I'd really been looking forward to the next book in the Arcana Chronicles series and this one just didn't work that well for me. Usually I do a series reread leading up to a new release and didn't this time. Maybe I was behind on a bunch of details? I don't know. TDC just didn't grab me like the last books had. The ending also makes me cranky. Harrumph.
***My review is spoilery and full of rambles. I'm in a weird place after reading this book.***
Arcana Rising (book #5) ended with Evie living with Arik and pregnant with his child. :( But we also got confirmation that Jack survived. (Yay!! Happiest of dances!) TDC begins with Evie being suspicious of everyone, especially Paul, the jack of all trades handy-medic-cook who's Arik's assistant. And then no one believes Evie's version of events. She wonders if it's her pregnancy hormones. Ugh. It's kind of an odd start. I appreciated that the villain used gaslighting to torture Evie. It feels timely and is super evil. I also appreciated that Evie was not thrilled to have an unplanned pregnancy during an apocalypse. Kind of a low bar, but pregnancy in romance is so often treated as a fix-all, and in this story it is not.
Evie has a huge falling out with Arik, gets kicked out of the fortress, and teams up with Joules and Kentarch (who shows up with a sweet truck). Paul, our new villain, has tapped into Arik's long-standing distrust of Evie and he (Arik) now hates her and wants to kill her. This set up a huge conflict in the Evie and Arik branch of the love triangle. I get it, but it felt like a retread for them. Also, Arik's actions were super shitty. I know he wasn't in control of himself, but he was awful to her for weeks. Maybe I'm not appreciating how he was controlled by Paul. Just, lines were crossed that couldn't be uncrossed. We've also seen other characters resist mind control, especially for the sake of someone they love. It was meaningful to me that Arik couldn't. He needed another character to get out of it.
In order to contact Circe, who is too far under a frozen moat to talk to, Evie & co venture out to find a big enough body of water for Circe to communicate with Evie. Evie believes that Circe knows how to stop Paul.
Finally, in this book, Evie travels east to the Outer Banks. Along the way, the Arcana run into Jack. I have been DYING for their reunion. It was okay. Maybe the way they find him felt mundane? Argh. Jack is Jack tho: hard to kill, cunning, and gone for Evie. :)
Evie felt passive through a lot of this story. She's sidelined by both men in her life at different points and it's frustrating. She's a badass, and she finally uses her skills, and by the end of the book seems to understand how to access them, which is nice. It's odd that so many Arcana are scared of her when they first meet her, but Arik and Jack want to lock her up in a secure location. It's strange that the two people who love her the most don't believe she can take care of herself. (She just did that in the last book!)
Okay, so Evie & Co plus Jack reach the shore, LOTS of adventure ensues and Evie hits a turning point in her powers. This was excellent. Also, Evie and Jack reconcile and I loved that. Jack just rolls with her pregnancy because of course he does. Again, another low bar, but it really showed how Jack is focused on the now. He loves Evie. If she has a kid, he'll love Evie's kid unconditionally. Heroic behavior from my fav Cajun.
Arik shows up in spectacular fashion and then there's a lot of emphasis on the love triangle. If you want to read about a heroine who truly loves two people and they accept that about her, here you go. (No, not in a polyamory way.) This was well done. All three of them talk about it with each other in depth. Six books in, I want Evie to pick one--PICK JACK, EVIE!--and be done with it.
They return to the fortress and strategize how to kill Paul without Arik succumbing to his control over him again. I loved how this played out. Evie shows what she can do and freaks everyone out. *shrug* I didn't like how, because she's pregnant with Arik's baby, Jack decides to leave and Evie's reaction is to let him. So frustrating.
Highs: I think my favorite part of this book is the main villain. Paul was scary and twisty and difficult to vanquish. There were other villains who were wonderfully creepy too. I also love Evie and Circe's friendship.
Lows: Richter didn't do anything for me in this book. He comes across as a meathead, so not particularly scary. At times, Jack felt a bit muted. He's not really jealous or possessive, which is good, but he doesn't fight for a future with Evie. I get it that he wants her to be in a safe place, but ugh. Apocalyptic love is rough. Love triangles are aggravating when I'm used to (and prefer) an HEA with one couple.
I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I'll do a reread so I'm ready. I know what I'm hoping for, but maybe I need to prepare myself for a different outcome. Bah.
*Authored by Kresley Cole of series Immortals After Dark fame
Into the blood-splattered snow, the lone warrior fell to one knee and shuddered with weakness. Still, an arm shot out to raise a sword against the oncoming legion. Her dented breastplate swallowed her small form. Though the winds howled, whipping her hair, she heard the twang of the bowstring unleashed. She screamed in fury when the arrow punctured the center of her armor, the blow sending her flying back.
The arrowhead had pierced through metal, then barely through her breastbone, just enough that her heart met the point with each beat. The beating of her own brave heart was killing her. But her scream had woken two nearby gods sleeping together through a brutal, wintry decade.
They stirred and looked down upon the maiden, seeing in her eyes courage burning bright. Bravery and will had marked her entire life, but the light ebbed with death and they mourned it.
Freya, the female god, whispered that they should take her courage and preserve it for eternity because it was so precious.
The first in the Immortals After Dark series, we get the origins of the Valkyrie and an introduction to the lore. This was also a hot little number with Myst and Wroth rubbing all up on each other.
It's an introduction novella, so the shorter word count leaves some to be desired with flushed out world but I loved our leads. Myst was kickass and Wroth, for all his confusion, was commanding but tolerant beast.
The conflict comes from Myst's trust issues with men and Wroth not knowing how to navigate it and some hints as to the series future enemies may be.
I enjoyed the hotness and excitement of it all.
Immortals After Dark, Book 18
I Picked Up This Book Because: Continuation of the series
Calliope “Lila” Barbot:
Abyssian “Sian” Infernas:
I don’t remember these characters in any of the previous books but perhaps that is because I’ve missed the last two or three, no idea how. Unfamiliar-ness aside I really enjoyed this story. I listed to the audiobook in my car and found myself often reaching my destination but sitting in my car for a few minutes listening to the story, fine when you’re at the grocery store not too great when you are late for work.
There was definitely a power struggle between these two which I really enjoyed. As formidable as there are against each other I much preferred it when they finally teamed up. This book was full of laughs, smoking hot sex and great relationships.
The trickster king and queen shall reign together for a long time.
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