Premise:In a world where griffins pose a threat to phoenixes, two griffins guard a female phoenix they are both in love with as clashes between the two species become worse.
Genres:Paranormal romance, thriller, urban fantasy
Notes:I received an ARC version of this book for free (and I was supposed to review it months ago, but I'm a terrible procrastinator).
Pros:Good opening. The apprehension from the danger. Thrilling action. The POV of one of the male protagonists.
Cons:The romance had violent overtones. Male lead was kind of dull. Takes a while to get to the action.
Imagine waking up without remembering the last few decades of your life. Imagine running into not one, but two ex-lovers you can't be with. Throw in a centuries long conflict between griffins and phoenixes, and you have a disaster well on its way to happening.
The opening part of the story, where a character describes her panic and pain, was one of my favorite parts of the book. While it took a while to get much more good action, when it started, it was hard to stop reading.
Disappointingly, Aleria, the female lead, didn’t get to do a whole lot on-page outside being a love interest and a damsel in distress until halfway through the story. However, about that point is where much of the action as a whole gets going.
Now onto the guys. I liked the investigator Nick. Without even looking at the chapter POV, you could tell it was him. And his past relationship with Aleria made his relationship to her and to his love rival feel more natural. Ryan, the other main male character, I didn't like as much. It's probably because I've already seen similar characters (dudes with a past they regret and an inner beast they struggle to control) and a lot of the elements to his story (hiding from the high-ups, handling his addictions, falling in love with Aleria) were done better with Nick. I just didn't get a lot from him that made him stand out to me.
I couldn’t get into the romance much, because there’s a constant overtone of violence. The love interests for Aleria act violent towards her, or have in the past. And there are the constant reminders that they have to keep their inner beasts at bay or else they’ll kill her.
In short, it was an interesting world with good tension, but I wish the characters and romance had been done better. Though since I'm friendly with the author, I may pick up future installments to see where it goes.
Sexual Content & Gender Issues:There are passionate touches and kissing, a love triangle, jealousy between the male leads, bits of innuendo, and sex mentions. There are a couple of sex scenes, though they aren’t especially explicit. Men comment on women's good looks, and a woman later says the same about a man.
As mentioned, there are violent and obsessive overtones in Aleria’s relationships with the men in her life. She describes one of Ryan’s kisses as “possessive”. He later says something similar about her claiming possession of him and tells another man she’s no longer “yours to play with”.
A woman from centuries ago expresses annoyance at being considered a pretty toy by the high class men and hides among other women she describes as vapid. She also mentions only “ninnies with trysts” slip out early. In another time period, she's upset about having to wear a skirt with high heels. There are mentions of carrying a half-conscious woman into a hotel room (she isn't raped) and amusement at dangerous men being beaten by a girl. A villain snidely wonders whom Aleria is sleeping with.
Violence:In this world, griffins hunt phoenixes to drain their life force. This includes a young child, whose escape leaves her bloodied from rushing through thorns. Phoenixes hunt griffins to protect themselves and their wards, or just for revenge. There are also vampires finding ways to get blood.
There are a few life threatening fight scenes, and a general sense of being hunted. People are shot and beaten, torture is mentioned, mutilated corpses are discovered, and fire is used as a weapon. The protagonists kill in self defense and express suicidal desires. A love triangle causes murderous thoughts and the occasional scuffle. Buses full of children are attacked. Ryan gets a woman in a choke hold. A plane crash and a hospital visit serve as plot points. Bombings are mentioned and once threaten to kill characters. Aleria mentions wishing an annoying man would stop breathing.
Profanity, Slurs, & Insults:"Damn", “piss”, "idi*t", "ass", "f*ck", “madness”, "b*stard", “sod”, "st*pid", "screwed", "sh*t", “freaking”, "h*ll", “sucks”, "b*tch", "fool", "insane", and "G*d". “Bird” is used as a derogatory term for phoenixes.
Drugs/Alcohol:Griffins who hunt phoenixes for life force become addicted to it, but they can use opiates to keep themselves under control. A character smokes to deal with stress, much to his partner's annoyance. There's also some drinking.
Spiritual & related topics:Besides the presence of immortal humanoid creatures, mostly just some turns of phrase. Souls are mentioned in the context of life force being drained.
So have you read it? What did you think?
© 2016 by M.R.R.