While Natividad and her family have found security with Dimilioc and managed to defeat the Black Dog that tore their family apart and killed their parents, they are not safe
The world has changed – in the aftermath of the war with the vampires, Dimilioc is left weakened and surrounded by enemies. Her sanctuary is far from secure and the werewolves are beset on all sides: vampires, rogue Black Dogs and even a suspicious human government all
And it’s into this difficult world that Justin enters – Pure but with no knowledge of the supernatural world he’s part of and he’s not sure what to think of the savage monsters who are “offering” protection… whether he want it or not.
I do love this world setting. The whole concept of the vampires and the war with the werewolves is one that has been done before – but there are many more unique elements to it. The idea that vampires and their mind control managed to hide the supernatural – and with them dead and almost extinct that removes this “Miasma” and exposes all supernatural to humanity. The war against vampires quickly became a war between humans and Black Dogs as the more brutal and savage Black Dog organisations found themselves hunted down as the vampires were
Which leaves the Dimilioc, who value the Pure and try to behave in a civilised fashion without leaving a trail of bodies behind in a difficult position attacked from several sides: the remaining vampires still plot, they’re very understrength after the war, Black Dogs driven out from other countries trying to wipe them out are looking to carve their own territory out of Dimilioc line and, on top of that, the awkward and tentative peace with the human government and a population that is primed to fight after destroying the vampires who are not exactly on the Dimilioc’s side.
This whole, complex world is told excellently through the story. We get to address all of these and make them all work into the story without the story feeling overstuffed or with too many crowded elements which is a challenge in and of itself
At the same time it manages to be a very personal story of Natividad and Justin which is also excellent since both of them shows this world from very different angels. Natividad has always been very much in the supernatural community, even when hiding from it – which gives her a clear view on the world, vampires and Dimilioc. While Justin has lived his entire life as a human so has much less rose-tinted glasses (and much more ignorant view point) to look upon the monstrous Black Dogs. Together they bring a complete picture of the world.
This also really delves into the power of the Pure, their magic, their skills and their role in the world, Black Dog culture and the war against vampires.
I can’t emphasise enough how much is packed into this story – world building, character development, personal stories and so much more. But none of it FEELS full. The book isn’t super-long. It doesn’t feel distracted or overwhelmed or slow – there’s a lot there and I get all this experience and knowledge but don’t feel bombarded. It’s really well written
One thing that hasn’t improved is Natividad’s decision making. Aie aie aie, Natividad if you keep this up we’re going to have to rename the Clary award. I like this character, I want to like her more but my gods if she is not just the poster child for Spunky Agency!
Like most classic Spunky Agency, Natividad is an excellent challenge to the dictatorial commands of the pack leader, Grayson. It’s clear throughout the book and the series that you do what the pack leader says Or Else. I’m not actually sure what “or else” means because while he’s certainly arrogant and unwilling to accept any challenge, Grayson isn’t unreasonable. However, Natividad recognises that, as a Pure, all of that “Or Else” pretty much doesn’t apply to her – and it’s quite refreshing to see the oh-so-common alpha male werewolf commander being questioned and openly ignored by a woman while everyone else must leap to obey.