When a bomb nearly destroys her friend Phillip’s boat while Gin is negotiating a deal on board between several underworld leaders, Gin naturally assumes that she is the target. After all, becoming head of the underworld (however reluctantly) has hardly reduced the number of attempts on her life
But sometimes not everything is about Gin. And when she realises that one of those bosses has a difficult and dangerous past – a past Gin herself was involved in – it’s clear she isn’t the target. Of course, that doesn’t mean Gin won’t feel responsible – or feel the need to help. Whether her help is wanted or not.
There’s an issue with this book – and this series – that I find myself a little torn over. In this book, Gin is driven to fight a big bad guy because he is a terrible abusive arsehole hunting someone down and she just can’t bring herself to say no to anyone in distress. The big bad has Super Special Magical woo-woo that is either a) very rare or b) very powerful. They fight, Gin does badly for a while and then comes up with plan, goes in and stabby stabby killy killy. Job’s a good ‘un to Jo-Jo’s for healing (because the fight will involved Gin apparently losing and being terribly injured for some portion of the fight before the big triumphant end where Gin fights back and/or the victimised person manages to lend help that tips the scale so they can be directly involved in their justice).
Right, that, right there? That’s the plot for pretty much every book in this series, even more so for every book after Mab’s death and the lack of any particular meta-plot afterwards. This is the 13th book in the series and it’s not just following the same theme – it’s following the same formula. The basic plot elements, story progression, everything is pretty much the same
We have the opening attack. We have some flashbacks from Gin’s past. We have the initial defeat. We have the injuries. We have the working with her team for a solution. We have the unique power (acid, lightning, vampire soul draining, water, etc etc). We have her leaning on her friends but them not taking up too much page space and then we have the victory. It’s the same very rigid, very narrow formula.
But I do enjoy it. And I think there are several elements of this series which are excellent with it. We have a hero who is extremely powerful and skilled but who, despite all that, continually relies upon her support network and friends to get the job done. I like that she doesn’t do everything alone, that she is close to her support network and that includes other women (gasp!) and family! (who are not all dead tragically – well except her parents of course). I like the little snippets into the past that her dreams bring. I like her interactions with her friend. I like that she manages to bring down the big bads with intelligence rather than just awesome gnarly power (which also being immensely frustrated that she never seems to use her power in anything like an effective manner).
I like the pacing of the book, I like how the story develops, I like the balance of character interaction, victory and defeat. I like how the fight scenes unfold and how they’re described. I like Gin’s cooking and how much that matters to her and is an important part of hr life. I like her signature patience and how that has been developed throughout the series. I like her mutual respect with Sophia, Jo-Jo and her sister which has developed nicely over the series. I like her relationship with Owen and how, though he’s always there to back her up, he never tries to take over or “protect her”. I like that there are other powerful figures in the world, including powerful women, who are not evil nor part of Gin’s fanclub
But I can like all of this reading any of the previous books. All of these things I like could have been accessed in exactly the same way in exactly the same amounts by just re-reading one of the previous 12 books in the series