I just finished the first book in this series, Don’t Kill the Messenger, right before starting this book. I really, really enjoyed that one, although I had some minor issues with it. One of my big problems was with the heroine’s boyfriend, Ted.
Have you ever taken a dislike to a character and just cannot stand whenever they’re on scene? I have. I (tragically) did it here. I disliked Ted in the first book, but he had way less page time there, so he didn’t impact my overall enjoyment much. Here he was everywhere. I gritted my teeth over the fact that Melina felt the need to eat with him every night and have him sleep over all the time. Gah! Just go away! Yes, I realize that I sound irrational. Don’t I want my heroines and heroes to spend time together? Don’t I like that there’s no love triangle here? Just ignore those questions. There’s clearly no call to bring logic or past preferences into this.
Every scene with Ted in it was torture for me to read. He is so boring! The fact that Melina bills and coos with him 24/7 is starting to tar her with the same feather as well. When I wasn’t grinding my teeth over his irritating presence I was tensely waiting for him to show back up and irritate me again. Do you see how irrational that is? Do you??? I know it is! I just couldn’t stop it.
It’s not even like the guy is a jerk or anything. He’s just boring. And perfect. It’s like the author took every white knight trait in the world and rolled it into one guy. He is never less than supportive and never really gets mad at the heroine, even when he finds out that she lied to him. He is bland and has no depth. He’s like the Mary Sue of boyfriends and I can’t stand reading about him.
On a more positive note, the side characters are even more interesting than in the first book. They actually stole the show for me. I frequently found myself impatient to get back to them and actually cursed when I got to the last page and realized I wasn’t going to get more info on Paul and Meredith’s tempestuous attraction.
I still felt that they could have done with some fleshing out, but the bits we did get about them were very interesting. I liked that we got to see the slightly sinister way a vampire expresses his affection. I really appreciated the acknowledgement that it was not normal. I was sad to have it confirmed that Ted’s not going to conveniently die and be replaced, but I was able to magnanimously move past it and still enjoy the book. 😛
The mundane aspect of the book that I enjoyed so much in the first book was still present. It felt a little bogged down and slow at times, but I honestly can’t tell if that was because I was bored by Ted or because it really was slow. I really don’t think that everyone will have a problem with Ted. And I think that if you don’t then you will enjoy huge chunks of this book more than I did. Ted just seemed to bring my book high down so it was hard to tell what was a valid complaint for an unbiased reader and what was just me being picky because I was already irritated.
Melina is still dealing with the loss she suffered in the last book and it has made her a much less patient person. She’s stressed and worried and kind of irritating sometimes. She seemed to take forever to connect the dots on some things and I don’t know whether it was an aspect of her overworked grief funk or if she was just being dumb. I’m willing to cut her some slack because of the events of the last book, but I hope it’s not a trait we’re going to see repeated again in the next book.
The humor in this book was still on point for me, although it was definitely less prevalent than I saw in the first book. Maybe it’s a sign of Melina’s mellowing?
“Are you really sure that all we need is antibiotics?”
He handed me a piece of paper from his prescription pad. “They’re very wide spectrum.”
“Ha ha. How about something to deal with the demonic poison that’s clearly in him?” Ted’s head dropped all the way to the counter.
Alex picked up Ted’s hand and started taking his pulse. “You mean my special magic salve that sucks evil out of bodies?”
I squirmed. It sounded so stupid when he said it like that. “Yes. That’s exactly what I mean.”
“It doesn’t exist.” He didn’t even look up from his wristwatch.
I actually found myself quite surprised by the twist the mystery took. I thought I had it all figured out—and I did, but only to a point. Kudos to the author for that. I love when a book surprises me like that! The actual climax that followed later made me roll my eyes though. I am not a fan of group hug, hokey, kumbaya style resolutions like that. It really didn’t feel natural for the characters I’ve known to date. I know what the author was trying to do with it, but I felt it was pretty clumsy.
Before I end the review I have to mention the police chief that Melina kept encountering. Those meets cracked me up! Especially the one where Chief Murdock talked to Melina about the crows. Hilarious! That was really one of my favorite parts of the book.
“There wasn’t anything here. There was just you with the kendo stick in the corner.”
“No big dog with goat hooves?” I turned now to look at Sophie, right in her big hazel eyes.
“No big dog. No goat hooves.” She looked me right back in the eyes and answered with no hesitation.
“Just me in the corner with the kendo stick looking like a lunatic in my underwear?” I was beginning to understand the total looks of horror on both their faces.
“Pretty much.” Ben bobbed his head.