Day Reaper, Melody Johnson
Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy
I loved the first three in this series, but this final novel was a real disappointment for me.
Its a complex cast of characters, not just the usual Humans and Vampires, but Night Bloods, Day Walkers and The Damned too. At times they overlap a lot, and I had to keep reminding myself of the differences between the groups. Its not always a s clear as it seems with Walker being a Night Blood who is out to kill Vampires ( and The Damned and Day Walkers), Ronnie who’s a Vampire but can’t seem to thrive on blood, and Cassidy’s brother Nathan transformed to one of The Damned back to Something Else….he still has the same characteristics of The damned, but not the murderous impulses and rages.
The friendships that were such an integral part of the early stories take a battering, with Cassidy fighting her friends to convince them she, Dominic and co can work with them, that they are on the side of good despite being vampires. At times its hard seeing which way either side will go. Harsh too that bonds of friendship were stretched, that Cassidy’s friends were so ready to just dismiss her, write her off a Vampire=Bad. It’s difficult too, to know who is going to help and who is just going to take advantage of the situation and change sides, or revert back to their history of preservation at all costs, or killing non humans, believing they are all evil.
The thing that really got me from this book was the credibility. Dominic has been so strong throughout, loyal to his coven, a great leader ( though I’m not sure why when the Levelling is a regular event he wasn’t more prepared…) but in this book I felt he became emasculated and that Cassidy became what I hate in fantasy reads, one of those recently transformed characters who have endless new powers popping up to save the day. It just doesn’t feel real that someone who only weeks earlier learned about vampires, gets transformed and becomes The Great Savior, so to speak, not struggling with her days only transformation but able to think clearly, adapt and do what Dominic and the others with their combined thousands of years experience can’t. I know part of it is the friendship she has with the humans but its just a step too far for me. A per hate, one that I guess won’t bother many readers, but for me which always spoils novels when it happens. 😦
I felt much of this story was dragged out just to fill pages, and perhaps the books would have been better condensed into three. Dominic could have been left as the strong, intelligent character he’s been for hundreds of years, with his quick, strategic thinking, The focus could have stayed on the Levelling, which as a huge part of the early books seemed to fizzle out into a non event really, and less attention put on Cassidy as the Saviour of Everyone! No New Girl saves the Day, keep my pet peeve out.
Stars: Three, a really disappointing ending for me, still a good read but this final book lacks the special qualities that the earlier ones had, the thing that made it such a perfect read.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Blade Bound, A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, Chloe Neill
It seems aaages since i read the first in this series, pre-kindle when I could still read text. I loved it and reread it and the other very early ones several times. Then That happened, the Ethan Disaster which spoiled it for me, I didn’t think I’d continue but saw from reviews of a later book that he was back! So I picked it up once more and continued.
I’ve always had an issue though with this and similar books where the main character is a new supernatural of some sort and yet manages to do all the things that the old, hundreds of years old, others can’t. How? Why are they so different? How come they never have all the stumbling blocks new vampires, werewolves, dragons et al do?
And that’s what got me a bit irritated, that it seemed like each story was Merit Saves The Day Yet Again * Sigh * and I stopped. Then saw this on netgalley, wondered how the series would end, got approved and needed to play catch up and buy the previous four books I’d not read #slappedwrist
Reading the last five back to back it felt very much as if I was reading the same story, just tinkered with…and that brought back memories of Sookie S when I felt the same 😦 that perhaps the series would have been better cut back a few books. There’s only so many new discoveries two new supernaturals like Merit and Mallory can make. I guess its down to two sides, group A wants more about Ethan Merit and the crew whatever the issues, they just want to read more and don’t care about the feeling of repetition. That’s lots of readers, I know from other series some just don’t want to let go of a group and will read anything connected to them. then there’s group B, where I fall, that wants stories that are believable and different, even though its fantasy it has to feel that if a happened B could result. the early books were exactly that for me, and maybe f there’d been a longer story timeline rather than the just over a year between book one and the last things may have felt that way for me.
So here we are, full circle in a way with Gabriel’s prophecy still hanging in Ethan and Merit’s minds. Actually the way that got explained/came about was well done IMO, something that made sense in the way that magic and fantasy can make a kind of sense. That bit of fantasy-reality that has you thinking “oh yes, so that happened, and therefore this was able to come about”.
We start this book with pre wedding celebrations, and from there its yet again another magical puzzle to solve, Chicago under threat, calls for supernaturals to take all the blame, humans decrying it’s Not Their Fault, let the supes take the blame. They’ve short memories when it comes to recalling that many of the past problems came about through human greed, and the supernaturals risked much to save human lives.
So much felt like I’d read it all before in those last few books. It was well written, tightly plotted and made sense in the way it played out but….it didn’t feel fresh, unique, the way those first ones did.
There’s lots of drama once more, some of Mallory’s on-the-fly magic combined with lots of theory and Catcher’s voice of reason – I love his character.
We haven’t seen much of Gabriel these last few books, he’s here but in very minor position, and I’d really have liked all the supernaturals to have pulled together for the Big Battle.
Finally the RG get more involved but once more looking back to the beginning I always thought they’d play a greater part.
I guess I’d just have a better chance of believing things will work in the future for everyone if they’d all been working on the solution, rather than Cadogan house, Mallory, Catcher and the Ombuddies.
A year of manic mayhem, scary deaths, tragedies, violence, disaster and suddenly everyone will live peacefully? What happens when the next issue arises? Will Ethan and Merit pick up their Katanas once more and wade in or claim other responsibilities, let someone else sort it?
If all forces had joined in this last book and been part of the solution I’d have believed they’d have a better chance of peace. Still, its fiction, the series has ended and it’ll be perfect for many readers 🙂
Overall the series starts off a five for me, with later books dropping drastically and I guess comes out a 3 to 4. This final book assessed alone though is a four for me, maybe a four and a half, pretty good but could have been better.
Stars: Four, pretty good but at times felt a little repetitive, and the final solution could have been better IMO.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Eternal Reign, Melody Johnson
Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy
Cassidy has come such a long way since the first book, yet its only been a few weeks. From knowing nothing about Vampires, she’s now gained so much first hand knowledge and yet still I get the sense she’s far more to learn.
Dominic is facing his levelling, a vulnerable time when usually his second would be there for him but Gillian isn’t, she betrayed him recently and she’s looking set to take over from him.
She’s amassing an army of Damned vampires, fierce, blood thirsty creatures that have little reasoning, just an instinct to kill and feed.
People are dying each night, the police have no idea what they are facing, Cassidy can’t reveal all through her reporter job, much though she’d love to, and if it continues the city will face an onslaught of deaths that makes the current ones look like nothing.
Dominic is losing his powers fast, but having to hide it from the coven, vampires gravitate to the strongest and he needs as much support as he can against Gillian, Cassidy isn’t a night blood anymore after her last injuries, and the battle is looming up.
Its another fast paced story, death, blood and gore, but with enough strength in the characters to lift it for me from a horror to something I enjoyed. I can’t take blood and gore if there’s not some way of lightening the story, some romance to balance all the hate.
Dominic clearly has feelings for Cassidy but she’s not admitting hers to him, or even to herself.
Now in this novel she needs to make some hard choices, about her job, her friends, her feelings for Dominic. I love the way Dominic treats her with respect even when he must find her incredibly frustrating – I know I would, with her insistence on “the people’s right to know”….knowing what faces his people if knowledge comes out.
Historically humans have sought to destroy any one, any group they feel aren’t human, looking at what we’ve done to witches in the past, and of course even those of a different religious persuasion and yet she seems to think that nothing bad will happen if vampires are exposed. I can’t decide if she’s deluded, naive or just plain stupid 🙂
Dominic has a typical vampire regard for humans, they’re just not important compared to his coven, he’s out to protect them at any cost even if it means killing people.
He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, doesn’t kill to feed for example, but thinks nothing of killing to protect his people if he feels there’s no other option.
There’s so much going on here, the story of the Levelling, the quest for Master of the city, the Damned vampires and now the Daywalker involvement, and among all that there’s the romance that’s slowly developing between Cassidy and Dominic.
Its another story I was glued to, really enjoyed and damn it, that ending…arrgghh…I hate when authors do that. #nocliffhangers
Stars: Five, another terrific read and c’mon, after that ending, I really hope the next book is soon!
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Sweet Last Drop, Melody Johnson
Genre: Romance, Fantasy and Sci-fi
I’d somehow missed book one but it’s only 83p so I bought and read that first, then then just has to see what;’s next so its was Click Request and a hurrah when I got this one.
I love Cassidy’s character, she’s very moral and determined to do what’s right but she’s practical and when in the last book she learned about vampires she didn’t like the covering up of murders, but understood the need, that it would prevent far more even though her journalistic roots were shouting Publish and Be Damned – hiding the truth goes against everything she’s built her career on but she reluctantly accepts it has to be done.
Once her eyes were opened to the other world living side by side with hers, there’s no going back, the vampires know of her, they know she’s aware of them and its a thin line to treat to stay alive. She’s lucky in that she’s a Night Blood, one of a few humans whose blood allows them to be transformed to a vampire.
After the fracas and mayhem of the last book she really needs time to recover and that happens to coincide with Dominic needing to cement relations with another master Vampire, Bex. She’s in the area where Walker lives and he’s invited Cassidy to stay with him for a while, to teach her what he knows about being a Night Blood and how to protect herself. She agrees to represent Dominic there to Bex, as his Night Blood if he’ll search for Nathan, her missing brother. He’s disappeared just after the start of the murders in book one and she’s worried. They only have each other, no other family and he doesn’t just go away without contact.
Of course Walker has some ulterior motives, he’s not revealing everything, Dominic always has another motive, its never simple with him, Bex is a complicated person and she’s not revealing all, and to add to the drama the murders seem to have followed Cassidy and she gets embroiled in them once more. So much for her relaxing break with Walker and persuading Bex she wants Dominic as an ally.
Its all systems go, surprise after surprise , murder after murder- at times quite gruesome, these killings are real, bloody, aggressive, visceral. These vampires don’t sparkle, live off animals, look pretty all the time, they treat humans as food, though to stay hidden they rarely actually murder, just dip and sip and a bit a dazzle to make humans think something else happened. Is it a vampire committing the murders though? Cassidy thinks so, but Walker says no and Bex is adamant none of her vampires have killed, she’d know if they did. The police think its some kind of animal at first, but then things get even more complex and Cassidy gets drawn into the heart of things, and faces fighting for her life all over again.
I like Cassidy, but I think she’s got blinkers on as far as Walker is concerned. She’s in two minds about Dominic, sees him as vampire/not human, she’s seen him in all forms, not just the handsome polished human facade, but can’t seem to help being attracted to him. Her head though is ruling at the moment and warning her against him, where her heart pulls Walker forward when I think Dominic is the better man of the two. They’re both strong characters, both seem to want Cassidy but both hiding things. Dominic is nearly 500 years old and he didn’t get to that age by spilling all to a pretty face so I kind of understand, he’s got the coven to protect too but Walker, I think he puts his hatred of Vampires first, and when we see where it started I think he’s mistaken. There’s lots to see here though and the triangle gets ever more complicated, and tangled, and I’m so unsure at times which side I’m with. But – hey- I’m forever on the wrong side when it comes to relationship triangles so what do I know? And this book is so much more than just that too, its just another side of the story.
Stars: Five, a great read and one to keep.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.