Review: Murder of Crows by Annie Bellet

Reviewed by Joanna

This is book two of the urban fantasy series I was excited to start. Am I still excited? Maybe, though this story wasn’t as good as the first.

Jade is stretching and practicing her sorceress magic, ready for when her evil ex-boyfriend comes. We’re three months on from book one when her cover was blown, and her friends now know she’s more than the hedge witch she was pretending to be. They stick by her, and she’s decided to stay in town at her store, Pwned Comics and Games, instead of running.

Trouble comes to her door instead. Not the evil ex, but her estranged father. She’s not seen him in thirty years since she was kicked out of the Crow shifter cult when they realized she wasn’t a shifter. She was fourteen (she’s mid-forties now but looks mid-twenties – the benefits of long life) and lost everything she knew when they turned her away.

Despite begrudging to help, Jade can’t ignore the murders her father reports, and she agrees to return to the cult village of Three Feathers, boyfriend (and shifter Justice keeper) Alek at her side.

The short tale (these are novellas, taking just a couple of hours to read) was action packed and Native American-imagery filled. Jade is imperfect, occasionally kick ass and humorous, with lots of little geek inserts (save the cheerleader, save the world!), and the ending wasn’t contrived. However there were parts of the story that bugged me, and I admit to getting a tiny bit bored in the heat of the action.

I think the problem was the story left the town and people that I enjoyed getting to know in story one. Jade’s friends are cool and I want to see more of them. It focused instead on the cult location, new characters and on mythology, which I’ve found tedious in other UF.

Another issue (bigger, probably) was with the romantic element. Alek was introduced smack bang at the beginning of book one, and Jade was really attracted to him. He helps her, and by the end of the story, kisses her. As we start book two, I’m all excited to see where this was going… except it had already went. They’d been sleeping together for those three months and the initial bloom of lust had obviously worn off.

In other words, all the best bits were left out. I felt cheated. Alek does little for the story and Jade doesn’t seem to like or respect him all that much. He’s a valuable asset she chooses not to use, despite his capabilities and the fact he could make things a lot easier for her. He’s obviously more than just a big dumb alpha following her around, but didn’t have much chance to show himself in action as Jade consistently left him behind.

I like a lot about Jade, but her decision making sucks. She’s aware of how often she breaks the rules of horror movies – don’t get separated, don’t go into the deep dark cave alone etc, but does them anyway.

I’m thinking this is a character development thing the author is trying to show, and I’m hoping book three shows Jade’s growth. Jumping on, and will report back.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Murder of Crows
by Annie Bellet
Release Date: August 22, 2014
Publisher: Doomed Muse Press

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