Lily Yu has had a lot of changes in her life – the mate bond with Rule, a change of job, heading for the FBI. She’s beginning to get a handle on things – but Harlowe, former associate of Helen and servant of the Big Bad is still out there, hatching plans with his mistress for Lily and her very rare and very precious Sensitive Gift.
Bodies start turning up with Harlowe’s signature on them pulling Lily on the trail as her FBI branch is consumed with other disasters: but Harlowe’s attacks hit closer to home and pull her into a world of literally demonic schemes.
There’s a lot about this series I love – and they’re continued in this book.
I like Lily, the protagonist. I like that she’s a sorely-under-represented Asian protagonist. I like that she’s sensible and clever and not just the possessor of woo-woo or super deadly skills. I like that, even with their relationship based on woo-woo, Lily still keeps her head about her and applies common sense to the lovey-dovey feelings.
I like the world – the demons explored in this book are fascinatingly different . As are the different kinds of magic, the Lupi clans, gods, goddesses and even dragons – all woven together to create an excellently coherent whole. I also like how this wonderful world has room for uncertainty – too much world building in Urban Fantasy has the Truth that is Known. But reality doesn’t work that way. We have theories we know are right, theories we’re pretty sure are right, theories that are, well, an educated guess at best. I like that uncertainty in world building, that sense that people ARE trying to understand but just don’t know the answer yet.
I like Lily’s position in the FBI and the meta that is developing out of that promising for a fascinating series
So I was kind of disappointed when this book became rather… flabby. There’s a lot of recap, a lot of over-explanation, a lot of over-description and there are times in the book, especially with the dimension hopping, where the book becomes outright difficult to read and follow. The book is pretty slow, fairly bogged down and just doesn’t flow with particularly exciting pacing.
There’s also a lot of ancillary things going along the book – like Lily and Rule’s relationship issues burning away. They’re interesting issues and definitely worth exploring but the rest of the book is moving so slowly that it feels like a distraction and I kind of want to ask why we’re spending so much time on that when they did very little in the way of actual investigating considering the severity of what they were dealing with. In fact, if the kidnapping hadn’t happened, I think Lily and Rule would still be reading eye-witness accounts in between rumbling over whether Lily can protect herself. There was also Rule summoning of the other clans – which was a wonderful piece of world building that was info-dumped on us with all the elegance of a dumpster truck. But what struck me most is the meeting split up without anyone coming to a conclusion – but the there was no real stated aim either. I still don’t exactly know why all these important werewolf personages were summoned and why Lily couldn’t be told about it.
It’s a shame that the excellent protagonist, the wonderful world that has been written and even an intriguing story is kind of let down by rather clumsy writing that needed tidying up considerably to make the story flow in a more coherent – and concise – manner.