This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley
Released on September 5, 2014
I went into this sequel with the attitude that while I wasn’t blown away by the first book, I still saw plenty of good stuff to want to continue the series. After shutting the last page on the book, I’m left with an odd feeling. In a nutshell, I was dissatisfied that both separately and together, Claire and Zach didn’t grow- in fact, they regressed and then had to move forward again. It felt like déjà vu reading this story because in many ways it was a copy of the first book when it comes to certain elements. I’m going to skip my usual summary or this will all get entirely too long (okay, longer than my usual epic-length reviews).
Now what do I mean about the déjà vu thing…
I gave the first book a pass on the pacing and ability to grab my interest right away because it was setting things up- introducing the Ghost Seer world, introducing the characters, etc. It had a slow start and really didn’t start moving until over half-way through and even then it was tempered by long moments of Claire’s denials. Claire and Zach had hang-ups because of her new psychic gift, her almost OCD accountant-type brain that turns all aspects of her life into an account sheet, his new disability causing him to give up a career that defined him, his need to suppress his own psychic gift, their family issues from their pasts that are unresolved so bleed into their present and their relationship commitment issues. About halfway through, things got real and dangerous with the general plot and got steamy with the romance and that’s when I settled in for the ride.
Now fast-forward to this book and, well, let’s just say everything I just said about book one- and I mean everything- is true again. New ghost, new case, but really the ground being covered was the same. They were nearly back to square one with accepting psychic gifts, not dealing with their pasts and dancing around each other. I waited to see if this stuff got dealt with quick and moved on, but it didn’t. And then finally, long after I gave up on seeing any forward movement, there was a little at the end. Not where I wanted to be when I closed the last page on the sequel and I definitely was disappointed that this second book had the same pacing issues without the excuse of being the first book. Over half the book was Claire’s dithering about her gift and about her relationship with Zach and this had me muttering several times to ‘just get on with it- accept/don’t accept gift, be with him/don’t be with him, but just make a choice already’. I’d be more understanding if it all didn’t seem like barriers just to have barriers. If the progress is to be three steps forward two steps back all the time, this will be a seriously long series and the reader can save themselves some irritation and just jump in to the middle of the book after getting the set up chapter. Whew! Okay, that’s out of my system.
As to what kept me reading and enjoying this book, first of all, I enjoy the creative Ghost Seer world that Claire and Zach along with a handful of others that look like they’ll be regular minor characters are part of. Enzo, the dog ghost mentor for Claire, is back and just as engaging as ever. I am very curious about the Other that share’s Enzo’s body sometimes.
Zach and Claire’s prickly, but passionate chemistry is still there. Things are hot in their sexy times and this is the one thing they have that is simple between them. They understand each other so well even if they have trouble understanding themselves or their relationship which causes some of the trouble in their relationship.
On an aside, I don’t get their hang-ups about being together even after the explanations, but that’s nothing to how I feel about the character of Claire. I really don’t get Claire at all. I don’t dislike her, in fact, she amuses me to death, but I do think she’s a bit of an oddity and not b/c of the ghost or accountant stuff. That’s part of her personality and I get that stuff. Her thing about ‘balance’ in her relationships and need to not depend on others. The issues she takes with things seem so minor or non-existent to me. She keeps me slightly confused the whole time I’m reading. I wanted to laugh every time someone told her to do/do not something (and this was generally related to her safety after she’d been attacked) b/c this was like a signal for her back to stiffen and her common sense to get tangled. It doesn’t occur to her that people tell her things because they care and not because they want to boss her around (okay, most people have altruistic reasons).
Moving on, I also enjoyed the new ghost who was quite the character, his unsolved murder, the ghost town and ranch setting along with the new characters that were well drawn and kept my interest. I want more Enzo, more Dora, and more time with Zach’s mom who seems to be a key to his unresolved issues. I want more of the author’s unique writing voice too that gives the stories a foreign flavor particularly Claire’s voice (maybe her gypsy background coming into play?)
While much of the book didn’t feel like it progressed much as to Claire and Zach’s development, I did feel that the last bit showed promise of where things are going. I guess when all’s said and done, I want to keep going with the series. Ironically, I’m going to recommend that the reader start with book one if they plan to tackle the series because there is a great deal of background given in the first book that makes sense in the second one. My recommendation is to Urban Fantasy lovers that don’t mind a difficult yet passionate couple as their heroes.
This book was graciously provided by Penguin Group and Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.
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