Onto book three and I’m happy again. As if by magic, Annie Bellet solved my issues with the direction of this series, in refocusing locally with the town and people I’d got to like in book one, and also upping the romantic stakes in this urban fantasy series. Sorceress Jade and shifter Justice boyfriend Alek actually talk about their relationship. It’s a Big Deal.
We open the story to an unhappy Jade. The events of book two, involving her estranged family in the shifter cult, upset her badly, and she and Alek split. They’ve not had a break-up conversation, but have neither seen nor called one another in a month. Jade is blue and mopey, but makes no effort to resolve the issue as she’s emotionally stunted, choosing instead to continue to improve her magic abilities (in case her evil ex ever shows up) and play role-playing games with her friends (cos she’s chill like that).
But there’s something up in the town of Wylde. The local wolf pack leader dies, leaving the fragile peace between these fractious shifters at risk. Alek returns and asks for Jade’s help following a murder, and of course she can’t refuse.
These stories are short, and the action didn’t drag. Jade is called on to test her newly strengthening powers in a number of ways, one of which reveals a glimpse of something interesting about her capabilities which I guess will be explored more in a future book. Also her ethics are tested when murders happen, and it adds a layer of character development she needs.
Alek’s role expands as a helpmeet as well as being his alpha Justice self, and another Justice appearing on the scene tests his loyalties and beliefs too. We see hints about the Justice council which I’d like to understand better, alongside more background on Alek and the other supporting characters.
Overall there was a lot to like in this tale. New powers, old friends, action, fighting, geekery by the bucket load, and the shipping element I was looking for. There is nothing physical beyond a wee bit of tension and a kiss, but the talking and the saying of words made me smile.
I’ll happily continue with this series now. The author left a pretty big plot device at the end of this book so I know what’s coming. It involves Samir, the ever-elusive-but-very-scary ex, and it’s intriguing.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Pack of Lies
by Annie Bellet
Release Date: October 13, 2014
Publisher: Doomed Muse Press