I’ve read lots of Gena Showalter and enjoy her writing quite a bit – she’s edgy, passionate, and not afraid to go to dark places. I hadn’t read any of this series until this book. Even then, I read the blurb and, frankly, I was underwhelmed – it just didn’t grab me. But I read reviews of the series, from people I respect, so I took a chance. I even soldiered on in spite of early misgivings in the first few chapters. I mean, the hero is a total p___y hound and the heroine is a complete cipher. I remained perfectly prepared not to like it. Read on to see if I changed my mind…
YUP! THIS WAS A DA… er, DARN GOOD BOOK!
Now there were a couple of times when I wondered about the male characters’ dialogue – it doesn’t always sound too male. I’d hazard a guess that male dialogue is one of the tougher elements for many a female author. Nevertheless, I just can’t picture my brothers talking like Dallas and Devyn do a couple of times. Looking past that very small and infrequent flaw, I had a damn good time reading this book.
The heroine, Bride, is one of my favorite kind – kick-ass, capable, powerful in her own right, and smart. However, Bride is an orphan with no friends or family other than another young orphan she practically raised and from whom she’s been separated for years. She’s never forgotten her young charge, though – particularly her smell. Growing up completely segregated from anyone like her has made Bride distrustful and very, very lonely. A very unbalanced combination that leads to some interesting collisions with the hero.
Bride runs across Devyn, our hero, on a crowded street and, because of things you’ll have to read about, he smells like Bride’s missing friend. This starts a series of events that thrust our main characters together in a battle of wills and libidos that fairly burns up the pages. I got to where I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. The dialogue between Bride and Devyn – including their own internal dialogue – was some of the best I’ve read in an urban fantasy this year. You SOOOO want this couple to get together that, by the time they do, you’re panting yourself.
In addition to the sexual tension, Showalter has a serious romance going on. By the end of the book, you really can’t see these two ending up with anyone else. They’re both very broken people who manage to find each other and see past the crazy façades to what they are deep inside – both very lonely and in search of a home for their hearts. Sounds trite, doesn’t it – yeah, I know – I don’t do the “soul mate” thing either, and, luckily, neither does Showalter. But these two are as close to it as I think I’d ever care to read. I love how Devyn and Bride challenge each other, allow each other to be their own people, but also expect and give respect. It’s a wonderful balance they’ve built and it’s very satisfying to read.
So, the sexual tension and romance is high, but you wonder about the rest – how’s the action, the world building, the secondary characters, the overall story arc and motivations, right? Excellent, good, excellent, and excellent. Apparently one of the draws of this series is couples from the past books get to make reappearances in subsequent novels. We get that in StD (no pun intended) – all logically woven into the main story and no excessive or gratuitous sequel-baiting or reunions.
The story arc takes us on an interesting road as Bride searches out more of her own kind and discovers some very interesting things about herself. She ends up doing some amazing things that made me want to jump up and do a couple of Bruce Lee chops – all with a loud “KIIIYAH!” (What can I say – I’m a child of the late 70’s.)
And you’ll be happy to know that the hero grew on me. Sure, a bit like a fungus, but I like some fungi – again, no pun intended. But he ended up devoted and in love and what’s wrong with that. Not a darn thing, I tell you.
I’d recommend this book to anyone following the series, or anyone looking for a fun alternative, future Earth romance paranormal kind of love story. This book stands alone fine, but I’m going right out and buying the back list so I can immerse myself in this world for a bit. It’s a damn good time and a terrific summer read.
(GASP! This is the first of this series we’ve reviewed on this site!?)
SHE HAS A BODY MADE FOR TEMPTATION . . .
AND A KISS TO DIE FOR.
The war between otherworlders and humans changed Earth beyond recognition. It also saved Bride McKells’s life. Before, the gorgeous vampire was a target for every fanatic with a stake and a crucifix. Now she’s free to roam the streets—and desperate to find others of her kind. One man claims to have the answers she seeks. Devyn, King of the Targons, is a warrior and a womanizer, and he makes no secret of how much he wants Bride—and how dangerous he could be to her in every way.
An avid collector of women, Devyn easily seduces human and otherworlder alike. Until now. Not only does Bride resist him, but she leaves Devyn feeling something entirely new . . . a bone-deep need bordering on obsession. Her blood is the key to curing a vicious alien disease, but helping Bride uncover her origins will compel her to choose between electrifying passion and a destiny that could tear her from Devyn’s side forever.
Read an excerpt here.
Other books in the series:
|Not that Innocent, anthology with Sherrilyn Kenyon,
Kresley Cole, and Gena Showalter, coming 31 Jul 09
(but I can’t find any details on the book)
Related YA books in the “Teen Alien Huntress” series:
And some close-up coverliciousness – just ’cause I love me some luvly man…