Scarlett does not want to go to Las Vegas. No, not even if there are two vampires putting on a show that may reveal the old world. No not even if Dashiel is paying her a huge sum of money. She’s not going
But Vampires don’t take no for an answer and with Dashiel manipulating her sister-in-law into going she has to try and protect them. But there she encounters something far more deadly than Dashiel expected… she could come home, but who but Scarlett will stop the death toll rising?
I would describe the world building of this book as solid and balanced and… disciplined. That seems like an odd word - but so many books have an anything-goes-magical-world and then decide ALL THE THINGS must be included so you can’t even go to the local shops without tripping over 2 leprechauns, bumping into a kitsune and dodging a Wendigo.
This book is excellently focused on the three major supernaturals - vampires, werewolves and witches, while clearly having a world with more out there but not allowing those swamp the book - instead we have nice additions without losing the focus
And I like how he implications of Scarlett, a null, fits into that - from alleviating the werewolf curse which is such a relief at times, to vampires being disturbed by actually feeling cold/hunger etc. I like the nuance of it.
What did surprise me about this book is the ending. There are elements I didn’t like - but I will say the whole thing completely surprised me - the twists and turns are completely beyond what I expected. Honestly, the ending and what happened with the characters was definitely not anything I expected as I read along. Throughout the book the plot goes in ways I never expected - the culprits were completely not what I expected. The way Scarlett finds the answers, balancing her friends, the threats and getting to the bottom of things is also a really original unexpected direction.
The plot does have moments where I think Scarlett seems to make some pretty huge leaps at times - like the whole Skinners storyline seemed to come from nowhere. Like we went from not even knowing Skinners existed and then suddenly decided they were a major threat without any real indication that they were present.but suddenly everyone focused on them
That aside the twists really make this plot. There’s action which is really well done, but not a lot mainly focusing on the investigation since Scarlett has a very unique power which isn’t necessarily a combat monster but definitely dangerous, following leads and balancing just how much Scarlett actually wants to be involved in this dangerous investigation.
I like Scarlett’s own development - she has that nice balance between her being duly concerned with her safety and the people she cares for alongside her compassion. I actually kind of like how Dashiel pretty much twists her arm to make her go - yes it’s coercive but we’re not talking a love interest here and, let’s be clear, the Cardinal Vampire of Los Angeles is going to be a ruthless user of people because, hey, master vampires, I don’t expect fluffy fluffy niceness. And Scarlett pretty much recognises this and doesn’t expect more. But I do like that she isn’t going to put herself at risk just because Dashiel says so. I like a compassionate protagonist but being a complete martyr is an overdone trope; especially female protagonists who are often not allowed to seek their own advancement.. Compassion moves her, as does threat and money - and it’s ok for a protagonist to be somewhat self interested. Of course that then falls apart because she’s only gathering a huge amount of money to help pay off her brother’s son’s massive medical bills
Hot on the Hunt
by Melissa Cutler
Book 3 (final) of ICE: Black Ops Defenders
I'll be honest and admit that I was worried this last book wouldn't end the series as fabulously as the other two books had been. Hot on the Hunt involves a premise that I found a little iffy to follow because of all the backstory about the betrayals and secrets and all that jazz.
And so when I started reading it, I went in with a little bit of trepidation. Because how was a relationship supposed to blossom from a couple who are furious with each other with so much hurt and betrayal between them? With Alicia willing to believe that John had planned her execution? With John furious about the lack of faith his teammates had in him?
With a woman so hellbent on vengeance that she would break federal laws by breaking a convict out of high-max prison just so she could kill him?
All of the events from the beginning were a little frustratingly chaotic in how everything was already out of control from the start. How was our couple supposed to come back from everything they ended up doing just to survive? And how was so much hatred supposed to just dissolve between the two of them when they were so willing to believe the worst of each other?
Everything DID come together eventually, and as events began to unfold, I sort of stopped wondering and just enjoyed the ride. Sure, the beginning was a little frustrating, what with our two main characters jumping to conclusions on the drop of the dime, but it was also framed within a lot of action and movement, so the story propelled itself forward quite nicely.
To be honest, this is probably my least favorite of the three ICE books--although with super secret agent secretary Avery Meadows headlining the second book, it's kind of hard to beat.
All-in-all, the pieces of the story came together and an ending presented itself. I kept wondering if the ex-crew would show up in this book, in all their glory. I continued to wonder how John and Alicia were going to get themselves out of their mess, aside from skipping the country as their only viable option.
And while all of my questions were not really answered--the ending of the book felt a little unresolved and open-ended--there was still a patented Happily Ever After™, and some hope on the horizon.
Hot on the Hunt was a pretty explosive ending for the ICE series, with a lot of high stakes, and some feels that sneaked into the equation.
I was properly entertained, although I'm not entirely sure that this series was really all that memorable.