Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Tracey O'Hara - Death's Sweet Embrace - Book 2

Book Description

After centuries of secret conflict, humans and parahumans have reached an uneasy truce. But unspeakable evil now threatens the tenuous peace.

Teenaged shapeshifters are being slaughtered by a sadistic serial killer who rips their still-beating hearts from their paralyzed bodies. A task force forms to halt the madness, including the vampiric Aeternus Antoinette Petrescu, as well as Kitt Jordan and Raven Matokwe, members of enemy Animalian tribes . . . and forbidden lovers.

A centuries-old blood feud has divided their shapeshifting peoples, and if their passion is discovered it will doom them both. But past hostilities must be put aside, for the killer they seek is but the first sign of the all-consuming nightmare of The Dark Brethren.

I got this book as an ARC for review.

I must admit I was hesitant about this book when I found out that the protagonist had changed to Kitt, a friend of Oberon’s (a secondary character in Night’s Colds Kiss). I tend to treat a spin off book with the same distrust I would give a TV series spin off or a sequel of a classic Disney movie. However, when I read Death’s Sweet Embrace I really enjoyed it. Antionette and Christian were still featured as secondary characters so I could see what they were doing and experience some more fight scenes featuring Antionette, while I learnt about Kitt and grew to love her as well. In essence, demoting Antionette to a secondary character really worked.

Kitt is a snow leopard shifter with black and white hair which is distinctive to the race. She works as a lecturer of parahuman forensic pathology. Raven is the love interest and he was a werewolf. The crime aspect of the story reminded me of the early work by Laurell K Hamilton’s with Anita Blake. Tracey O’Hara displayed the same attention to detail when examining the body post-mortem.

The story was layered with Raven and Kitt’s history. At the beginning it could be a little confusing where a feeling was created where you knew you were missing something, but this added to the intrigue. Just like the first book in the series, death’s sweet embrace had a fascinating mystery involving a serial killer that kept you wondering.

The book was a little slow at the beginning possibly because of the, at times, frustratingly slow revelations of information concerning Kitt and Raven’s past. In addition, the romance wasn’t filled with as much chemistry as I would have expected with their history. In this way it felt more like a dark urban fantasy than a paranormal romance, more focused on the world and the storyline than the romance.

However, I still enjoyed the romance between Kitt and Raven. I loved the idea of these two characters being apart for twenty years but still loving each other, as well as the progressively revealed story about why they separated and the sacrifices they made in their lives. I also really felt for Kitt and while reading I was continually hoping she would get treated with more fairness, be given access to her children and be accepted back into her pack. I was completely surprised when I found out why she was exiled by her father.

On a side note, I was very curious as to how old Kitt was when I read that the shape shifters (Animalian) could live for several hundred years. This wasn’t answered in the book. Raven had to be at least 80 but there was no mention of Kitt’s age that I noticed except a few things mentioned that leads you to conclude that she has to be at least 40 or older. I also had some standout favourite scenes that I absolutely loved. First I loved how Antionette helped Kitt get rid of some unwanted suitors, including the fight afterwards; it was so funny (If you have read the book you’ll know what I mean). Second, the idea for the shadow combat game was great. A unique twist on the idea of using magic and paranormal abilities to compete i.e. baseball with vampire players in the Twilight series and Quidditch in Harry Potter. Finally, one of my favourite parts was when Christian jumps out and surprises Antionette and Kitt.

In summary, I’m looking forward to reading the next book. I’m especially looking forward to learning more about the Dark Brethren.

My rating out of 5:


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