I had a lot of fun with this book, mainly because I like Lex and the way Kate Rudd's narration brings her to life. She's brave and loyal. She knows that she's good at tactics but not a strategy. She doesn't see herself as heroic, just as someone doing what needs to be done to protect her niece and support her friends.
This episode of the Boundary Magic series has Lex at the centre all the way through. She doesn't always know what's going on and she loses as many rounds as she wins. What makes the book work is that I cared what happened to her more than I cared about the deviousness of the plot.
The plot has a few good surprises in it to keep me interested but wasn't particularly complex. In terms of story arc development, this felt like a transitional episode, setting up some new possibilities and making changes to the available characters and their relationships. On the basis, it promises well for the future.
I enjoyed the way in which Lex's knowledge and use of her power develops in this book. Her boundary magic has gone from vague to something with a solid internal logic.
This was very much a woman-centric story. There are male players in it, but mostly they are there either to get rescued, get threatened or killed or to strut around being muscular, menacing and dumb. The story is moved forward by women who are strong, bright, sometimes ruthless but very much in charge of what is happening to them. This isn't done in an in your face - look how strong my women are - way. It's subtle enough simply to be the natural outcome of the situation and the players. Still, I can't think of another series that has done this to this extent and made it work so well. I'm taking that as a good sign for the future as well.
As always, the pace is brisk, the stakes are high and the action is vivid. The end slowed down a little, partly to accommodate some of those new possiblities, but it didn't drag.
I still prefer this series to its sister/crossover series with Scarlett Bernard in LA. It feels more grounded to me. I've always preferred Colorado to California, so maybe it's just my prejudice but I find myself more engaged with Lex than with Scarlett.
Click on the Soundcloud link below to hear an excerpt narrated by Kate Rudd.