Love triangles make me want to pull my hair out. From the very beginning of this series, I have been completely and totally Team Zulu. He has always been so compelling. Powerful. Sexy. Enigmatic. And completely amazing with Lenore. Then there is MeShack, the man-whore who broke her heart; the guy that can't keep it in his pants for five minutes. Yet, I saw the writing on the wall back in Fire Baptized. MeShack grew up with Lenore. They share years of common history and love. No matter what roundabout fashion we have to get there, that's they guy who always gets the girl. And he does not deserve the girl.
In cases such as these, there are not many ways to level the playing field. The author can either kill off the great boyfriend (a la Kim Harrison) -or pull some character assassination out of left field (ie. Jess Haines.) I'm sure there have always been some MeShack fans out there. But with things as they were, there was no viable way to discount Zulu, so we must look to the options above.
At the end of The Burning Bush, MeShack died. I celebrated. I knew that was likely a fake-out, but I let myself hold out hope that the love triangle was over and Kenya Wright had totally proven me wrong and actually went the way I wanted. Nope.
We find out on page one that MeShack is alive. I'm not going to spoil the how's and why's of it, but he is no longer the man he was. Half the book is written in his POV, and follows his journey as he struggles to understand how he has changed and deal with it. The other half follows Lenore as she seeks vengeance for what happened to him and Cassie -as her relationship with Zulu grows even more intense.
I knew at the 21% mark how it was all going to play out. I hoped I was wrong. I wasn't. My worst fears were confirmed 68% in. I hated that Wright went in this direction, but I am also mad at myself because I should have known better. I did know better. But it upset me all the same. I almost quit reading the book… which says a lot, because this is a really good series. I was that pissed off.
I'm glad I didn't stop reading. Things didn't wrap up quite as tidy as they could have and that lets me (foolishly) hope the end-game isn't really a foregone conclusion. Aside from that, there is some cool stuff going on. If you're not all about the relationships, or if you're not in the Zulu camp, the book will likely rock your socks off. As with the previous installments, the story is layered and smart; the action is intense (though gory at times); and the heat level is molten hot. Wright knows how to deliver in her love scenes.
Did I give it all away? Did I say anything of value here? (*sigh*) I don't know. Wright has obviously done something right, in that I care so much about these characters. But I don't like being sucker punched either. - I will read the next book, but I don't have the excited joy going on that I had the last two times around.
*ARC provided by author for review