Jess decided she was going to have nothing to do with the Gryphons any more, regardless of their blackmail, not after what she learned about her childhood
That’s until her best friend Steph’s cousin is turned into a ghoul by the Goblin who owns his soul. How can she refuse to be involved in the investigation and turn her back on her friend?
Of course, going back to the Gryphons isn’t helping her rocky relationship with her satyr boyfriend, Lucen, who wants her to accept the multiple sex partners that are necessary for satyrs. And that’s before she tackles her own conflicted feelings about her own Pred heritage.
Looming over all of this, several prophecies are aligning – and the end of the world may be nigh.
This book is moving the story to a whole new level – in some ways it’s a transition book; but usually that would mean a weaker novel but that’s far from the case here. It feels like Jess has reached the end of her journey of self-discovery and all the conflict there and it has been done excellently. I’ve loved every step of that.
On top of that we have an introduction of the next stage of the meta-plot – the ominous prophecies we’ve been hearing for a while. We can see this looming, it has been introduced and the series has some excellent deduction
And, among that, we have a decent mystery that is both personal to Jess and relevant to the meta-plot but still stands up sufficiently on its own to make sure the book isn’t all about setting up the next book. We have an investigation, a clear book-specific story arc as well.
All three of these elements are really well balanced, really well paced and work extremely well together – it made the book fun to read while still serving up plenty of hooks for the fourth book.
On top of all this, as I said in the previous books, the world building of this series – the Preds and their feeding on different emotions, their forming of circles of addicts – is really original. I love reading something so very different from everything else I’ve read
The cornerstone of this book is Jess’s identity issues and they’re complex and really well done, especially how it relates to the greater world building. Jess was raised as a human, raised, like most people, to hate and fear Preds and even aspired to join the Gryphons, a kind of magical police force that exists to control and, at one time, war against the Pred races. But she has learned that, no, she isn’t cursed, she’s a pred. She’s a kind of satyr. And she’s a satyr because a segment of the Gryphons experimented on her and others while they were children – which has definitely flipped the script she’d always lived by as to who the good and bad guys are.
But it’s not just simplistically flipping the story over. After all, the Preds ARE predatory, by definition they’re predatory, they do prey on people, they do addict people, they do use people and a lot of people suffer because of their supernatural hunger. But nor are they entirely monstrous as we see their society does have rules (albeit not always closely adhered to) and many Preds do their best to cause minimal damage while feeding hungers they cannot avoid (at the same time, the choice to become a Pred is generally that – a choice – so even one who is very moral and kind with their addicts can’t be considered completely free from blame). And, of course, Jess knows several Preds who seem to be good people – on top of that it’s rightly pointed out to her that Jess is a Pred who avoids many of the downsides of being a Pred since she isn’t physically identifiable as one (satyrs have horns) and she doesn’t need addicts; in some ways judgement from her comes from a position of great advantage compared to her fellows. And flipping back to the Gryphons, we’re equally clear that they’re not all brutal fanatics and they do have an important role to play in maintaining order and protecting people and she isn’t able to write off the organisation because of the inexcusable actions of one.