by Rob Thurman
Reviewed by Ruby
Niko and Cal just got hired by a very interesting person. Abelia-Roo is the leader of the Gypsies that the brothers once went to for help. She left out vital, need-to-know information that almost resulted in Niko's death and Cal isn't too happy to be dealing with her again. Unfortunately, they don't have much of a choice, because Abelia's clan has been guarding Suyolak - an immortal healer that has gone off the deep end of reality and wants to destroy the entire world - and now he's escaped and moving cross-country. The brothers, along with their friend Robin, his mummified man killing cat Salome, the healer Rafferty and his cousin Catcher (who is permanently stuck in wolf form) are following him trying to stop his disease from spreading and killing everyone around him.
And just to throw in some angst and tension, Delilah - Cal's sort of girlfriend, sort of not, all werewolf and Kin - is now trying to kill him. Sort of. The Kin has found out about their "relationship" and has ordered her to kill him to regain her honour, only she doesn't want to, which, in my opinion has more to do with her not liking to be told what to do than not wanted to kill Cal. For some strange reason Cal thinks it is a good idea for her to join them on the hunt of Suyolak.
Most of the story takes place in the car and most of it involves Cal becoming more and more Auphe. I usually like the interaction between Cal and Niko and all the tension and problems they have with Cal's demonic half but for some reason in this book it felt forced and repetitive. Even Robin, who is usually an excellent character, grated on my nerves for a good chunk of the story.
There wasn't much of a plot, which isn't much of a surprise, but it didn't amount to much. There were a few tense moments involving Suyolak and him throwing them off his trail, but they were overshadowed by Cal's demonic heritage resurfacing. Even the final showdown wasn't that exciting. On top of all that Niko, once again doesn't have any chapters. It was all a little bit of a come down after the last book, which I enjoyed greatly.
I wish there would be one book in this series that is completely free of Cal/Auphe issues; where it wouldnít be the main plot and not even the subplot of the book. At this point, the books are starting to feel a little repetitive. Thereís only so much whining I can take from Cal before I switch off.
I feel like there were giant parts of character evolution that were skipped over. I think that Delilah and Robin both suffered for it. Delilahís actions didnít really make sense to me because not enough time has been spent on any growth her character has gone through because we see her only from Calís point of view. And Robin, well, I have severe doubts that the character as presented could actually have been monogamous for the six months it was claimed in this book, especially considering all the hand-wringing he does about the issue in this book.
It also bothered me that a pre-Christian, pagan Robin would cross himself.
Rafferty and his cousin Catcher didnít really interest me when we met them in the first book, so I didnít care all that much that they were back in this book. The whole thing about them being werewolves seemed, to me, a contradiction to how they were introduced in the first book.
It annoys me that tertiary characters just come and go as convenient. We had the troll, the mummy, Rafferty and Catcher, and the Japanese healing entity.
And, lastly, it still bothers me that the Niko-Robin friendship as presented in the books, is reduced to Robin making sexual comments that make Niko uncomfortable, when there are hints that it is more (and not in a sexual way, in a friendship way). Robin helped Niko get a fake degree so he could teach, he is always there for Niko when Cal is near death, so why is that aspect never explored more?
This book wasnít awful, but it was nothing I would read again.