I really wanted to love this book. I have enjoyed previous installments in the series and some of the things I liked about those books, work in this one as well. Specifically, I enjoy the voice of the heroine, Shiarra. She is a good person, trying to make the best of a volatile world that constantly puts her in danger. In book after book, she faces monsters with many different faces, while trying to come to terms with the changes inside of her. Shia and the latest danger she faces with the Others take center stage in an even more intense way, but there were some elements of the book that didn’t hit the mark for me the way I had hoped. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
As the story begins, Shia is in the clutches of an old enemy, the vampire Max. He has utter and complete control over her in a way that is difficult to read at times. And it lasts for more than half the book. We see Shia struggle to keep hold of her free will, when her body is at his mercy. This part of the story felt like it went on too long. I didn’t enjoy so much page time devoted to her subjugation and torture. But once she makes it out, I felt like the book really started to pick up.
I felt like the events surrounding her escape and the subsequent face-off with Max were great. There was great action and a fantastic climax. The fights were well choreographed and exciting to read.
Another plus: the new secondary characters. I was fascinated by both the powerful Iana and the frightening Kumiho. They helped flesh out the story, which was otherwise very narrowly focused. I think fans will also appreciate that we finally learn what Other-ness is lurking inside of Shia, herself, and what that means.
And then there was Royce. I feel like he’s been sitting on the fringe of the last two books… more of an outside entity than a real player. I feel like perhaps we’re supposed to see the dichotomy between him and Max and get all swoony with him. But honestly, I just wasn’t feeling it. Shia needs to stay wary of him. His pretty words and sex appeal aren’t enough for me to overlook his choices with her in the last two stories. Not just sending her away in Forsaken… but what happens when she calls him for help here. Am I the only one not ok with this?
I dunno. I just didn’t leave feeling good about what’s happening between them, and I felt like I was supposed to. I think I would have been happier with an ending that didn’t have Royce whatsoever.
So overall, the pacing was kind of hit and miss. And despite her constant self-doubt, I do like Shia’s loyalty and spirit. But it wasn’t my favorite in the series. And it’s hard to see where the author can take it next.
*ARC Provided by Zebra
Click to purchase: Amazon
Enslaved by the Others
by Jess Haines
Release Date: July 1, 2014