“Only poor people are weird. Rich people are eccentric.”
Since it's from Ilona Andrews and in the Kate Daniels world, it's not a surprise I enjoyed this one at least some. I dig the husband-wife team's writing style and the unusual world they've splashed on the pages.
This one focuses on Andrea as the heroine and her relationship woes with Raphael, trying to go on her own to solve a series of shapeshifter murders and coming to terms with what she is and where she fits into the pack. I've always liked Andrea as a side character when the POV is Kate; her personality is strong, supportive, and creative enough. Being in her head just wasn't as enjoyable an experience as Kate. She comes across colder and harsher. Kate was a supreme bad-ass also, but she had humor in her thinking, making it easier and more enjoyable to follow. Andrea didn't have any of that and it that in a way Ilona Andrews barely missed the mark of making her stand as her own, individualized character.
I've always truly dug Raphael in previous books. He had sarcasm, humor, flirty style, and a hotness that simmered. Here it's mainly absent. He doesn't flirt much besides the obvious scenes where they're teasing each other up, there's little to no humor from him like before, and the one minor sex scene is extremely abbreviated. A big bulk of the book is her feelings for Raphael and wanting to be with him, but in a distant kind of way sometimes, other times almost mopey and overwhelming.
A lot of people dislike Aunt B, and I thought maybe it was because of something that happened in this book. I don't see anything negative about her here compared to other novels. If anything she seemed a bit understanding and sympathetic (for the type of shapeshifter she is anyway.)
I thought Kate and Curran only had one minor scene, but I was surprised and delighted to find they had three. The book held more depth when they were there with their humor and seriousness blended. Asconio intrigued me with the last Kate Daniels book and works well again as a supportive character, but stands down a little. I was surprised with Julie. Usually I like the fourteen year old, but her scene here just made her seem like an unreasonable, annoying, and bratty character. Ugh.
Plot wise it's a slow buildup and start after the initial opening. Since Andrea is trying to come to further terms with herself as a bouda, more emphasis is placed on her fighting in her animal form than with the traditional bow and arrow and guns, although they are there too. Pacing and tension during fight scenes are tight. I enjoyed the villain as something unique and different with a bizarrely established presence. Snakes are creepy! Having them here heightened the suspense when they were around and as always Andrews has created a different sort of foe to battle.
Overall the book is certainly worth reading for Kate Daniels fans, but Andrea seems to lose some of her uniqueness for some odd reason and doesn't come off as enjoyable as Kate in my eyes. Her relationship with Raphael is much more serious than Kate and Curran's fun arguments were as well, and the relationship angle takes up a huge amount of the story without having all the hotness I was anticipating from other books when they were showcased.
The ending has a novella of the Kate Daniels series, which fills in some gaps for the Andrea story and explains things further. I really dug the novella - Kate and Curran are in their usual fun form, the child's story is a clever and strange one that I enjoyed the journey and resolution regarding. Ghastek is finally shown a good amount. Andrews creates a unique vampire world with the people but they are seldom seem as it's more pack orientated. Here we get to see more interaction with them.
“You will not pass!” Roman thundered.
Great. Now he had decided he was Gandalf.”- Andrea
“You’re the most experienced investigator I’ve got who’s not tied up in something, and I can’t ask the Consort to look look into it, because A) she and Curran are working on something else and B) when the Consort gets involved, half of the world blows up.”
“Since we’re playing that game… " I tilted my face up to his and gave him a lovesick gaze.
“Do you have to sneeze?” he asked.
First Chapter Excerpt
Kate Daniels World - Author Extra Site