After her rather public exposure last book, Jessica receives an offer from the Gryphons – they want her to work with them as a consultant, using her unique gifts to catch criminals. For which she will be paid a generous salary – and not go to prison. It’s less an offer and more a demand with menaces.
And part of her “unique gifts” involve exploiting her friendship and connections with the satyrs – who are currently prime suspects in a series of grizzly, sex related murders.
The satyrs are not happy about this, nor overly happy with Jessica. And Jessica may finally be getting her dream job – but can she live with the strings attached? And is that her dream any more, especially as she learns more and more about what she is and the source of those oh-so-mysterious powers.
When reviewing a series that continues good elements it can be hard to write reviews of second and later books. I mean, how often can you write about the same world that continues to be compelling, unique and interesting? Ultimately it’s repetitive – but if the goodness keeps on going from book to book to book, then shouldn’t it continue to be mentioned? If you take the “good” as a given and only mention any new badness then your review looks negative undeservedly
This is my long winded way of trying to excuse being repetitive – because what I have to say about world building and story for this book are the same as for the first book. They’re unique, deep and fascinating. The pacing is excellent, the mystery very well drawn out and balanced; action scenes blend well with character building and exploration. Mental monologues provide enough information to both feel the world and the characters’ place within it without swamping out the actual activity. The plot is twisty without being twisted and complex without being convoluted
All of this is wonderfully shot through with some really good complexity that adds so much depth to the world building. Yes there are sexy satyrs – but the consequences and realities of sexy satyrs are considered. We’re not supposed to lust over them, we’re supposed to see their moral ambiguity in their powers, the exploitation and the fearsome control they have over people
We see a police force that is intrusive and gets in the way and we’re not just thinking of ways to cover it up – but asking questions about what’s being covered up, how to negotiate around the Gryphons and not just falling into the trap of demonising them
The whole thing has layers and complexities all with an exciting story with lots of twists back and forth to sell the whole thing. There’s a lot of good here
Jessica is a very real character to me and one that is surprisingly lacking in tropes – she has good friends (and female friends at that!), a supportive family (even if she isn’t as close as she’d like). She has a lot of moral conflicts, a lot of growth and some very reasonable flaws – even flaws that make me kind of not like her at times, but are very real to her character: Like the Satyrs
Jessica’s treatment of the satyrs annoyed me. In the last book, they went to bat for her. They risked a lot for her. They protected her, they housed her, they risked a seriously conflict with the other Preds for her. They owed her nothing but still gave and risked so much for her… and she doesn’t really acknowledge it in this book. She still regards them with hostility and suspicion. She doesn’t seem to realise any kind of debt she owes them nor even seriously consider that her being part of the Gryphons can be seen as a betrayal. Yes she had no choice – but she is still using her connection with the satyrs to gain information about them without ever really acknowledging what they’ve done for ever or even trying to be apologetic about it
I don’t know if it’s a terrible part of the character though. Jessica, like most humans in this world, has a strong fear and distrust of the Preds. And not entirely unreasonably, since they feed on humans and control them through their sin addictions. This is something she does have to work through with the book and something she does come to realise and adapt as the book progresses. It annoys me, but I think it’s not a bad part of the character – it’s an annoying part of a developed character; after all, not every character is going to be entirely likeable or made up of likeable traits. Or they shouldn’t be anyway. Jessica has unfortunate preconceptions about Preds, they’re not always fair and sometimes cause her to be a bit of an ungrateful arsehole sorely in need to a stern lecture – such is her character
On the other side of the scale, she has a wonderfully epic, ragey moment confronting someone who is behind her unusual nature. It’s epic, I cheered and it’s probably deeply, deeply unwise. A sensible character probably wouldn’t have done it – but I would have and I was behind her all the way.