Argh! Where’s the next book? I need to read it now! So many things changed in this installment. The book isn’t left on a cliffhanger, but, oh, I am dying to find out where the author is going with this. I am still gaping after turning the last page. Where do we go from here??
As with the first book, Geist, we are treated to dense story development and layered character building. This time around Ballantine’s not bogged down by introducing the reader to various characters and the world as a whole, so the first third of the book is much smoother than it was in Geist. I can’t speak to how well this book stands on its own, though. When I finished the first book I knew it would be one I’d have to reread to be spun up for Spectyr. I hate feeling lost because I forgot an element of the first book, so I reread it right before starting this one. I have to admit, I had forgotten a lot of the little details since the first time I read it. So keep that in mind if you’re feeling hazy about the particulars of the first book.
Spectyr starts just a few months after the end of Geist, so we’re away from the characters long enough to give them time to work out the kinks left over from the tangle at the end of book one, but not long enough to miss anything significant to the development of their bond. Raed is still away and Merrick and Sorcha both miss him, although obviously Sorcha misses him a tad bit more. Sorcha has finally moved to resolve the mess with her husband, and I, for one, am ecstatic. I don’t have the same rules for Fantasy that I do for Romance, but I still couldn’t help but grimace over Sorcha’s dallying in the last book, so I’m hopeful that it’ll finally be resolved soon.
Sorcha is just as badass as she was in the first book, but the bond has smoothed out her harder edges, so she’s more approachable and less apt to “Hulk Smash” first and ask questions later. She has grown to respect and trust Merrick more and more and has grown dependent upon the unique nature of their bond. We get to see a slight, but definite, realignment of roles in the bond. Surprising developments in matters of dominance and power come into play. I am intrigued, to say the least, about what the author has planned for these three.
I loved that we finally got more background information on Merrick, Sorcha, and Raed. Sorcha’s past was the least developed, but what we learned about Raed and Merrick was great. I was totally surprised away by the details I learned about Merrick and was heartbroken to hear about Raed’s past struggles (and failures) with the Rossin. I’m starting to notice a definite trend of his to blame himself for everything, even if he’s only indirectly involved, and I’m not sure I like it. I can understand it, but his relentless guilt is going to cause him to be more lenient toward certain people than I want him to be.
I’m impressed with how well Ballantine layer the action and intrigue into such a short book—in terms of fantasy books, that is. She did a great job developing twists and turns and packing an emotional wallop into only 310 pages. The emotional development between the main characters is so much deeper than it was in the first book, and we even get to branch off into some other characters to watch their story arc play out.
If there was a single complaint I could make, it was that I occasionally found the pacing of the book a bit off. I enjoyed watching the author maneuver the characters into place and liked getting to watch the evolution of a side character’s descent into fanaticism, but I felt that they slowed the momentum at times. I also wanted to throat punch a couple characters toward the end, but I think that’s what the author was going for, so that’s not a complaint. Bottom line, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next one.
“It had come to Sorcha’s attention since getting her new Sensitive that she was perhaps lacking in the social graces. Without him, now was the perfect time to try to find some.
“Lovely weather,” she barked at the nearest blonde beauty.
The girl spun around like she’d been shot and stared at the naked Deacon in open hostility.”