You know when you go to the fair or the circus and you watch jugglers? Only they aren't just your run of the mill jugglers throwing up three weenie little balls. These guys are juggling nine balls, six clubs and three flaming knives. Blindfolded.
That is what reading this book was like. As we delve deeper into this series there are so many characters, so many side plots, so many story developments that come at you blind it is like watching that juggler. It could get messy, it could all go out of wack and everything could fall down in a second. But while it is happening, there is a control, and elegance and mastery of it all.
In this installment the main character is Lilah a Kyndred whose special power is to talk to animals. She is kidnapped and thrown into the back of a freezer truck and handcuffed to a cadaver so she won't escape. But that cadaver isn't really dead. He is a Mysterious Guy that Lilah can somehow mind-meld with.
They manage to escape, natch, but they do it while up in a remote mountain town that is very isolated and the townspeople have a big secret.
This is most definitely not a starting point for new readers to the series. There are too many returning characters and continuing plots from the previous Darkyn/Kyndred books that a new reader would be a bit confused. Even a continuing reader has to pay attention to unravel all the tangled plot threads going on here.
As in the previous books, the Kyndred who have created a secret network via Jessa & Samuel are briefly mentioned. Samuel himself is heavily involved in this book and we learn more about his abilities and the true price being exacted for them. It is Nicola and Gabriel's turn to appear in a Kyndred book. I loved them in their book Night Lost, but Nicola seemed really abrasive here.
The romance between Lilah and Mysterious Guy was quick and sexy. But it does take a back seat to all the stuff going on around them. Who is Mysterious Guy really? Who kidnapped Lilah? Who is the woman who seduced the town's sheriff and then disappeared? Why is Samuel trying so hard to discover Lilah's real identity? And what is up with that town?
I only gave this three stars because while I enjoyed reading it, it did feel a little messy and all over the place. Maybe we could have stuck with just the flaming knives and left the balls and clubs out of it? Flaming knife juggling is really exciting all by itself. There were a couple of side excursions I thought were just plot bloat. For instance, there is a point when Lilah has to snowshoe up a mountain to chase Mysterious Guy to tell him she loves him. That scene could have been cut and we would not have missed it one bit.
And again I am tickled about how much of a dud Gennaro is as the series bogeyman. Poor guy, he's such a megalomaniac with visions of world dominance and he is being bamboozled by pretty much everyone. I did love the little side plot that involved his assistant, though. Nice tie in to the whole Darkyn universe.
I did enjoy this, just a tick less than the previous two in the series. Looking forward to reading Samuel's story next.