The one thing you can say about the Dirk & Steele series is that it’s never typical. Sometimes I just stop and marvel at the stories Liu comes up with. It is the one series that I can think of that manages to provide something unique to the Paranormal Romance genre with every book. I mean, each time you crack open a new book in the series it’s something different. Different powers, different countries, different races. I love it.
In this installment we finally got a closer look at Dean. He came off as completely carefree when I had seen him previously, so I was curious to see how he would do in a more serious role. Surprisingly, Dean had an absolutely heartbreaking past that made me hurt for him. The boy he was then, and the man he grew to be, were surprisingly deep. I was very impressed with the hidden depths that were revealed and was glad that he found a heroine that complimented him so well.
I loved that this was a ‘childhood sweethearts’ romance. I always like how the history between the hero and heroine adds a nice layer or tension and depth to romances like these. This one was no exception. Miri and Dean both had some major baggage and pain to overcome. What I loved was that beyond the initial uncertainty between them, they had no hesitations about each other. They loved each other when they were kids, and although they both had grown and changed, they never quite got over each other. It was no surprise to find that they were rapidly falling in love all over again.
What I liked so much about that was how refreshing it was to avoid all the misunderstandings and hurt feelings that could have easily arisen from stumbling upon each other again. It made their relationship feel more heartfelt and solid than it would have otherwise. I honestly couldn’t imagine them fitting so well with anyone else.
I was fascinated by the storyline in this one. As a child I was obsessed with all things archaeological, so having an archeologist heroine paired with a mummy plot was pretty exciting for me. I never would have expected the complicated, multilayered story that followed, though. Liu has a gift for writing dark plots and this book is no exception. By turns terrifying and grim, this book does not trouble itself to sugarcoat the harsh circumstances Miri and Dean face. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom, though. Once again, Liu strikes a nice balance between light humor and dark reality. The end of the book made me very curious to see the part Miri and Dean will play in the future of this series.
Unfortunately, this was not a perfect book for me. Liu writes complicated storylines with layered prose. Her books are never a simple read for me, but usually I love that. I may have a moment or two of confusion while reading, over the ins and outs of a particular event, but usually a fast backtrack clears it up for me. But in this one I struggled quite a bit. I felt confused multiple times and honestly felt like the story was never clearly illuminated. I still enjoyed the book, but the disjointed feel of the story really dropped the grade. I love her style more often than not, but this one felt like it got away from her. Luckily, this is a reread, so I know this is a rare off book in the series for me.
“There, there.” Miri patted his back. “If you like, I can touch your throbbing manhood and make it all better.”
“Maybe I should handle your weeping flower. Water it with my hot man-juice. Caress your love grotto with my swinging showerhead.”