This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley
Released on February 3, 2015
I’m flailing my arms here as I start this review and feeling inadequate to write this up. I’ve sat on the review for a while and things aren’t getting clearer so I’ll just proceed and let readers make of it what they will.
After reading this one, I can honestly say that three books in and I’m baffled. This doesn’t happen that often and usually doesn’t last this long, but yep, this series has me stumped. Why you might ask? Because I’m still on the fence with the ‘like/dislike stop reading/continue reading on’ feelings. I really don’t know. This is the first time that after three tries, I am still trying to wait and see. I know that is not very helpful to other potential readers, but there you are. To put it succinctly, there are things I like enough to keep reading and things that bug me and want to make me stop.
I have yet to get a read on the heroine. I think she has some sort of compulsive disorder that makes her have this issue of balance (everything- favors, feelings, finances, objects, you name it it must balance equally), but I know for a fact that both heroine and hero are very much broken just a bit by their respective pasts so that love and attachment are scary things for them. Both only accept their psychic gifts after much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and being dragged kicking and screaming. While unique and possibly fascinating, these cause pacing issues in the story so that it advances in stuttering stops and starts causing difficulty for me to engage in the story. I never realized before how much I relied on needing to understand characters and their motives for me to feel comfortable enough to focus on a story. I don’t get the heroine or more accurately I don’t get her very well and her reactions don’t make sense to me half the time so I’m constantly distracted by that. Mostly, she gets mad or touchy about things and I have to re-read to see what set her off and still come away not working out what the big deal was.
Now that being said, I do appreciate several things about this unique book/series. I like how the author shakes out a few new tidbits about the ghost world and the psychic gifts with each new installment. It’s like a need to know as you go sort of thing which is tough on the pair of partners because each installment in the series ups the ante on the difficulty of the ghostly mission too, but it is an excellent way to tease out the tension and mystery. Claire and Zach make a really good team when they are not busy trying to go off and save the world alone because they are both alpha protector types. Enzo the dog spirit guide is always a welcome appearance. I love that with each passing story Zach, who appeared to have very little psychic ability at first is getting stronger and more resourceful. Claire? Well Claire I’m not sure about. I don’t think she is getting stronger so much as she is getting more willing and accepting which allows her powers to unlock and be useful. They are both extremely stubborn and difficult, but are very determined to do the right thing. Their romance is a very lusty one particularly because they pour their feelings that they aren’t comfortable admitting into the physical side. This is an Urban Fantasy so the romance is at a steady pace and not something that happens quick and fast. It often gets set aside to work on the case because those are life and death situations.
And the cases themselves are a source of interest and fascination when it comes to the historical backdrop, details and description of setting. Even though this is a modern Urban Fantasy, I still am given a good does of Western History lore and setting with the various Colorado places and towns they go.
In this one, they are dealing with an evil ghost that has the ability to eat other ghosts and ghost seers as well. Claire and Zach are called in by Zach’s landlady, Mrs. Flinton to help protect her great-grandson because he is a young ghost seer and he’s being stalked by the evil ghost. He is especially vulnerable because his parents don’t believe in ghosts or his ability so they won’t let anyone who does near him. This evil ghost is of the sort that Claire will have to reach deep, learn quickly a new method and rely on her partner, Zach. Zach too will have to grow and trust and accept what he can do.
So, there you have it. I’m confused, I’m frustrated, but I can’t say that I’m bored or not entertained. And, yes, I will continue. And because I’m a giver, I really think Urban Fantasy fans should try this series for themselves for something unique in the way of paranormal world building and character development.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.