REVIEW: Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur
Dear Ms. Arthur,
You have the benefit of Bantam’s unique publishing/promotional effort of back to back to back publishing so that fans that are eager to read your books do not need to wait six months or an entire year, but rather one measly month. After Kissing Sin, I was interested but not excited to read Tempting Evil, particularly if Quinn, Riley’s vampire lover, was going to continue to play a big role. Fortunately, Tempting Evil is mostly about Riley kicking butt and less about her messy personal life.
Someone is kidnapping otherworld creatures to obtain their DNA and then use that DNA to generate an unbeatable fighting force. That someone was revealed to Riley at the end of Kissing Sun. The Directorate has developed a plan to eliminate this guy which includes Riley infiltrating the compound of the head guy by posing as a prostitute. As the plan progresses, Riley learns that she may not only be required to physically service some of the compound’s leaders but also engage in a fight match with other female contestants. I guess the book is like Fight Club crossed with Frankenstein with a little La Femme Nikita thrown in. Riley gets the aid of some unlikely allies but is also forced to make some terrible decisions about who lives and dies inside the compound.
My favorite parts of Tempting Evil is that Riley is often put in completely untenuous situations where the right decision is not always the one where no one gets hurt. In some books, characters in these situations are saved by some timely bell or interruption so that the main protagonists do not suffer any negative experience. Riley is not so fortunate. Sometimes she is provided with a Solomon’s Choice between her own survival and hurting someone dear to her and possible both of them losing their lives. The danger felt real and immediate.
The parts that dragged where the same parts that bothered me in the previous book and that was when Riley was trying to decide what to do with Quinn. It makes Riley look bad to continue to be enamored with someone who does not respect her or her life. Additionally, there was quite a bit of telling instead of showing, particularly when it came to Riley’s personal life and her feelings. In contrast, the action scenes and the suspense scenes are descriptive and not bogged down with needless extrapolation. It’s not a book that is meant to be read by itself, but it does bring some questions to conclusion. B-