Demons are riding Ricco Ferraro hard. He’s haunted by his past, that fateful night, long ago, when he was only fourteen, when he committed a crime to punish another, yet still couldn’t save innocent lives. Now, it seems, the past has come to exact its vengeance in the form of a female assassin, a fellow Shadow Rider that just happens to be the one Ricco’s been searching for all his life...His match, his mate, the only woman made for him.
For Mariko, killing Ricco isn’t just a job, it’s the means to save her brother. But no matter what, she cannot bring herself to kill. Not only because Ricco is a good man, but because he’s the only one who sees her for who she truly is, accepts her, and gives her what she’s always craved for...Love.
This is the second installment in the Shadow (Riders) series, but unlike the first book this one didn’t really “make an impact”.
Except for the action scenes, which I’ve stated many times before Christine Feehan knows how to write, and the full-on war in this one was a true joy to read, the pacing was extremely slow, the story was overburdened with fillers and repetitions, making for a tedious reading experience. Every single internal monologue by either Ricco or Mariko was an almost carbon copy of the previous one.
The Shibari scenes also didn’t do much to improve the tedium. Not being an expert, not even overly enthusiastic about learning of this particular art form, the scenes, instead of sounding erotic and sensual, as I believe was the author’s intention, merely served in slowing the pacing even further.
The only thing keeping the plot moving, actually, the only thing that kept me reading, plowing on through the mire of repetition and tedium, was the need to know who was behind the assassination plot. Was it who we all thought it was, was the conspiracy much larger? Was it all a red herring?
Unfortunately, the story ended up being predictable when the true culprit (I figured it out long before the characters did) became known, and whatever interest I held winked out.
In the end, I kept reading to see how the Ferraros would dispatch the villain. Which turned out to be quite anticlimactic.
I didn’t really care about the romance aspect of the story. To me, there was none, really. I felt no true connection between Ricco and Mariko, no spark, no real chemistry. The scenes in which their “mystical” connection was explained and droned on made me roll my eyes, the scenes of Shibari left me cold, the two sex scenes sounded formulaic, the two characters merely going through the motions...
We’re only two books into the series, and I’m already disappointed. How disappointing.
But there is a silver lining in all of this. Emme and Val being the first (in that one scene, in the middle of battle, the was more chemistry between the two that between the main characters in the entire book and I truly hope Ms Feehan finds a way to get them together), and the Italian bits have improved. Although I’ve never heard of an Italian male name Ricco, which means “wealthy, rich”. Rico, which is short for Enrico, yes, never Ricco. But hey, artistic freedom, I guess.
And the endearments weren’t cringe-worthy, although the grammatical use of two of them toward the end was utterly wrong. But, improvement!