Note: This is Book 2 in the series and can work as a stand alone.
Book 1 was good but this book is much better. It’s a bit darker, more gritty, some great secondary characters, awesome fight scenes, and some twisted fae. Yancy still fascinates me. He has his dated lingo and smokes like a chimney but his ideas of women aren’t dated (which is nice since it would have been embarrassing yet entertaining to see FBI agent Nicole Ferraro kick his butt).
Some of those background questions I had in Book 1 get answered here. We learn more about Yancy’s family and the reasons he left them. We also get to know more about the magic Guild Yancy was once part of through the Guild member James. There’s still plenty to learn about Yancy’s past but I like that we get a little bit more each book.
There’s plenty to do with the winter Fae and Old Man Winter in this story. It borders on epic fantasy because of the big sweeping implications of some of it but I liked that it stayed urban fantasy. That’s Yancy’s strength right now. There were some great messy scenes fighting ice dwarves and such. I also like Yancy’s take on using compulsion, even on evil fae.
Nicole is a great addition to the story. She’s got her own agenda and doesn’t take crap from Yancy. Yet she can play a role, keeping it cool, in order to blend in as well. She’s not all bite; she’s also a lot of brains. I really hope we see more of her in future books.
This is a fun, dark urban fantasy that wraps up the immediate mystery while leaving a few bigger questions for the series arc. Once again, it was the perfect companion to playing Titan Quest. 5/5 stars.
The Narration: Charlie Kevin was great once again. He’s the perfect fit for the gravely, snarky voice of Yancy. He also made an excellent Nicole, his voice being feminine without being ridiculous. I loved his voices for the various fae. He made them sound dangerous and deadly. All his character voices were distinct. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]
I do believe I liked this second instalment in the series more than the first one (usually, it’s the contrary).
Still packed with action, a little less noir and but with perhaps a bit more grit towards the middle , and also more female presence this time (not the Damsel In Distress kind either—she’s the one saving his ass more than the contrary... and at the same time, she’s also the way through which he can realise he may be a better person than he thinks). A dash of potential romance, but it's light, and follows the no-nonsense I'm getting used to from Yancy, and from the other party as well: they both know they live in a world that isn't what it seems, that is more often than not hectic and unforgiving, and so they're going with a carpe diem attitude rather than the usual sappy 'true love forever'.
The plot felt a little tighter than in the first book, although I could’ve done with a few less flashbacks (we already know about Yancy’s past family and time in ‘Nam from book one, so having him think about it -and- tell another character about it was redundant). Here there are more hints of a meta-plot that I think is going part of the next books in the series for now, considering a certain name dropped during a conversation, and which is bound to resurface. So far I like the world the characters evolve in; the author keeps going with other supernatural creatures than the usual vampires, werewolves and ghosts—there is a sort of werewolf, but only in appearance, and that creature’s nature is actually really cool in my opinion. The Guild of mages is prooobably full to the brim with corrupt people, and I bet it’s going to end in Yancy and a couple of good guys having to save the world or something (if the ones appearing good aren’t the most corrupt of the bunch!), which would be predictable, but also fitting in that kind of universe. I’m not sure I’d like to see it otherwise anyway.
While the main antagonist was more of the pitiful kind, all things considered, he was a good reminder than sometimes one doesn’t need to be truly evil at hear to do evil... and thus, anyone in a moment of weakness may end up turning to means they shouldn’t envision. Yancy included (good thing he plans for failsafes).
Conclusion: It still reads in some places as if it could do with another editor’s pass, but all in all the story and the characters were entertaining (in a good way, that is).
My review got chewed up by GoodReads. The pain is real.
The short version: if you can get past the first 100 lackluster pages and lower your expectations, the book isn't too terrible. I hated the hero and the heroine for a good measure of the book. They didn't have an ounce of chemistry for those first 100 pages. Hell, the heroine had more chemistry with her horse than with the hero. They fall in love completely out of nowhere. While the sexual chemistry appears late in the game, it is there and it is pretty steamy.
The secondary characters (West is the best, Helen is a sweetheart and Hamlet is so cute) save the book from being a total disaster.
The book felt like a giant prequel for the second book, with the main couple at times taking a backseat to Helen and Winterborne. After what Winterborne did near the end, I have my reservations about him, but because I am trash, I'm reading the second book.