I was very curious to see what happened after the big cliff hanger in the first book so I was eager to pick up book two and continue with the story of Alek the warrior of Tartarus, Eva the Oracle, her best friend, the intrepid Bridget, and the stalwart and handsome cop, James. I don’t know if it is because I’ve adjusted to the author’s writing style or if the writing improved, but this sequel was an improvement on the first book for me.
And yes, this is a sequel. I suppose a person could pick it up and figure out what is going on eventually, but really it’s probably best to be read in order after Amber Smoke.
The last book ended with the next escapee from the Tartarus prison beginning to wreck havoc on Tulsa. This time it’s a demon of disease and pestilence. Alec and Eva are in Tartarus. Alec is recovering from having to come to Eva’s rescue and nearly using up all his energy because he stayed too long in the earth realm. Eva is catching her breath and sorting out all the changes in her life and finally taking seriously her new duties as Oracle after meeting Alec’s mothers the Furies and seeing the weakened Tartarus.
Meanwhile, back on earth, James is trying to figure out exactly what happened when Eva disappeared right in front of his eyes. He is under pressure for losing a suspect, but just exactly what is he supposed to tell people. They’ll think he’s crazy. Now, the captain has a new case for him and Schilling to work on. Arriving on site of a double murder, James gets one look at the corpses and the neighbor’s security feed and knows the weirdness just got weirder. There is only one source he can think of to get answers- Bridget.
Bridget is tickled to have the hottie detective there asking questions and learning the truth. He doesn’t want to believe her and yet the truth is there and he can’t deny it. After she has a good time seducing the befuddled man, they form a tentative alliance to work together. Meanwhile the scarlet swarm is infecting more and more people.
Eva and Alec return just in time to team up with Bridget and James to stop the latest evil that threatens humankind and needs to be returned to prison in Tartarus. Things grow dire and Eva is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, but will it be enough. And again, things end on a shocking note.
The first book was confusing and loose to me. In fact, there were times I wanted to set it aside because it was pieced roughly together as it offered plot threads and flipped scenes. The world building was half explained and somewhat confusing. The characters felt like caricatures at times. But for all that, it was an exciting story and I wanted to know what happened next.
I’m glad I stuck with it and kept going. While some of what I mentioned above was present in this one, it was smoothed out better and the plot was stronger and more engaging. Alec and Eva worked better in their roles and I liked that though they are attracted that they are not forcing it faster than it should be. Now Bridget and James? Those two jumped in with both feet. That passionate encounter gave me whiplash. First, he’s there at her place because he’s freaking over the weird woo woo stuff and next thing, their going at it like bunnies. It was awkwardly described. But, even then, I sorta laughed because this is so Bridget and it showed an interesting side to James. I’m actually okay with them together.
The action side was exciting and was filled with the good kind of tension and pulse-pounding danger. I don’t know what it is about plague and taking over people’s bodies, but that stuff is the scariest for me.
So, all in all, this was a good comeback. No sophomore slump here. I hope the books keep getting better as they go and I look forward to what comes next for this group. I would recommend it to New Adult Urban Fantasy lovers who don’t mind a different and sometimes confusing sort of read.
My thanks to Diversion Books for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #230 NA
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