I was thisclose to dropping out on this series. I’m not usually a YA reader, but I make a few exceptions with authors whose adult series I enjoy. Reading the Nick books seemed like a no-brainer since it is so intimately entwined with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books. But the early installments were just too young for me. The characters, their thoughts, the dialogue, even the way they were treated by the adults seemed even younger than their chronological ages. It alienated me. It felt like there just wasn’t enough growth.
I’m glad I gave it one more shot. While this is still nothing like the Dark Hunter books in the romance department, I finally feel like we’re seeing the characters evolve and mature. There is a minimum amount of Cherise (who I have grown to truly dislike reading,) far fewer “gah”s, and less ruminating from Nick in general about being a misfit kid. Now before you do too much celebrating, there is still a big old message (not even a little bit subtle) about being true to yourself and fighting bullies. But still… improvement.
As the book begins, Nick is dealing with the revelation that Kody is not who she appears. She may be, in fact, an assassin sent to kill him. Of course, we the readers are privy to who she really is and why she is there, but this is a tough pill for Nick to swallow. He breaks up with her, feeling heartbreak for the first time. Thankfully, the teen angst is only a small part of the book.
The larger arc centers on someone targeting both Nick and his father, trying to get to the Malachai mojo. It gets a little complicated with all of the players. But it’s got a good amount of intrigue and momentum. What I liked about it, is that the series arc actually moved forward in a big way. I felt like as much actually happened towards moving along the series arc in this book –as in all the previous ones combined.
There are a lot of cameos and shout-outs to Dark Hunter characters and how they fit into the big picture. There are explanations and flash forwards. It’s a fun ride. And Nick is so much less annoying.
I think the Epilogue is going to garner some mixed reaction. It’s clearly the set-up for the next book, but I hope it’s not the subject of the entire installment. For me, that would be a complete throwaway. I won’t spoil it, but IMO, it equates right up there with an entire book that’s a “dream” and will have no real impact on the series as a whole. But I will give Kenyon the benefit of the doubt and give it a try. After all, she came through in this one.
*ARC Provided by St Martin’s
Infernoby Sherrilyn KenyonRelease Date: April 9, 2013Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin