(Kate Daniels, #8)

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

To say I was excited about this book would have been an understatement. Like many other UF fans, I'm giddy over the Kate Daniels world with its group of violent but enjoyable characters, weird magic environment, and bigger than bad monsters. I've read every book in the series, with the third (Magic Strikes) remaining my firm favorite until the release last year (Magic Breaks) blew that apart and cemented the seventh in my heart as the absolute best of Kate Daniels. So of course I went into the eighth with held breath.

It's usually inevitable that when you go into a book, movie, or anything else with such high hopes that those hopes will be deflated a little. This turned out to be the case, although I doubt it's not only because it was overrated in my head, but there really were some minor (and let me repeat: minor) letdowns.

Kate and Curran have settled into their new reality, separate from the pack and not bogged down with obligatory, tedious administrative duties that drove them crazy. They have some privacy this time and can get it on or off without a hundred shape-shifters listening in to their every move and grumble. Overall I still applaud this change - Kate not being able to walk down the hall without running into several characters got old, and her daily routine having to be covered and griped about in the book also got old. We remove a little bit of the pack politics, but the pack stayed firm in the book, of course, as there are still key players around for short spurts and new....pack politics. Sigh.

Another change is Cutting Edge is hardly mentioned and rarely worked at. It seems like a ghost town office now that Andrea has moved on. Derek and others are rarely seen except when needed for a short paragraph or so. More of this book is focused on the guild and how much it's fallen apart. This didn't interest me much but showed a new direction for Curran to take and probably Kate as well for their evolving careers.

This book is a semi-filler book really. It shows their transitions of finances and looking at new places that will probably play bigger roles in the last books. It shows their breaks from pack leads and how this affects their lives during the transition, mainly for Curran.

The monster (won't spoil it in case you haven't read it, that is revealed as they figure it out after awhile of investigating and fighting and what not) was creative. The writing duo enjoys digging into mythological lore and old legend to bring forth baddies for Kate Daniels and her group to fight. This one is super powerful and takes awhile to solve, both on what it and is and ultimately how to beat it.

To get help Kate has to consult some regulars like Saiman, who in his brief role is an absolute dick who will probably not be redeemed the rest of the series. Ghastek is around briefly, which disappointed me. I thought with the big reveal of who Kate is that there may be more necromancy work or those politics at play, and they are hinted at for a scene or two but play little relevance. Andrew is there for like two paragraphs, that's it. And there's no way in hell I'd ever pay that $80,000+ bill. The nerve of even suggesting it considering who she is. It's like she had a smudge of respect and first but then nothing.

So with the People and Kate's new revelation, there's very little progress. Still nothing mentioned on supposed training she was supposed to get sequels ago from Rowena. Still nothing bigger on personal development with her powers and exploring that. Strange, unleveled respect from the People - although the conversation and drawing from Ghastek was one of the best parts of the book. The butt/bee drawing had me giggling out loud.

"One does not simply ring Roland."

Besides this, the major disappointment with little Roland development. The dinner scene was classic - loved it - but not sure what to think about the prophecy shown to her. I wasn't hoping for that, but we'll see what the authors have up their sleeves. They usually don't disappoint. We now have a clue on how this way may end (again, a mini filler touch)

Overall the monster was intriguing but for some reason I grew bored with some of the consistent fighting. I wanted more development in other areas, but this was pushed aside for fighting. Some of the fighting was epic, that's fine, but it grew a little old after too much. I expected a lot more from the Roland angle. It seemed like a half filler book. Finally, this hardback was pretty pricey! Cost me almost thirty bucks at the local bookstore.

On the plus side, the humor was great and worked just as well as it always did, I still love Curran and Kate's relationship, I'm glad about the changes from the pack, and there's plenty left to come before this series goes out in a big bang.

   Book Quotes:

“One doesn’t let her fiancé fight a horde of ghouls by himself. Some things were just not done.” 

“I had come here intending to declare a possible war and instead ended up planning a dinner date with my father at Applebee’s.” 

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