what you are looking for, just not what I was looking for in the story. The characters never really seems to grow for me and the threat they were up against seemed overcome pretty easily (in my opinion) and their constant misunderstanding/miscommunication didn't seem believable. It was just too contrived for me. I was hoping for more on the species and cross cultural/species barriers and misunderstandings, but instead, it became all an excuse for sex that got really repetitive after a bit.
Also, I have to admit that seeing the constant threat/attempted rapes with the characters then having sex immediately after is a major turn off. The attempted or rapes are described in detail and it is very disturbing to read so when you switch over into the "sex scenes" between the leads, it is sort of…weird. Not sexy. Some people might be able to do that, but the emotional fall out from those scenes would sooner or later show up in other ways as they were pretty gruesome or explicit on the intentions. This was true of both the first and second book so I am figuring it is to be a trend in future books so please be advised if you have triggers for rape scenes, you probably want to skip this series. I don't know if the author's other books are like this, but something to check into before reading.
I would recommend this series for those who enjoyed the EARLY Lorah Leigh Breed series back when she was being published with Ellora's Cave as they are very similar (though I prefer Leigh's Breeds for the most part). Or for those who prefer more "erotica" than romance. Be advised that the scenes are very explicit and if you are disturbed that or the lead's "dirty talk" then you might want to skip with no harm or foul on anyone's part. Technically, I would give it a one 1/2 star but that might be due to the disappointment of what I was hoping would be a good pair. (less)
I would also say be advised that the first chapter with the heroine and setting up her future was probably the most brutal...moreand EXTREMELY quick review:
I would also say be advised that the first chapter with the heroine and setting up her future was probably the most brutal and effective writing, but may be considered a trigger for anyone who has seen or experienced domestic violence or abuse. So be warned in advance that there are references to this throughout the book. This is NOT a light, humorous novel set in the romance genre. If you go in expecting that, I think most would find it okay.
I really wanted to like this book. The fact that the heroine had certain "physical challenges" (so as not to spoil what it was I will label it that at the moment) made it interesting to me as it is something I rarely see in this genre. The book blurb sounded interesting and had potential at the beginning with the set up. However, the "hero", Solomon Judah, is partly what killed my interest in the book. The other part was due to the author's writing style where you had the "monster side" of Judah vs. the "good side" of Judah conversing with him throughout the book. It really disrupted the flow and took a bit to figure out if they were real entities or if Judah had a split personality or something else. That aspect of the book I really disliked, especially as it added to a sort of "fix all" at times and seemed to contradict itself in regards to several scenes on what they could or could not do or what was the point other than to give a good vs evil aspect to the novel beyond the circus/sideshow itself. The bible quotes at the beginning of each chapter also seemed extremely out of place as there is no reference to why they would be there as no one is shown as being a Christian on this alien world and the heroine didn't seem very familiar with most normal human culture to even know how to reference it so it led to confusion on what was the point of those being included at each starting chapter.
The freak show storyline would've worked, but again, it was like the idea for it to be used in the plot was only half-formed and the author never went beyond the immediate "cool idea" vs. the practicality of it. I was interested in seeing how all the condemned "freaks" were going to handle with the great 'awesomeness' of Judah in the story, but despite being warned several times by the author how Judah has this great rage that all fear and how he is a destroyer, nothing happened. It would tease or promise something, but really, it was the heroine that did anything. The hero just decided he wanted her and she was "his", but overall, I didn't really see much interaction between the two for a grand romance. Lust? Perhaps. But going by the abuse the heroine was going through, I don't see her so quickly becoming lustful for the hero in the circumstances she was under. I know it is fantasy and all, but I could not suspend my disbelief enough to go with it.
I will admit, if I had know this was a spin-off series of Ms. Showalter's Alien-huntress series, I would've never had tried it as I didn't like the other two books in that series. I loved some of her other books in paranormal romance and romance series, but these alien world series seem to demonstrate her weakness as a writer instead of displaying her strengths. Or maybe it isn't my cup of tea as I prefer more than a hero flexing his muscles and growling all the time to show he is super bad. I'll give other books of hers a try, but not any sequels to this series or anything related to this "universe" as it just seems to fail me on entertainment.
For me, I give it two stars as barely okay, but for others who like the Beauty and Beast trope or similarities might enjoy it. (less)
Read this book in less than two days during break time and lunch. This is one of those books that has the writing going so smoothly that it goes by fa...moreRead this book in less than two days during break time and lunch. This is one of those books that has the writing going so smoothly that it goes by fast. I had read the first book in this trilogy and was curious to see what would become of Lelia and Vlads' relationship and who the next villain would be. Overall, in some ways I liked this book better than the first as it had a bit more mystery on who was doing the bad stuff (though still easy to figure out if you pay attention). I also liked seeing Lelia away from the secure place (physically) she was in and interacting with another character than Vlad. However, I have to admit that Lelia is also the weakest part of the book for me. At times, her character's complaints about her "relationship" with Vlad seemed almost forced or manufactured by the author to give them something to fight about. Also, when I listened to the book on audio, i realized how much the character's lines and thoughts seemed....whiney?.
I still liked the book and it was an enjoyable, quick read. The danger never really let up and it had some chapters ending on cliffhangers that made me impatient to get to the next chapter. I adore Vlad and his ...dare i say, humor?...in regards to his snark in reply to some of Lelia's comments and demands. He still comes across as a nicer person than I would expect from the history books regarding the person he is based on (Vlad, not Dracula the fiction character only). He is a lot more patient than I would be with some of Lelia's complaints and demands considering what his personality should be. Of course, that is what "love" is supposed to allow for, so I won't nick pick on it too much. Their passion for each other definitely seems almost obsessive at times, but fitting for the type of character Vlad is. As for Lelia, I think she grew some in this book. She wasn't a static character and seemed to discover that to love someone, you have to accept all that he is. I was more interested in that aspect and wish the author had spent more time on this in the first book as the history books and even Vlad, the character, in the book admits that he is NOT a nice or good person by our moral code now for our culture. Even being around a vampire all the time at the carnival should not allow for her to accept it as easily as she did in the first book so I liked how Vlad challenged her in regards to one scene about love. I wish she had focused more on that than the initial reason we are given for the "conflict" between Vlad and Lelia as it seemed more true and realistic.
I have to say, that Lelia's sister has become one of my favorite characters. She is so blunt and tactless that I can't help but enjoy her comments when she states things despite the horror most would feel. Her interaction with the other characters cracked me up, especiallly after seeing how Lelia tries so hard to not offend some people by trying to be tactful. Gretchen doesn't care. She just states it how she sees it which is refreshing. She comes across at times as self-absorbed, but she is not dumb really.
I liked the twist regarding Vlad's views regarding his previous "love". Interesting theory by the author. Not much is in the history books to go with that idea or to denounce it, but one has to wonder about what she thought of everything that happened around her and the type of person Vlad was.
For the Cat and Bone fans, Cat has a small scene. No Bone though (who I admit, I prefer simply because of how Vlad interacts with him). For those new to this author, the only book you need to read before this one is the first one in the Dark Prince series (which comes before this one). The other series can add more to the world you are being immersed in, but it isn't necessary to understand what is going on. (less)