Category Archives: 2✰
There can only be one alpha.
Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.
But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.
Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves.
Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I’m disappointed by this sequel. I don’t feel I should be. Objectively speaking, the plot is a good one. It’s based on an ethical dilemma with no obvious answer and where gaining advice is problematic. The struggle, Bryn’s journey as alpha is what this is about but I just couldn’t seem to care. It was slow for the most part and I became bored.
Despite Lucas’s situation being a sympathetic one, I didn’t like him. I didn’t necessarily want to see him dead but I needed a reason other than his ultimate death to care about Bryn helping him at the possible detriment of her pack.
I’m also disappointed that Barnes didn’t use this sequel as an opportunity to bring depth to certain characters, Chase in particular. He was the main reason I didn’t give Raised By Wolves a higher rating i.e. 5 stars, simply because he was an unknown. We knew nothing about him and I was hoping his story would unfold here. It didn’t. I know little time has passed between books and Bryn is busy caring for the pack but they still spend time together, mostly in silence which was maddening.
The part of the book that I found intriguing was the ending simply because it meant Bryn was forced to make a life and death decision, and she chose death. It was the right choice but it was a painful one which resulted in the loss of a valuable pack member.
Callum’s warning in the form of a horse carving meant nothing until the end so I understood Bryn’s frustration with him even though his hands were tied by fate and politics to do more than he did to help.
I am glad the Bryn has acknowledged the need to one day become wolf because even though she is strong as human, she’s vulnerable, too.
Overall, I believe the writing lets this book down. Trial By Fire could’ve easily been a five star read if the writing had been tighter, faster paced with more character development. I’m not eager to read the next book but if my library order it I probably will in the vain hope these problems will be addressed.
Old habits die hard. And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.
Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen.
Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters she hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second.
Good thing I’ve got my powerful Stone and Ice magic — and my irresistible lover Owen Grayson — to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me…no matter what I have to do to make that happen.
Spider’s Revenge (Elemental Assassin #5) by Jennifer Estep
A novella’s worth of content in a full-length novel. What was done with the rest of the pages, I hear you ask? Were they blank? I would’ve preferred them to be.
My name is Gin Blanco…
I know! I’ve been reading about your life for four books now.
…and I’m an assassin
Yes, you’re a hitwoman, we know this, can we get on with the killin’ now?
This is Finn. He’s my foster brother.
I do have a memory, no matter how dysfunctional it sometimes is, it’s never THAT bad.
And this is Bria…
You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? Every character is reintroduced to us along with their backstory and history with Gin. Lots and lots of repetition. And yet more repetition. Ironically, eye colour-love, the most repeated thing in the first few books was toned down.
Character histories aside, the plot is a wash, rinse and repeat too.
1) Gin gets in a bind.
2) It gets worse.
3) Her friends rally round to do anything to keep her alive because they’ve all benefited from Gin’s talents in the past.
4) Gin gets in huge fight which she barely survives.
5) Jo-jo heals her.
6) Some happy stuff happens then we learn of what Gin plans to do next. The End.
The trouble with #6 concerning this book: the drawn-out story arc is now complete. Am I willing to stick around for another? I’m not sure. One positive about this one, it was skim-city so it took only a couple of hours to read. On the other hand, I shelled out hard cash for the privilege. Venom and Tangled Threads were good reads. I like the characters, the way elemental magic is used, the pretty gory fight scenes and Gin’s unapologetic violent ways but based on the pros and cons, By a Thread is likely to go unread unless I see some stellar reviews.
There is a question Claire has long been asking: why do vampires live so far out in a sunny desert when they’re sensitive to sunlight? The reason doesn’t have to do with sunlight but water – and an ancient enemy who has finally found a way to invade the vampires’ landlocked community. Vampires aren’t the top predator on earth. There’s something worse that preys on them …something much worse. Which means if Claire, and Morganville, want to live, they will have to fight on to the last breath.
Last Breath (The Morganville Vampires #11) by Rachel Caine
**Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!**
Gelatinous vampire goo. Gelatinous vampire goo. I can’t get over it. This is so…wrong. I’m hoping this new enemy is part of Caine’s endgame. We’ve had 11 books and perhaps she’s running out of ideas even though the final book, #15 is due out in November 2013. It certainly feels like the end run.
A type of ultimate vampire, the Draug have a seductive call like sirens, need water to survive and breed, can reduce themselves to vampire goo which if you get any on you, will suck the blood/life out of you. They can remain invisible to the naked eye and easily traps their prey, human or vampire, storing them in water until they’re dead. On top of this, these guys are hard to kill.
Due to past encounters, Morganville’s vampires are so scared they plan to abandon the town and run. Of all things, I did not expect them to run from something they’d spent decades building. I understand a new foe was needed after the long awaited and much required death of Bishop but I did believe they’d learned to stand and fight rather than to submit to fear and flee. I was severely disappointed by Amelie’s response.
Amelie + Oliver
A kiss between them was to be expected though I didn’t expect Amelie to lose IQ points in the process. Killing Claire and Shane -not a good idea. I can’t believe Oliver had to step in and change her mind. Her manipulation of Myrnin when it came to this was appalling. Her actions destroyed previously strong relationships. Shane and Claire have been huge assets and her fear of this new enemy has turned her into a coward. That’s not what we’ve come to expect of her.
Oliver has always been in favour of fighting and in that respect he’s very like Shane (they wouldn’t react kindly to that comparison) but he balances out Amelie’s need to protect and retreat. They make a good ruling pair. I hope Amelie gets a magical cure for her fatal Draug bite because Oliver as sole ruler of Morganville would be terrifying.
Oh, the melodrama. Why do they have to get married right this minute? I understand the tenuous nature of their relationship due to Micheal’s undead status: unable to give Eve children and will most likely outlive her, remaining 18 forever but no one is stopping them from “living in sin”. I really didn’t care about the drama and political fallout from this mixed marriage between a human and a vamp. It ate up too many pages, boring me so much I kept putting the book down and avoiding picking it back up. If anything I’d have preferred someone kidnap Eve to try and turn her to end the prejudice, arguments and tears.
Main Character Death
I instantly knew this was a temporary predicament. A cheap move. A quick and quiet death with no one around to witness it. A few character’s reactions were notable though. Shane’s reaction was the most extreme but also quite understandable. He’d lost everyone he’d ever loved and he was tired of fighting when there nothing left to fight for. Claire was a reassuring presence in the Glass House, she ensured everyone kept their heads and made sound decisions, her diplomatic clout with the powers-that-be also ensured the Glass House members’ survival so her death would leave a huge hole in their lives.
It also became obvious why we get multiple POVs in this book which I think was done to better effect when it was just Claire and Shane in Bite Club. Here it added little in terms of character development but is required in order to get every side of the story.
Claire + Michael
Michael admits he once thought about Claire in a…romantic sense.
Claire + Myrnin
Claire discovers Myrnin does feel more than just friendship. It may or may not be love but he wants her as a permanent companion.
Claire + Shane
We leave them in a strong position. I can see these two marrying and spending the rest of their lives together. They have staying power. They work at their relationship, really work at it, and I think this makes them good role models for the teenage audience this is aimed at. Too many couples these days are only too willing to walk away when things get tough. However, I’m not a fan of the cringe-worthy mushiness Caine keeps shoving in our faces. They love each other, it shows. Please, don’t go overboard.
The Usual Humour, Excellent As Always
Myrnin pumping a sawed-off shotgun ‘with unsettling enthusiasm’ and calling “Let’s go hunting, shall we?”
Michael to Shane: “And you know if you screw it up with Claire, I’ll rip your throat out and drink you like a juice box.”
I admired Eve’s willingness to cut a bitch (i.e. Monica): “Micheal is missing. He may be dying. I am not in the mood for your shallow bullshit right now. If you get in my way, I will cut you, because you are nothing but a speed bump on my way to saving him. Are we clear?”
Although I am a long term fan of this series this is the lowest rating I’ve given and the closest I’ve come to DNF-ing one of these books. I find this troubling considering we have four more books before the end.
I believe Caine’s heavy reliance on Bishop as a villian to bring ultimate fear to the residents of Morganville has left me distinctly unimpressed by this new foe despite their obviously lethal attributes.
For me, I think perhaps a threat from within would’ve provided more intrigue because we’ve done the “invasion by outsiders” thing with Bishop and to be honest it was done to death. Magnus appears to be Bishop with a new name.
In my opinion, Caine has taken the easy road by using predictable devices such as killing off a main character and magically reviving them, taking past situations and reusing them. If an author can’t come up with fresh stories then it’s time to stop producing them.
I still love the series. I’m determined to see it to the end but I hope Caine can inject fresh ideas into Black Dawn.
Included Short Story
In my UK edition there was a short story, “Anger Management” set between Bite Club and Last Breath from Shane’s POV, detailing Shane’s mandatory counselling with Dr. Theo Goldman, where he’s challenged to refrain from becoming angry and use non-violent methods whenever possible for 24 hours. It’s not a necessary read but it was enjoyable, especially his encounter with Monica.
Sample chapters available HERE.
“Marriage is a big word for all guys,” Shane said. “You know that. It’s kind of an allergy. We get itchy and sweaty just trying to spell it, much less do it.”
With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit – and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can’t ‘read’ vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam well – and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human – and that there is a new Queen on the board . . .
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Gollancz
Read: 16 July 2011
**Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!**
It was all a dream! Sookie wakes up in a sweat freaking out only to realise it was all just a harmless nightmare. Her life isn’t a supernatural mess, she’s settled down with her man and is happily living in domestic bliss. The curtain comes down on the book.
That didn’t happen but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does, as a series closer that is. There was so much WTFery in Dead Reckoning it’s hard to know where to start. My feelings shifted through indifference, exasperation, WTH and the occasional chuckle.
Changing agendas and personalities of the characters over the last few books has left me lukewarm. Sookie is no longer someone I sympathise with. My exasperation came into play with what I perceive to be Sookie’s drawn out break up with Eric. It’s been on the cards for a while and many fans have predicted such a thing. Sookie thinking of her future and the impossibility of children with her current beau, his love of violence and her hatred of it plus his level of understanding of her feelings plummeting when the bond is severed has her reconsidering her options.
It seemed like Harris was throwing men at Sookie left, right and centre, offering them up as alternatives. Alcide’s weird Little Red Riding Hood move was both completely out of character and unexpected. Alcide has always been a gentleman and gentlemen simply do not take off their clothes and slip into a girl’s bed without her knowledge or permission when little more than polite words have passed between them in recent times -WTF? Creepy as hell.
Claude eyeing Sookie’s close friendship with Sam, her desperate run, whilst completely starkers, into dead-to-the-world Bill’s arms to hide from kidnappers -did she have to be naked? Did we have to be reminded of his love her and his willingness to get back together? Even her fae family were being offered up as possible love interests? Erm, incest anyone? I know Sookie’s Christian beliefs have had to stretch to accommodate her increasingly dangerous lifestyle but incest is probably pushing it.
The storyline was partly one that wouldn’t die. The death of Debbie Pelt which if I remember correctly was in book 4. This is #14. Debbie’s sister Sandra who’s one-track mind is hell bent on Sookie’s death -again, by any means necessary. The other part is how-to-get-rid-of-Victor. Digging up old storylines and rehashing them isn’t something I’m interested in, while the Victor-problem was much the same; someone seeks to control Sookie and friends and they must be eliminated, only the character to be disposed of has changed.
The introduction of a certain fae object is discomforting and leads me to believe what I’ve said in my opening paragraph is entirely possible. I really don’t want to know what Sookie will use it for, whether it be a selfish purpose or an altruistic one.
Claude, Dermot and the fae from Hooligans sparked my interest. I wished we could’ve seen more them and their plans. Dermot was sweet and I enjoyed his renewed vigor and sense of purpose.
I’m not so secretly hoping for a Hamlet ending -one in which everyone dies, including Sookie herself. I think that’s the only way to both shock readers who’ve predicted Sookie’s final situation and ensure the series isn’t somehow extended beyond an all ready long overdue point. I’m ready for Sookie stories to go the way of the dodo.