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REVIEW: Death Magic by Eileen Wilks

REVIEW: Death Magic by Eileen Wilks

Dear Ms. Wilks:

I loved the first and second book in this series but as the worldbuilding evolved and became bigger, I felt like I lost an understanding of the world. The book started out as a Pack book for me (Pack = werewolf) and has been transmogrified into world where every kind of magic exists from dragons to sorcerers to shapeshifters. There is earth magic, fire magic, water magic, precogs, and with each new book, a new element is introduced. The first book in the series, Tempting Danger, introduces Lily Yu and Rule Turner. (I’ve not reviewed that book here, but I did review the second, Mortal Danger). Lily Yu is a former homicide detective and a touch sensitive who was recruited to be part of the Magical Crimes Division of the FBI. Her supervisor is Ruben Brooks.

Death Magic Eileen WilksAside: I do not recommend that any one start with this book. I think they would be lost. I was kind of lost and I’ve read all the books.  I do recommend Tempting Danger and Mortal Danger and the seventh in this series, Blood Challenge.  I think a reader could read those three and not be lost.   “Tempting Danger” and “Blood Challenge” are my favorite in this series.  Both focus strongly on the Pack and the romance between the main characters.

Rule Turner is a Lupi or werewolf and the designated heir of one of the strongest, wealthiest Packs in North America. He also wears the mantle of another pack, something that is not supposed to happen. Lupi have fated mates and Lily is Rule’s. Over the course of the series, Lily and Rule struggle with their matebond, a mystical connection that is so strong that it is affected by even distance. In “Death Magic”, Lily and Rule move ever more slowly toward an actual marriage ceremony. I’m not certain how much time has passed since book 1 of this series, but I think it is a bit more than a year.

An enemy of the Pack, an old and powerful god that the Lupi refer to as the “Great Bitch”, is rising up bringing to life old magics and dangers that have not been experienced in centuries. “Death Magic” is a continuation of this overarching plot about the “Great Bitch” and her nebulous plans. Ruben’s precog gift is foretelling something dire and it is up to Lily, Rule, and the other members of their respective clans to discover what they can do to prevent the negative outcome foreseen by Ruben. Ruben sets up a Shadow Unit, to work outside of the Bureau and by the book Lily finds herself conflicted when Ruben asks her to join. Rule is more sanguine. He’s an “end justifies the means” kind of guy and doesn’t see a problem with Lily joining Ruben in order to stop a greater evil.

Lily’s hand is forced when Ruben is accused of killing a Senator.  Tensions are further raised when the Humans First, an anti magical group, gains in power and violence.  Finally, Lily’s life is in jeopardy as she begins to experience strange illnesses that may or may not be connected to a Lupi related power she acquired in a previous book.

While Ruben, a figure that has appeared briefly in all previous books, gets more face time and an interesting storyline, I wasn’t fully engaged. I think it comes down to my own expectations for this series. It’s called World of the Lupi, but I feel that the Lupi often aren’t the focus, but the world surrounding the Lupi is. For readers looking for a broad, full and diverse urban fantasy series with some romance, I think this is very satisfying. For someone who is looking for a strong romance arc in each book, I think some of the books including “Death Magic” will be a disappointment.

The great thing about this series is the diversity. There is diversity in race and religion both on the “good” and the “bad” sides. An effort seems to be made to show each character as an individual instead of a representative token for a particular subset of society. I guess my major problem is that I expected this book to be paranormal romance and instead it is more urban fantasy. I feel emotionally distanced from these characters and would like to see more movement in the romance/relationship. It doesn’t have the visceral emotional power of my favorites but it does move the plot forward.  B-

Best regards,


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Berkley Holiday Giveaway

Berkley Holiday Giveaway

It’s time again for the Berkley Jove sneak peak romance giveaway–and not a moment too soon, since 2009 is closing fast! As always, thanks to Jane and Dear Author for hosting this event! And don’t forget–this is just a taste of all the wonderful upcoming romances–for more information and a complete list check out


042523150X.01.LZZZZZZZ HUNTER’S NEED, Shiloh Walker

Shiloh Walker quickly became a reader favorite with her paranormal Hunter series, which started out as an e-book series, and I was lucky enough to continue this series in print at Berkley. Readers have been waiting for over a year for her new book, HUNTER’S NEED, and the wait is definitely worth it. Duke’s story is finally here! Readers have been clamoring for a happy ending for this tortured hero for a long time, and the love story between Duke and Ana is epic.

Legacy of Stone LEGACY OF STONE, Vickie Taylor

LEGACY OF STONE is the next book in Vickie’s long-awaited series about the Gargoyles, a race of shape-shifting protectors sworn to protect humanity. Not actually made of stone, their fantastical forms inspired the artists who carved their images in the cathedrals of Europe. This is a fascinating mythology that Vickie has developed, and I’m thrilled that she explored it further in her new book. Levi Tremaine is a fascinating and very different hero, and I’m sure readers will fall for him just as I have.

0425231518.01.LZZZZZZZ MISTRESS BY MISTAKE, Susan Gee Heino

We love discovering new voices, and Susan Gee Heino is a terrific find for lovers of Regency historical romances. Susan has such an engaging voice and brings so much life to her characters you just can’t help but love them. MISTRESS BY MISTAKE is the story of a reluctant heiress and a dashing lord who discover that moonlight is a tricky thing, and love may be more than they bargained for.


042523214X.01.LZZZZZZZ PIECES OF SKY, Kaki Warner

2010 begins with another terrific new author and the first book in a fabulous new western historical romance trilogy. PIECES OF SKY is the first book in the Blood Roses trilogy–it’s about an Englishwoman who goes to the American West in search of a new life, and finds that and more with a tough rancher with a bloody past. It’s gritty, evocative, emotionally powerful and romantic–everything a western historical romance should be.

0425232158.01.LZZZZZZZ KISMET, by Monica Burns

The New Year brings another unusual–and unusually wonderful–historical romance, KISMET by Monica Burns. KISMET is set in Morocco of the late 19th century, and features a courtesan heroine and a sheikh as the hero and heroine. I loved the details of life in Morocco that Monica includes, and the steamy romance between Allegra and Shaheen is as hot as it comes. Just a fabulous read!

0425229823.01.LZZZZZZZ THE LOST ENCHANTRESS, Patricia Coughlin

RITA award-winning author Patricia Coughlin makes her Berkley debut with this wonderful, lyrical, and magical contemporary romance about a modern woman who gave up her magical heritage after tragedy strikes, but learns that life–and love–have other plans for her. I love Pat’s writing and her enormously appealing characters, and I really think you will too.


0425233367.01.LZZZZZZZ ARCHANGEL’S KISS, Nalini Singh

Ever since ANGELS’ BLOOD was published, I’ve been deluged with readers who wanted to know when the sequel was coming. Well, the wait is nearly over–and if you loved ANGELS’ BLOOD, I can honestly say I think you’ll love ARCHANGEL’S KISS even more! Guild Hunter Elena Deveraux has finally awakened from her year long coma, and she’s been transformed. Her lover, the archangel Raphael, is still one of the sexiest heroes I’ve ever read, and the sexual tension between them is off the charts! And the world Nalini has created is even more fascinating here.

0425233057.01.LZZZZZZZ BLOOD MAGIC, Eileen Wilks

Eileen has created one of my all-time favorite couples in Lily Yu and Rule Turner, and I love what Eileen has done with their relationship, and how much it breathes and grows from book to book. Lily and Rule are now engaged, but that doesn’t signify the end of their problems since both families have issues with their upcoming marriage–for one thing, she’s Chinese, and he’s a werewolf. Definitely a clash of cultures. But wedding plans go on the backburner when an ancient enemy of Lily’s grandmother comes to town. This book is a marvelous combination of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and I can’t wait for the next Lily and Rule story.

Cindy Hwang is the executive editor of Berkley who is actively seeking fresh voices in romance. In her spare time, she enjoys Bravo Reality TV and cinema remakes of comic books.

We are giving away bound galleys of:

  • THE TAKING, Erin McCarthy (2 galleys)
  • NAKED DRAGON, Annette Blair (2 galleys)
  • WICKED ENCHANTMENT, Anya Bast (3 galleys)
  • BLOOD MAGIC by Eileen Wilks (3 galleys)
  • NAUTI DECEPTIONS, Lora Leigh (3 galleys)
  • ACCIDENTALLY DEMONIC, Dakota Cassidy (3 galleys)
  • THE LOST ENCHANTRESS, Patricia Coughlin (3 galleys)
  • ATLANTIS REDEEMED by Alyssa Day (2 galleys)
  • PIECES OF SKY by Kaki Warner (1 galley)
  • THE LOST by J.D. Robb (1 galley)
  • MISTRESS BY MISTAKE by Susan Gee Heino (1 galley)
  • A TAPESTRY OF SPELLS by Lynn Kurland (1 galley)
  • THE TAKING by Erin McCarthy (1 galley)
  • NAKED DRAGON by Annette Blair ( 1 galley)
  • STREET GAME by Christine Feehan (1 galley)
  • MOON CRAVING by Lucy Monroe (1 galley)
  • VAMPIRES HATE THEIR THIGHS by Gerry Bartlett (1 galley)
  • BONE MAGIC by Yasmine Galenorn (1 galley)

We are giving away 31 books to 31 people. Please leave a comment with your first choice, your second choice and your favorite Berkley/Jove book.