DNF. Long story short, this book is vile. And not as in that is my opinion because I didn’t like, but as in it is written to be so. From the very first chapter we are met with rape, violence, blood, vomit, and vile swearing, and everything about sex made horrid… It’s overboard. I just DNFed another book before this one where nasty and disturbing was written in for the coolness factor, and this book make that one seem almost chaste in comparison.
One could have thought that unpleasant details were there to keep true to the medieval setting, but then the writing/language of this clearly sometimes forgot where we were supposed to be. We are in the dark ages, but dialogue may go like this: ‘Awkward.’ ‘Whatever.’ or ‘Like hell.’ (said in a temple, none the less) Not to mention excessive use of swears words, including cnt, fgt, and other c**suckers, in entirely too modern manner, inmh. I’m not saying use Old English, but I do think some phrases and manners of speech are very modern inventions, and should be avoided in a historical world settings.
At first look, this book appeared like something I could love. Dark ages, werewolves, magic, and romance really sounded like a combination right up my alley. Unfortunately, I was completely turned off by the writing, and the excess of gore, and sexual violence. I didn’t even make it past the first part. At first I thought once the MC would get out of her nasty situation in the beginning at the book, it would all pick up. Especially since the short glimpse at Maeniel seemed promising. But then Lucilla made appearance (and started groping the main character) and I gave up. Excessively long and tedious beginning filled with senseless violence, rape, and swearing, and other disgusting details, for the sake of being disturbing, on a loop told me it was not worth wasting my time trying to get through it. Utterly tasteless.
(For future, when a book has multiple mentions of the fact that the author is related to another famous writer on it, and the picture in the back is not a portrait, as it usually is, but a picture of them together, it should probably be a warning enough that they are not trying to sell the book with its content…)
I’ve expected from the very beginning to have to treat this book as ‘something push through in order to continue reading the rest of the series.’ That would be because, unfortunately, I haven’t liked Prisca since book 1. She is a spoiled brat. There is a difference between having an opinion and believing your opinion to be above everyone else’s. She sticks her nose in everyone’s business, thinks she has a right to manipulate everyone’s lives, and doesn’t care to listen to anyone but herself. The whole situation where she ‘loved’ him, but chose to believe the worst about him and leave him a note cursing him to hell, when she actually made a promise to elope…doesn’t do anything to improve my opinion of her either. She doesn’t listen and think, she stops her foot and screams that everything must be as she wants it. A very annoying lead female character. In fact, it’s like she was on purpose written in a way to annoy readers to hell.
Then the “love rival”‘s behaviour didn’t help this book’s impression either… I really don’t enjoy reading books where all you want to do is smack a character on the head hard and long enough until you can shake some brains into there.
The only thing I actually really liked about this book is that the characters of the previous books, all family members, were present and active participants of the story.
There is just something about this book that prevented it from grabbing me. Maybe it was the world setting where the werewolves can only be male and like to walk around topless. Maybe it’s the too many levels of political games (and dominance) and players. (Clans, sorcerers, cults, police, various government agencies, etc; and the pissing contest within each one and among them all. Too much of boring and unpleasant to labour through it all.) Maybe it’s the ‘all self-important’ (prejudiced, judging, I-know-better, and ‘I have to be this way to be taken seriously, so don’t expect me to get off my high horse any time soon’) side to the main character. Maybe it’s all the ‘free sex’ and poly-amorous themes and sexualised imaginary everywhere (right until they are forced into insta-lust and monogamy by the powers above). The content of this book just kept balancing on the very edge between ‘okay’ and ‘don’t like’ for me constantly, and I couldn’t really get into it.
DNFed. This book lost me somewhere between mleh and disgusting. A weak (in more than one sense) main character who surfs through the story on sheer dumbness and luck. It’s likely very subjective, but there just was nothing to like about her. The whole ‘Secret world of supernatural creatures? Hear me talk about it on the radio! A hired gun is coming to kill me and he needs to do it on the air? Of course I can’t quit the show and save my hide, the show is more important!’ way of thinking is just something I can’t get behind. Her attitude towards everyone and everything is just..too dumb. Then, even setting the protagonist aside, the whole “supernatural world” of this book is too immoral and distasteful. It’s all about dominating, bullying, and abusing each other. Mated alpha practically raping anyone he wants and she still wants to hide behind him and have him protect her? Main character’s close friend questioning her why she would protect herself from being raped by the guy who turned her against her will and telling her she’s “getting too cocky”? The main character in turn then deciding she would enjoy it to become a bully herself instead? No thanks.
I have to say I wasn’t sure I really liked this book for 90% of it. It was the feeling of constantly not knowing if every character with exception for the protagonist would die the next minute or betray her. It felt like there was not enough to grasp on, not enough solid ground. I suppose in some way it is actually consistent with the life the main character is living—disappearing and re-eventing herself, watching everyone die. Also, too many innocent people dying left and right might have something to do with that. Usually, ‘mind games’ is one of the themes I try to avoid in books. But I was also pleasantly surprised by the ending, which took me right back to being excited to continue reading this series.
Pretty much in tone with the first book, but slightly lower on the humor count, and slightly higher on the ‘aggravating females’ count (a whole flock of them). If I was in a bit more irritable mood when I read this book it is entirely possible I would be going on a rant about how much I dislike these types of people who think they ‘always know better’ and have a right to interfere with and manipulate others’ lives (friends, relatives, etc.) The whole ‘refusing to realise your own feelings’ concept is also a bit too much of a tired cliche at this point, imho. Other than that, I enjoyed this book because it’s light, fun, has well-developed characters, and reads smooth and easy. Even when there’s some concept I don’t really like, it doesn’t really ever get truly irritating.
I didn’t like the first one, but since this one kept showing up in practically every list and ranking I use to find new books to read, I felt almost obligated to try it. This one felt somewhat better than the previous one, but still 1.5 legs over the line of “too rapey”. Still too full of hatred and aggression. Too crude. Too preoccupied with material things and symbols of wealth and sex, with ‘sex and violence’ being all these books are really built on. Characters hardly talk to each other, mostly at each other. Everyone hates each other, everyone wants to kill everyone else, and then when they feel a fierce need to also have sex with each other for some ‘supernatural-biological’ reason, the ‘plot’ ensues. At least I now have ‘tried’ these series and the author enough to have no regrets about parting our ways and not looking back.
While I expected to like this book enough, black wolf protectors and all, there was a number of issues that just really bothered me: – Personalities of main characters seem inconsistent and floating. They jump from one kind behavior to another in a way that doesn’t feel natural. The heroine switches from acting like a reasonable young woman kidnapped out of her life and being hostile and suspicions, to suddenly being all accepting and understanding and kind to everyone, to suddenly playing at being the lead detective on a case and having authority, to playing at girlfriends, to cuddling with a person and propositioning them, to shutting them out and down 5 mins later… and on and on. The hero only appears to be better because there is much less text in his POV, but his personality also felt like it flipped over half way through. There’s also this ‘brainless’ disease I’ve seen a number of times before, where characters talk and act but pretend that they have no ability to analyze or comprehend why they are doing something and just exist in denial. – A tad too much hate towards women. As in, it’s very hard to find a positive female character who is not dead. I half expected for Rachel to turn out to be the killer. Because the remaining female characters were a lying traitor who sold people out for money and an aggressive egocentric bitch who couldn’t take no for an answer. A vivid contrast to a whole collection of attractive males who also all look like they are in their twenties, regardless of their age, and of course like the main character. – The fact that people kept forgetting and ‘letting be’ the serial murderers they had to catch. The treatment of this part of the plot didn’t seem appropriate, as it was constantly pushed behind something else, as if catching the murders before they killed again was far less important than a whole list of other things. Or at least that was the impression I got. – While the ‘twist’ conclusion itself was not boring, something happened to writing on the last 20% where it turned jaw-numbingly cheesy and dry. The places that were supposed to make me swoon made me grimace. It’s like suddenly there was something very unsavory about the tone of the book and it spoiled the conclusion. The bare facts of which, again, weren’t actually bad on their own… there was just something about the way it all was presented.
Imaginative, original, addictive. It’s actually sad that it is so short (and that I can’t get the compilation edition in this side of the world). I feel like there could have a been a bit more meat to this. Loved the idea, even with the vampires (who are a bit like carnivorous violent elves), loved all the references, loved Sean and Beast bonding. It’a bit like a mix of good urban fantasy with old classic comedic sci-fi, but where where everything can be explained by magic. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next part. Out of Ilona Andrews’s worlds (and I haven’t read them all yet, but I’ve read the descriptions) this idea might actually be my favorite.
Heh. I still maintain my position that the whole ‘I won’t believe this child is mine’ debacle that ended the previous book was a terrible terrible plot decision. Yes, I understand that it was probably necessary to make the heroine go to Italy and learn all the things she needed to learn, but my whole being stands against suiciding the main relationship of the book like that and then downplaying it like it was no big deal, just temper… a very long outburst of temper. I wished for a while that I was strong enough to simply leave this series behind and not be compelled to continue reading just to get rid of the foul aftertaste the ending of the second book left. Yet here I am. Thinking I will probably have to pick up at least one more, before I give up. TBH, the whole preternatural plot line in losing me. I feel like I mostly skipped through Alexia parts, really tuning in only on things happening back in London. I don’t like that once the main characters got married they spent 90% of book 2 apart, and 98% of book 3 apart. I don’t like that instead of spending time with fun and interesting London characters introduced in the 1st book(though we did at least get some of Professor in this one), we have to follow Alexia and French inventors, interact with fanatic societies and read a lot of degrading language. The world of these books still has elements and characters I’m attracted too, but I just can’t really agree with the directions the story is taking…
The ‘refreshing beverage with a crunchy snack’ was the best part of this book, and it’s sad.
While I thought that the book begun strongly, it soon switched to a format of jumping from one short encounter to another, most of them turning sexual. It was very easy to forget that the main characters were supposed to be supernaturals. Or that there was supposed to be something else going on besides two adults behaving like hormonal teenagers around each other, unable to express their thoughts and feelings. And the ‘mysterious disappearances’ were hardly mentioned until the very end of the book. While some of the writing and dialogs were fun, the ‘they’re going to speak or have sex once a month and that’s all the story we’ll get’ format made me feel increasingly detached half way through, especially from the heroine (who mostly bit the insides of her cheeks at least once each chapter, if not page). I don’t know, I feel that there were some very good elements, but they are not really tied together in an engaging way. Maybe timeline-hopping kind of stories is just generally not my thing. I also generally don’t like characters (and people) who can’t be honest to themselves, it’s tiring.
What can be more self-indulgent than a werewolf romance writer writing about a werewolf romance writer getting it on with a (hot, rich, super smart, practically a prince) werewolf? Normally, I have a giant soft spot for self-indulgent novels. I can even live (though not for long) with the whole ‘(reluctant) cinderella’ concept (as old and stupid as it is), where a woman suddenly needs to be introduced to all the riches and luxuries by some kind of protective prince charming, but she’s also going to bitch about it on every step. And with the overly-fantastical romance scenes. They do give me a toothache, but I can live with them as long as the book doesn’t take itself too seriously and there’s enough humor to cover it up. So normally I would’ve given this kind of book a higher rating, if there wasn’t one substantial problem… of the main character turning from ‘egoistically stubborn’ to ‘utterly idiotic’ towards the end of the book. The whole ‘Werewolves are very much against being discovered by public. But I’m a writer so I’m going to remember every detail about their lives and write about it’ and ‘Now that I saw the real thing I will only want to write exactly how it is and you can’t censor me!’ <- is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever read. She’s a fantasy romance writer for fluff’s sake, not a documentary journalist. The ‘I will write the reality and present is as fiction’ attitude is no better than plagiarism, it’s like saying ‘I don’t want to use my imagination anymore if I can just observe and describe you and then tell people I made it up’ and as a representation of a fantasy writer is frankly nothing but insulting. And then there’s also ‘oh, they took my laptop so I’m going to snoop around people’s private offices until I find it because I’m the most important one here!’ Seriously though, I know how it is to be hysterically protective of your writing laptop, but unless there was a valid possibility that people were going to go through it or destroy it before they could be stopped (which was not the case in the book), there’s no way any human being with a brain would’ve handled the situation the way the main character did. Nothing turns me off and away from a book as characters who make me scream ‘why in hell do you need to be so stupid??!!’ in my head… Also, on my quest of combing through all sorts of ‘comfort literature’, I’m getting increasingly sick and tired of the representation of heroines that makes you pity the heroes for having to put up with all the selfishness and blindness to everything but themselves…
Writing style of Ilona Andrews sometimes makes me envious. It is in the attention to details and imagination with the environments and world-building. One that makes me sometimes feel like I’d walk through the same place they did and my mind would be too chaotic to notice even half of things they would. I enjoyed this book quite a lot. I like that the heroine is both very strong and independent, but also can show vulnerability, question things, and admit it when she screws up. I like that this is an urban fantasy first and foremost. Even though I do feel that a number of innocent victims and number of times main characters try to die is a bit too much… The minus points are for that and for the part where the main character actually looks right at the culprit, realizes who it is, … and then gets distracted and forgets about it completely, even when they sit down and discuss who it might be she doesn’t say anything, and then we need to go on the whole loop of them not knowing whom to blame, and people not working together and not looking in right places. I feel like it wouldn’t be natural for her not to listen to her gut like that and the whole loop felt a bit overplayed and unnecessarily complicated. Looking forwards to getting into the rest of the series though.
If I wanted put my opinion about this sequel in a single word it would be ‘frustrating’. It feels like this book follows practically the same arc as the first one did, and ended also in practically the same place. In fact, they were so similar that it actually made me wonder if every ‘Mercy Thompson’ book is going to follow this pattern of ‘An enemy appears-> Mercy gets involved (reluctantly) -> all her (few lifetimes older, more powerful, more experienced, supernatural) male friends tell her to stay out it, and then get hurt or likely captured by the evil guy -> Mercy, being the special cookie she is, rides in to save the day and all the powerful men in her life.’ I am also finding myself liking the main character less and less, which is unfortunate because I thought there was no way I wouldn’t like a headstrong independent heroine. But the more I read the less I believe that Mercy is what we are supposed to believe she is. Here are the facts that bother me: 1) Powerful men of all races like her and care about her. Good human cop is her friend, one of the most powerful vampires (who are supposed to be evil) cares about her, very powerful fae (who are supposed to be uninvolved) like her and help her, the nicest alpha werewolf around is supposed to be in love with her, the very dominating son (and a doctor) of the most powerful werewolf (who also acts like her father figure) also wants her. Literally everywhere you look there will be a very powerful male ready to act all caring and protective towards her. Including powerful gay friends. 2) Every female character either acts like a bitch towards her, or openly submissive, or is a daughter of a man she is trying to date and is going to look up to her. I literally can’t remember a single positive female character in these two books, unless they are dead or Jesse. 3) She ‘cannot possibly choose between these two sexy men(her exact description)’, so she is going to live with one, and kiss and cuddle occasionally, and sometimes date and cuddle with the other one, but also act like she doesn’t want either <-the behavior I absolutely despise. If she at least owned it, it would be a choice, but she simply does it because she doesn’t know what she wants and just strings everyone along. She is increasingly manipulative, wants to stay out of any pack power structures but enjoys showing off power over others every time she gets a chance a bit too much, and acts like she wants to be ‘one leg in one leg out as long as it’s convenient to her’ with everything, not only her love life. Which looks less and less to me like a ‘strong and independent female protagonist’. Also, author’s insistence on describing men as domineering assholes, even the good ones, over and over is getting tiring. And I hate hate hate love triangles (especially ones that last for multiple books).