My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Overall, this was a good book. Ward is great with characters, and that doesn’t change here. Her hero(es) are fantastic, down to their witty one liners, and her two main female characters (heroine and villainess) were outstanding. For all the knocks that Ward has taken about under-developed female characters, she certainly seems to have taken that criticism to heart and fixed it in this book. There is actual character development with her heroine, and her villainess is just plain evil. And kinda scary, like all the best villains are. I was expecting a lot more from the fallen angels, but ended up liking their roles just fine. Maybe, in time, they will become more front and center, but I found myself liking their sideline role very much. They are helpers, but ONLY helpers. Heavy lifting has to be done by someone else, and I thought that was very nice.
I liked the nods to people and places of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. I liked seeing a lot of Trez. (Who doesn’t?) Other throwbacks were more subtle but made me smile. The story, for the most part, moved along nicely and this was the first full length novel I read on my Sony e-reader so it, and the book, passed the test.
A few things I could have done without: I liked this MUCH better than the first Black Dagger Brotherhood book, Dark Lover but this one still suffered from a few first book problems. There was a lot of telling (and not showing) in terms of world building. When you’re setting up a new world, new rules of engagement, new characters, it is really hard to get around the pages of explanation that are needed for the reader to understand what is going on. I get that. Some authors do this really well, and some do not. Ward does not. It is all stuff the reader needs to know, but the delivery method leaves much to be desired. Quite frankly, I get bored. Pages and pages of exposition, important or not, makes for droopy eyelids. That’s just how it is. Where she does characterization REALLY well, this could use some work.
The other thing I hate is the narrator’s voice. The narrator speaks like a thirteen year old girl. Calls a new beer a “freshie”. That is the one example that is still grating on my nerves even though I’m done with the book, although there are more examples. If a character talks like that, I’m fine with it. That is their vocabulary. I may want to smack them, but if it is consistent with the character, so be it. But when the omniscient narrator speaks like that, it grates on my nerves. A lot. It wasn’t as bad as the BDB books can get sometimes, but it was bad enough that I noticed it. I could have taken notes about it on my new Sony toy, but I haven’t made it to that advanced user level yet!
Overall, though, this was a good book. I liked all the characters, I am interested in their past, present and future, and I’m excited for the next book.