Dear Ms. Kohler:
I’m going to address a few of my concerns about this book in chronological fashion.
Prologue. Ad 70: The scene is an apocolyptic event. The fortress is on fire; the people are fleeing. A witch is bringing down a powerful curse on the Marshan family. Cristophe, the last of his line, is running from the conflagration that was once his home, his mother urging him to move faster and then . . .
“Sprawled on the hard, frozen earth, Christophe could not stop himself. He had to see. Had to look. Throat tight, he looked over his shoulder, feeling like Lot’s wife turning for a final glimpse of the damned Sodom.”
So then I’m scratching my head, wondering about when the Bible was penned; whether in AD 70 Cristophe would have known about the story of Lot and Sodom since the original old testament was all in Hebrew and wasn’t translated into English until AD 1100s or something like that and whether this was set in what is now known as the Middle East; whether Judeo-Christianity fits into the Lycan mythology; whether this book is going to be a cursed by god thing. (checks blurb. unclear).
The heroine, Kit, is a loner human who hunts the evil Lycans. The Lycans are a mix of vampire and werewolf. They like to drink blood and they shapeshift and they like to have lots of sex. They are, in the book, the bad guys because their rapacious hungers urge them to do really bad things. She has a burning hatred for Lycans since they killed her mother and father. She used to hunt with her brother, but he fell in love and is off in some cabin, boinking his wife.
Unfortunately for Kit, times are a changing. She’s a rogue hunter because the women aren’t supposed to hunt (no explanation why although if we are following the Bible, it is because the men are the head of the household which is the scriptural reference as to why men are to dictate, err lead, women). She had a deal with the local NODEAL enforcement group (which also hunts Lycans) and no one hassled her. The European organized group against Lycans called EFLA has come to the US to take over NODEAL. The first step is to eradicate Kit and her brother.
Rafe Santiago is sent to do this. In the first chapter, we are told he is to terminate Kit. So I wait for him to attack and think, Kit’s kick ass, she’ll fight him and be able to defend herself . . . oh, I guess not. So then I think, but now she’ll be terminated and she’ll somehow esca . . . oh, I guess not. Ok, so he doesn’t seem to be trying to kill her maybe he’s stalking her and then going to feel her up like some crazy serial killer. Omigod, is he the bad guy . . . (checks blurb), nope the hero. Hmmm.
But now I see some hot guy in Kit’s bedroom with whom she has crackling sexual tension. This isn’t Rafe Santiago though. Wait, is this a threesome. (checks blurb third time). Not clear. Reads last few pages. No threesome. Mysterious hot guy is not the hero in this book. But, but what about the hot love/hate chemistry here? Am confused.
So Rafe’s the hero and he’s from Europe (hopefully the Mediterrean part of Europe given his name, although this really isn’t made clear). But why eradicate the women hunters? Aren’t they pursuing the same goal as Rafe and his EFLA crew? They want to terminate Lycans. Kit wants to terminate Lycans. Seems like they are all on the same team. This can’t all be about mysogny can it? If they get rid of all the women, who will the mysognists have to oppress? (Srsly no fun being a h8ter of something if object of h8te no longer exists).
Actually, the reason for Kit’s extermination is answered about half way through the book but up until that time, I had a big ol’ question mark instead of a light bulb over my head. There was a slightly different take on the Lycans although it does mix in the standard vampire angst (i.e., the good Lycans don’t feed during the moonrise). Kit does fight well and she understands her limits and tries to work within them. She doesn’t act very stupid and she tries to escape, fight, and flee at appropriate times.
Some of the writing is melodramatic, although what one reader deems melodramatic might be very moving to another.
He caught her wrist in a brutal grip, stopping her. The touch of his hand burned her there, a manacle of fire, singeing her sensitive flesh.
Ultimately what really was the problem for me and why I went through the exercise of showing my early confusion is that the actual mythology of the story wasn’t revealed until the latter third of the book and it was an interesting mythology. I believe that you did this to provide suspense, but the suspense was adequately served by the fact that Kit was constantly in danger of being offed by the Lycans (not to mention her fear of Rafe and for the safety of her brother). The intentional obscuring of Kit’s existence made me impatient about the story and the character motivations for almost 2/3rds of the story.
It is some credit to the writing that I was actually compelled to finish. I thought that one of the villians was a nice and unexpected surprise. Rafe is a bit of an emo hero for all his alphaness (which is mostly derived from his virility and physical prowess) but he wasn’t offensive or assholic in anyway.
The issue of Kit’s existence and her safety was never really addressed in any satisfactory way despite the epilogue. Perhaps it is because the series is ongoing and that would give it away, but to bring it up, be a driving plot point, and then never return to it, was frustrating for this reader. C-
This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells. The book’s official Release date is September 30, but it looks like you can order it now from Amazon. No ebook format link because Pocket has been witholding ebook releases for like a week after the print release unless you have a Kindle and then I have a link for you.