I’m still a little sad that this series has traded a big portion of humor for angst, but I did enjoy this book much more than the second one. I think we could do with fewer ‘almost deaths’ per novel. But the Hiru story was very good. It’s too bad that it looks like it’s going to be a while before we get any continuation with the story with Dina, if ever.
Unfortunately, this series didn’t manage to escape the ‘curse of the second novel’. It was so much drier, heavier, and compressed, I can’t even really say I enjoyed it. It made me rush to finish it not because I couldn’t look away, but I wanted it to be over quickly so I could see if the next one is any better. Most of the good content that was in this was practically suffocated from two sides by too extensive dry recapping of the events of the first book in the beginning, and a wave of angst in the end; the humor and flavor of the first novel didn’t really have any space to breathe here. Also, the twist with Sean was too obvious. I really hate it when I get this ‘well wouldn’t it suck if this happened’ feeling in the middle of the book and it just comes true. I’m giving this 4 stars because it’s not a bad book (even if I can’t help but feel like there should have been a better way to write it.) But it is also is a book that didn’t really leave me feeling good.
Unbearably clichéd and cheesy work that is focused on female self-image issues more than on anything else. DNFed. I actually almost DNFed it after the very first chapter. But then I decided to make myself see if I’d get to any actual plot, made it about 40% in, and gave up. After reading the Prologue, I thought it might actually be good. With the weres introduced and the dark back-story. But then in the chapter 1 we get introduced to the heroine…who is crying over an email where an abusive boyfriend who used her and treated her like shit all the time and broke up with her, and she ‘though she would marry him’. This alone could be enough to close this book forever for me. But there’s more. Now I’m going to rant. I’ve picked up a lot of ridiculous ‘romance’ novels by mistake recently, but nothing quite like this. I can even forgive the constant ‘insta-love’, because it often comes with the werewolf territory, but… They meet, he buys her a necklace, she cries, they have sex. (The end.) …He ‘doesn’t have an ounce of fat of his body’, she’s ‘solid size 18’; he keeps thinking how all other females he knew were aggressive and demanding bitches (literally) and how she is all so soft and kind, she keeps thinking about her ‘boyfriend’ who couldn’t stand looking at her with lights on while the main character is all over her; he is supposed to be a wolf-born shifter, who had lived his all life in a pack until 18 months ago and doesn’t even know how to date humans, and a hunted outcast without his own home and taking care of a comatose brother, but he also has a bank manager on speed dial who apparently his personal account manager, and he has his own table in the ‘super expensive’ restaurant where everyone knows him and he is ‘human enough’ to have that status in the society and throw money around; she is supposed to be spirited and independent and not take shit from anyone…while she let an abusive size-shaming shithead walk all over her for years and wanted to marry him. The 40% of this book that I did read, were so full of the worst kinds of ridiculous clichés I thought my eyes were going to pop out. These characters just don’t work. They contradict themselves constantly. And more importantly, there is something very disturbing about how both men and women are treated in this.
A shame, since I thought some ideas of the series were interesting, but this is going to be a very big NOPE for me.
The first impression is very simple—reading this is like watching anime in text. Not just because it’s Japanese. It’s the whole imagery, concepts, attitudes, flow of the narrative. I suppose it’s probably a very different book for you when you don’t actually live in Japan and feel like every image from this book you’ve already seen somewhere before. But I’m at least glad that this at least was written by someone who knew what they were writing about. I also suppose that his ‘anime’ nature fits very well with the YA trend of mixing childish with gruesome deaths and cringy concepts (of people not having free will and being tortured in general). And this is really all the description I can come up with: it’s like anime, childish and bloody at the same time, full of yokai monsters and talk of samurai honor; cringy enough to keep me from really liking what is going on. Minus points for the cliff-hanger ending, as predictable as that turn was, but plus point for the Epilogue—that bit was very satisfying. On one hand, I might be curious about what will happen to the characters from now on, on the other I don’t know if I’m actually willing to read two more books to find out…
When you say ‘curse of the second novel’, many people think about the curse of the second published novel of an author. I, personally, find it much more applicable to the ‘second novel of a series’… It’s harder to find an exception, really.
This might be the closest I felt to a female protagonist. Which is probably over-sharing. And yet, I did find a few too many things I found myself empathizing with. Other than that: Yes to the banter, yes to the setting (though I do wish we would explore it a little more), yes to emphasizing thinking for yourself, yes to keeping your promises, and yes to men in black with swords. I don’t know how much we will come back in the other 2 books of these series, if at all, but it does feel like some of the concepts and ideas were left a little underdeveloped. Like the forms and identities of the remaining knights not being addressed after the beginning, or Dark court relationships in general. I think the ending could be expanded a bit more, instead of saying ‘in next few weeks things like these happened’… But oh well, this is more like asking for more, than real complains. Also, I had about 4-5 scenarios in my head of how this book could go horribly wrong all the time while reading, and I couldn’t be happier that it didn’t touch any of them. One more book like this and Thea Harrison might become a name a on my ‘automatic buy’ list.
Want to read about the worst things humans do in a fun way? This book is for you. It has great writing and humor, and they’ll mostly make you forget that it also touches on some very heavy topics. In other words, if you have a lot of triggers, this book is not for you. It is also probably important to mention that most of the worst things that happen/are mentioned in this book involve children. I feel like I’ve been fooled into a false sense of security by the attractive humor of this book, and it doesn’t feel too right. I also feel like I dug my toes into yet another 10+ book series, and now I’m in trouble. I enjoyed this book a lot, even despite the bad things it deals with, but I’m a little cautious about the directions it is going to take from here on. To be honest, I’m not sure how I will feel about the whole gates to heavens and armies of Satan scale it threatens to go with…