There were some parts of this book that I liked. There were other parts that didn’t serve it very well. I think the biggest problem is that the series is backing itself into a corner where the stakes just keep getting higher and higher and the heroine is becoming a supernova power in order to triumph. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
The story begins with Jessica on a mission to Hell in order to rescue her kidnapped brother, Tyler. The first third of the story is what worked best for me. It’s Jessica and her wolf, navigating through the dangers of the Underworld. It’s action packed and unapologetically so. It’s not trying to be romance. It’s not trying to be overly complex. It’s just Jessica fighting slimy pigs, ravenous wyverns, and chupacabras of varying size. The pacing was fast and furious and I flew through those pages.
Then it gets complicated. Jess encounters a prisoner in Hell who wants to team up. Only Jessica can’t decide whether she is friend or foe. And so begins the “bad feelings” she gets and the arguments with her wolf instinct. There are twists and re-twists; the good guys are bad; the bad guys are good. Then the really big bad is revealed and it’s utterly anticlimactic. It’s also trying to be bigger and badder than the sorcerers and vampires she faced in the last book, the Goddess she fought before that, and even the Prince of Hell himself. But what it really feels like is kind of meh. I feel like all of the twists and surprises were stuck in there in an attempt to keep things interesting, with no build to them.
It stands to reason that to fight the rising threats, Jessica needs to power up. But its just too easy and convenient. She is practically the end-all be-all at this point. Since she is practically the most powerful being in the world now, though, I guess it doesn’t need to rachet up again in the next installment, right?
There’s not much in the way of interpersonal development. She and Rourke are together, but I have never been sold on any love grown between them. Lust and mating connection, yeah, but now there isn’t even sexual tension to sustain my interest in their pairing. There is too much time spent on action to support any internal character development or growth, much less in a relationship. Jess grows physically and magically stronger but the rest… well, it’s not a book about feelings… or at least none that I feel while I am reading.
I don’t know. I liked it when it just embraced the action and didn’t try to be twisty or shocking or deeper. It feels like it’s trying to be something it’s not. And I am tired of the cliffhangers.
*ARC provided by Orbit
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Amanda Carlson
Release Date: September 9, 2014