Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Author:  Eileen Wilks
Plot Type:  Urban Fantasy (UF) with lots of Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
Ratings:  Vilolence4, Sensuality4, Humor3 
Publisher and Titles:  Berkley   
WOTL Novels (in author's recommended reading order): 
           1: Tempting Danger (10/2004)
           2: Mortal Danger (11/2005)
           3: Blood Lines (1/2007)
           4: Night Season (1/2008)
           5: Mortal Sins (2/2009)
           6: Blood Magic (2/2010)
           7: Blood Challenge (1/2011)
           8: Death Magic (11/2011)
           9: Mortal Ties (10/2012)
          10: Ritual Magic (8/2013) 
          11: Unbinding (8/2014) 
          12: Mind Magic (11/2015)
          13: Dragon Spawn (12/2016)

WOTL Novellas and Short Stories (in author's recommended reading order): 

         .1: "The New Kid" free short story (9/2013
         .5: "Only Human" in Lover Beware (7/2003) 
       1.5: "Originally Human" in Cravings (7/2004) (also e-book
       2.9: “Brownies” (deleted scene from Blood Lines, 1/2007) 
       3.5: "Inhuman" in On the Prowl (8/2007) (also e-book) Click HERE to read my review of all of the novellas in On the Prowl.)
       4.2: “Good Counsel” (deleted scene from Night Season, 1/2008) 
       4.5: "Cyncerely Yours" (free short story, 1/2008)
       5.5: "Human Nature" in Inked (1/2010) 
       8.5: "Human Error" in Tied with a Bow (11/2011) (Click HERE to read my review of all of the novellas in Tied with a Bow.

This ongoing post was revised and updated on 1/28/17 to include a review of Dragon Spawn, the 13th novel in the series. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and reviews of novels 7 through 12.

                         NOVEL 13: Dragon Spawn                        
Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that's not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.

Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died.

I had a hard time forcing myself to finish this novel because it moves at an extremely slow pace and is overstuffed with extraneous details of otherworldly mythology that slow it down even further—sometimes coming to a complete halt for pages at a time while the main characters listen to complex (and unnecessary) explanations of woo-woo procedures and customs.

With that said, I am not going to make this a lengthy review. The publisher’s blurb summarizes the plot (although the sentence about Rule’s “Challenge” is somewhat of a red herring). Basically, Lily and Rule’s most dangerous enemy—the Great Bitch (aka GB)—has decided to pull out all the stops and bring on the apocalypse. Horrific, catastrophic events begin to occur around the world, including the bombing of the FBI building in Washington, D.C., and the murder of a dragon. Some of the GB’s actions are much more personal—kidnappings of vulnerable people from several Lupi clan homes. Naturally, Lily and Rule and their friends ally with Sam (their dragon friend) to try to rescue the kidnap victims and take down the GB and her henchman, Tom Weng.

In the final chapters, the story breaks into two story lines that eventually merge: Rule fights a series of exotic-looking demons above ground while Lily fights a series of exotic-looking demons in a twisty, rocky tunnel. Wilks describes each type of demon in full detail (for no apparent reason) and describes each battle with the same amount of repetitious detail.

The worse part of the book is the outrageous cliff-hanger ending, which chops off the action right in the middle of the big showdown battle, leaving the reader frantically turning the page in the hope that Wilks did not just do that! The only saving grace is that the paperback version contains the first few pages of the next novel, Dragon Blood, which provides a tiny bit of resolution for a few—but not all—of the characters.

Although I have always been very positive about this series, I’m pretty much done with it after this book. I truly enjoyed the early books that dealt with Lily, Rule, and the Lupi. Those novels delved deep into each of the main characters’ personalities, and the plots were straightforward, but interesting, and had a lot of snarky humor. At this point, though, the addition of otherworldly elements have changed this series from urban fantasy into a murky hodge-podge of impenetrable fantasy. (See my review of Unbinding for a deeper discussion of this unfortunate change in the mythology.)

And one more problem: Wilks tends to use Lily’s shape-shifting tiger grandmother and Gans, the former demon, as dei ex machina. They always step up with just the right information or the perfect magical ability to solve the big problems that Lily and Rule can’t solve on their own. For example, when Lily's team comes to a rock wall that supposedly has a secret door in it, Lily asks Cynna to use her Finding powers to locate the door. Immediately, Grandmother (in tiger form) walks to the wall, coughs once, and twitches her tail. (Translation: Here's the door!) Then, the following interchange occurs between Cynna and Grandmother:

"Cynna started toward [the tiger]. 'It's spell-locked I'll get it undone. It may take a while, but—'
The tiger leaned forward and coughed on the wall. A portion of it vanished.
'Or you can do it,' Cynna finished." (Once again, it's Grandmother to the rescue just in the nick of time!)

Click HERE to go to this novel's page where you can read an excerpt by clicking on the cover art.

FULL DISCLOSURE: My review of Dragon Spawn is based on an electronic advance reading copy (ARC) of the book that I received from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I received no promotional or monetary rewards, and the opinions in this review are entirely my own.  

     In this world, the supernaturals have come out to the human population, but many humans are quite distrustful and hostile towards them. Here's what life was like for the Lupi just a short time ago: "Twenty-two years ago, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi still had shoot-on-sight laws for Lupi who were in wolf form, though they were being challenged in court. Most other states still had laws on the books for locking up Lupi in either form, but by then the lockup was only until they could be turned over to the feds. The federal government was enthusiastically pursuing its more humane policy...: catch them, brand them, dose them with gado, then allow them to lead 'normal' lives. Gado weakens Lupi, depriving them of both strength and healing. It also blocks moonsong, preventing the Change. Lupi go crazy if deprived of the Change for too long." (Mortal Ties, p. 84)

     The protagonists of the series are FBI agent (Unit 12 of the Magical Crimes Division) Lily Yu and her Lupi (werewolf) soul mate, Rule Turner—prince and heir apparent of the Nokolai clan (and eventually Rho, or leader, of the rival Leidolf clan). Lily is a Touch Sensitive, which means that she can detect magic through touch, but she isn't affected by magic. She and Rule get together—very unwillingly—in book 1, when their bond clicks in and they can't fight their destiny. As it turns out, Lily is the first Chosen (i.e., soul mate) in centuries, so the bond between Rule and Lily is a big deal, both to the werewolves and to the human population, who don't really trust supernaturals of any kind. A major controversy in the series is Lily’s insistence on marriage to Rule, because marriage has been taboo for the werewolves for centuries. Werewolves mate for life, so they believe that the whole marriage thing is an unnecessary and unwanted human social contrivance. Both humans and werewolves act out their vehement opposition to the wedding. 

     The werewolf mythology is a huge part of the series. The Lupi all believe that they are ultimately ruled by the Lady, a mystical construct who directs their fates and to whom they owe their existence. When a lupus achieves the position of Rho in a clan, the Lady bestows an inner mantle of power on him that allows him to rule his clan without question. Each clan has a Rhej, a magical healer to whom the Lady speaks directly. Another aspect of the mythology, is moonsong, which sweeps through the Lupi each month, but it's not the brutal shape-shifting force described in some werewolf series. Instead, it's a wild, beautiful, musical energy that empowers them. As Rule muses at one point, "Moonsong, mantles, and magic. The half of him that ran on four legs and knew so much of love and blood and loyalty...all of that was not just from the Lady, but of her." (Death Magic, p. 288)

     Lily and Rule's soul-mate romance (SMR) begins in book 1 and progresses throughout the series. Lily’s psychic abilities also build as the series moves along. Lily and Rule's bumpy road to romance has a lot of humor as both fight the bond but find that it is stronger than they are. Especially humorous are the scenes in which Lily tries to get away from Rule and finds that the bond won't let her. Books 3 and 4 add a second soul-mate story to the mix—that of Lupi sorcerer Cullen Seabourne and FBI agent and Finder Cynna Weaver. Other couples also get together in later books, but Lily and Rule remain the central focus.

     Set in San Diego and in various paranormal realms, the plots include battles against demons, evil goddesses, demons, rogue Lupi, and Humans First believers (led by one of the series' villains, Robert Friar). Some readers might consider the series to be pure urban fantasy, but, in my opinion, the action-related plot often gets usurped by the heavy focus on the romantic relationships, so I’m calling this urban fantasy (UF) with lots of soul-mate romance (SMR).

     Click HERE to read excerpts from the LUPI books. When you get to the page, just click on the title of the book you want. Click HERE to read brief biographies of the main characters. Click HERE to get information on the minor characters. Click HERE for a glossary of "Weird Words" used in the series. Click HERE to read the author's discussion of werewolves, entitled "Why Werewolves."

                         NOVEL 7: Blood Challenge

     Rule’s brother Benedict gets a second chance at love when he bonds with Arjenie, a young Sidhe computer geek with multiple magical abilities. When Arjenie becomes Benedict’s Chosen—the second Chosen for the Nokolai clan—the werewolves are sure that this is a message from their Lady (their mythological matriarch) that trouble is coming and that Arjenie will play a key role in the action—and they are absolutely correct. In other action, the fanatic Humans First group amps up their objections to Lily and Rule’s engagement, and there is a leak in Lily’s Washington FBI office, with serious consequences for Lily's boss, Ruben. Then, Lily and Rule are called to Tennessee when one of Rule’s Leidolf clan members goes berserk and kills several people. The Nokolai suspect that experimental drugs were the cause of the killer’s behavior.

                         NOVEL 8: Death Magic

     As the eighth book opens, Lily and Rule have been together almost a year. Lily is in the final stages of recuperation from injuries suffered at the climax of the previous book, and Rule is trying to deal with his anger at the Lady for forcing Lily to accept the Wythe clan mantle. In the first scene, Lily sees a ghost, and that ghost keeps reappearing throughout the story, eventually becoming a key part of the climactic scene at the end. Early on in the story, Lily has a series of painful, dizzy episodes (later diagnosed as TIAs) that are related to the Rho mantle that she continues to hold inside her as she awaits the Lady's direction on who will take it from her. Ruben, too, is still recovering from the attempt on his life. Lily and her crew are certain that a traitor still exists in the Unit office, but they're not sure who it is. 

     The plot develops over several story lines: Rule gets involved in the leadership of a Shadow Unit that operates outside the law. Lily testifies before a Senate subcommittee. The magic-hating senator who heads that committee is killed, and Ruben is framed for the murder. Lily runs afoul of the law and puts her job in jeopardy. Robert Friar's Humans First group manages to cause all kinds of trouble, and they're still in league with the Old One (an evil, powerful, ancient female spirit who is trying to take over the world). Ruben has an experience that forever changes his life. Lily has her first encounter with elementals and Brownies. And finally, Al Drummond, Lily's FBI nemesis, winds up haunting her life permanently. The plot is so complex that I can't really summarize it any further without giving away some spoilers. 

     Suffice it to say, this is another mystical and action-filled entry in the series that shouldn't be missed. This one is particularly heavy on magic, mythology, mysticism, and mantles. I had to go back and reread a few paragraphs to get my definitions straight. For example, can you differentiate among a charm, a spell, a magical construct, and an artifact? If not, read the book carefully. You should also prepare for sentences like this one: "You know that her coven observes node action throughout the nation through a simulacra map." (p. 44) What I'm saying here is that sometimes I felt that the narrative got a bit bogged down in the dense mythology, occasionally to the point of obstruction. But on the whole, this is a great story that carries the series on to its next crisis for Lily and Rule. This book takes place in October, and the wedding is scheduled for March. I'm hoping we'll make it that far in book nine.

                         NOVEL 9:  Mortal Ties

     In the opening scene, a thief breaks into the Nokolai clanhouse and steals a prototype of a magic-masking device that Cullen Seabourne has created. Before the Lupi can get started on their investigation, they get a call from Jasper Machek, who claims to be the thief. Jasper wants the Lupi's help because someone has already stolen the prototype from him, and someone else has taken his lover as hostage. When Isen admits that Jasper is his sonand therefore, Rule's brotherRule is temporarily thrown off his game from the sheer shock of that announcement.

     The plot follows Lily and Rule and their crew as they head for San Francisco to solve this complicated case. Soon, their worse fears are confirmed when Jasper admits that he has been conspiring with their old enemy, Robert Friar, who has caused them so much trouble in previous books.

     As always, there are other lesser story lines, which include these: The traitor who provided access and information about the prototype must be identified and punished. Al Drummond, Lily's late FBI nemesis, is still hanging around, but this time he's helping, rather than hurting, the Lupi cause. Lily's sister, Beth, is in danger because she has developed a relationship with Robert Friar's son, Sean. 

     By the time the requisite, climactic showdown scene rolls around, the Sidhe have entered the mix, and Robert Friar appears to have stepped up his magical powers. Although this plot is complex (as usual), it's not nearly as complicated as the one in Death Magic. These plots are never predictable, which is one of the strong points of the series, and this book is no exception. Both Lily and the reader are kept guessing all the way up to the end of another top-notch Lupi adventure. 

     This book is much heavier on the police procedural process than it is on the romance, and Lily and Rule are often apart, working to their strengths in this investigation. In addition, Rule is dealing with some new and troublesome developments in the duality of his Nokolai-Leidolf loyalties. Add that problem to his "new-brother" situation, and Rule is off balance throughout most of the story. Although this book is written in the 3rd person, the point of view changes frequentlyfrom Lily to Rule to Beth to Drummond and others. Wilks has always had a strong hold on her story telling, and she is particularly masterful at handling the police procedural process and the weaving together of story lines. 

     This is another terrific addition to the series, but a new reader should definitely not start here. If you are meeting this series for the first time, do yourself a favor and start at the beginning. You'll be in for a great reading journey.

                         NOVEL 10:  Ritual Magic

     At the very end of the previous book, something strange happened to Julia Yu, Lily's mother. As Ritual Magic begins, we learn exactly what happened and who was behind it. As the story opens, Lily's family is at a restaurant celebrating Julia's 57th birthday. When Julia emerges from the restroom, she has lost all memory of the past 45 years and believes that this is her 12th birthday. At first, Lily believes that the her nemesis, Robert Friar, and his Mistress (an evil goddess they call the Great Bitch, or GB) has attacked her mother because Friar hates Lily so much, but when hundreds more memory-wiped people begin showing up across the country, they begin to dig deeper to find a connection.

     The themes of the story involve the differences between magic and spirit, persuasion and corruption, and free will and compulsion. Here, Lily ponders how these elements are directly affecting her thoughts and behavior: "Compulsion she was pretty clear about. That was the instant, violent overthrow of free will. Persuasion and corruption were more slippery, but corruption had to be about morality. Doing wrong when you knew it was wrong….Persuasion…that would be more like trickery, wouldn't it? Becoming convinced that the sky was yellow instead of blue, that up was down. Making a mistake because you weren't thinking clearly….When she was under spiritual attack during the fight with the dworg, had that been persuasion or corruption? Her mind had felt clear. She hadn't been tricked….But for a few moments, it had seemed okay to kill Santos if he didn't obey her….It sure sounded like corruption." (p. 347) Both Lily and Rule struggle with these elements as they face spiritual, magical, and physical attacks from Friar, the GB, and a brand new supernatural villain that has been unleashed into the world on a quest for ultimate power. Unfortunately, most of the time, the discussions and introspections about these elements were so ambiguous and long-winded that I found myself skimming over those paragraphs and pages to get back to the action plot.

     As always, the fast-paced, action-filled plot is a page turner that includes so many twists and turns that you can't possibly predict how the situation will be resolved. To complicate matters, Lily and Rule's wedding is just two and a half weeks away. Plot elements include a brain-damaged homeless man who communicates only through his songs; an ancient artifact (see the cover art) filled with an infectious plague of death magic; and the powerful talents of Sam, the Black Dragon. The downside of the book is the series of frequent, lengthy, dense lectures on various aspects of magic that the main characters (and the reader) must endure in order to figure out exactly what's going on. Those info-dump scenes severely damage the pacing by bringing the action to a complete halt on several occasions. 

     By the end of the book, you'll get the answers to these important questions: Will Lily and Rule postpone the wedding? if not, will Julia attend the wedding as a teenager or will she get her memories back. Who will live and who will die in the continuing battles with their various enemies? (And you can be sure that there will be some deaths and serious injuries.) Is it really possible that Al Drummond is truly on Lily's side? Does Robert Friar triumph, perish, or go off to plot further dastardly deeds? 

     The strength of the book lies primarily in the continuing strengthening of Lily and Rule's relationship and in the further exploration of elements of the Lupi culture (e.g., the strong effects of the Mantle and the mate bond). Also poignant is Lily's interaction with her family in the wake of Julia's tragic memory loss. 

     In the next novel, the lead characters will be Kai Tallman Michalski and Nathan Hunter, both of whom we have met in Night Season and "Inhuman." Lily and Rule will play brief, supporting roles in that book. 

                        NOVEL 11:  Unbinding                        

     After questing through the sidhe realms with her ex-hellhound lover, Nathan, Kai Tallman Michalski has finally returned home. But she knows Nathan will eventually be called back to serve his queen—and Kai will have to decide whether to enter her majesty’s service as well. Sure, the job comes with great bennies, but there’s one big downside: she would have to swear absolute fealty to the Queen of Winter.

     For now, though, Kai is glad to be home, and glad that Nathan completed his mission for his queen with surprising ease. But what seemed to be a quick conclusion turns out to be anything but. The two of them helped thwart the sidhe god of chaos—and he is not happy about that. He’s got plans for them. Plans, too, for the sidhe who killed him some three millennia ago. Nor has he abandoned his plans for Earth, as they learn when chaos begins bursting out all over.

     While Rule and Lily are in France on their honeymoon, Kai Tallman Michalski and Nathan Hunter take over as the romantic leads in this novel. Kai is a Native American mindhealer with a touch of sidhe in her bloodline, and Nathan is a former hellhound who was given human form centuries ago by the Winter Queen of the Sidhe. He has been in the Queen's service as a Hunter ever since. In Ritual Magic, Kai and Nathan assisted Lily in her search for the artifact and  helped to thwart the evil plans of Dyffaya, the mad god of chaos and insanity. Now, Dyffaya is seeking revenge, and he has set his sights on Kai and Nathan.

     The action revolves around Dyffaya's attacks on Kai, Nathan, and their friends, including onslaughts of poisonous pink butterflies, huge green spiders, mage fire, giant chameleons, hordes of monstrous beasts, and fast-growing thorny vines. Dyffaya wants revenge on those who took away Nam Anthessa, his magical knife (in Ritual Magic), and Kai and Nathan are at the top of his to-do list.

     As Kai and Nathan build their team of allies, they spend a good deal of time explaining the many layers of magic to the newbies—way too much time, if you ask me. As a continuation of the process she began in the previous book, Wilks is putting the finishing touches on a new addition to the LUPI world-building—one that includes huge chunks of sidthe and Native American mythology that are so dense and complex that they frequently bring the action to a dead halt. To illustrate this denseness, here are a few pertinent quotations. Multiply these by 10, and you'll get an idea of how much expositional matter you'll have to get through.

"Some spells use loops to build up power. I've never heard of doing that with a Gift, but theoretically you might build up more power than you can handle and damage your channels." 

"What I mean is that the unquantifiable nature of spatial references inherent in true chaos combined with the inversion of—"

"Kai laughed….'You're not helping, though you did provide me with a new fantasy.' " 

"We tend to think of channels as mostly two-dimensional, like the patterns water makes as it gathers in rivulets and streams. Even if we see them as three-dimensional, like blood vessels, it's not all that helpful a model when magic is really more multidimensional and antidimensional." 

"…Dyffaya isn't in a realm…Not physically."

"If he's not in a realm, where is he?"
"…He's in his godhead."
"What the h--- does that mean?"
"It's a locus."
"Which is what?"
"Well…not exactly a place. Not exactly not a place, either. Maybe you can think of it like in the movie Tron." 
"…This nonplace is like cyberspace?"
"Only made with spiritual energy instead of computers."
"I hate this magic sh--." (Me too!)

"Magic is the product of the friction between chaos and order. Specifically, it is the friction between the realms, which are ordered, and that which lies between the realms, which is chaos." 

"…the Chaos magic let loose by Nam Anthessa's death is not pure chaos, but an amalgam of chaos, arguai [spiritual energy], and magic." 

"Intention imposes structure. Compulsion is a structure. So if I see a rigid, unchanging pattern, that's a compulsion. I can tell whether a compulsion is native or imposed because an imposed compulsion is always present. Innate compulsions—hand-washing or whatever—are only visible when they've been triggered." 

"…healing magic, body magic, and transformational magic are different aspects of the same kind of magic…It's like with the electromagnetic spectrum—all the same kind of energy, only at different frequencies. If magical healing were the visual spectrum, body magic would be more like ultraviolet—higher energy, so it has different properties than healing magic. Transformational magic would be…something way above ultraviolet…"  

     It's no wonder that Kai always has a headache and Nathan is constantly rubbing his nose thoughtfully.

     The first third of the book consists of a police procedural type of story line interrupted by pages and pages of info-dump discussions about magic. The good guys and gals ricochet from disaster to disaster, stopping in between to analyze clues, get more lectures on magic, and eat various snacks. The real action doesn't get going until the final 2/3 of the book after Kai and Nathan find themselves separated and in grave danger from Dyffaya and his minions. Near the end, when the identities of Dyffaya's co-conspirators are finally revealed, their identities are a major surprise. They pop up like a modified version of a deus ex machina. Very unsatisfying.

     This book turns completely away from the world of the LUPI, which I found disappointing. It's as if this were a whole new series, with new characters and new world-building. The faint LUPI connection comes mostly through meal times at the Nokolai clanhome and the presence of the burly Lupi bodyguards who accompany Kai and her friend Arjenie at all times. 

     If you enjoyed the new sidhe-based magical direction taken in Ritual Magic, you'll probably enjoy this book, but if you're looking for a return to the LUPI world, you'll be as disappointed as I was. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Unbinding

NOVEL 12: Mind Magic

     Thanks to the mindspeech lessons she’s receiving from the black dragon, Lily is temporarily benched from Unit Twelve—until her brain acclimates and the risk of total burnout passes. At least she has her new lupi husband, Rule Turner, to keep her occupied. 

     But when her mentor calls in a favor and sends Lily to a murder scene, she’s suddenly back on active status—despite the hallucinations she can’t keep at bay. With one touch, Lily knows the man was killed by magic, but her senses don’t warn her how far the conspiracy goes. 

     A shadowy force within the government wants to take Unit Twelve down, and they don't mind killing to achieve their goal. With none of her usual resources, Lily is up against impossible odds—because with her mind in disarray, she can’t trust anything she sees.

     Mind Magic opens near an isolated farmhouse in West Virginia, where a 17-year-old girl named Demi Alicia McAllister sneaks up on the Bright Haven Refuge for Gifted Young People, a place in which a group of orphaned, magically gifted children reside under the guardianship of a mysterious man named Mr. Smith. It is immediately obvious that Demi is a former Refuge resident who somehow escaped Mr. Smith's clutches, and now she has returned to rescue her friend, Nicky. Also obvious is Demi's fear of Mr. Smith, his staff, and some of the "gifted" children. Both Demi (who soon renames herself Danny) and Mr. Smith play key roles in the plot, one as an heroic figure and one as a villain. Of the two, Demi/Danny is the most interesting. She calls herself an "Aspie," meaning that she has Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Demi is highly intelligent, but she has difficulty with social interactions and nonverbal communication. She manages to live a successful, independent life by making and following lists of behaviors that she should follow in various situations. Demi is a topnotch computer hacker, and her hacking skills are the primary reason she is so important to the plot.

     Two months have passed since Rule and Lily's wedding, and they are currently staying in the Washington, D.C., area with Lily's boss, Ruben Brooks, and his wife, Deborah. Lily is on indefinite sick leave from her job as an FBI special agent because she is suffering from intermittent hallucinationsa side effect of her mindspeech training with her mentor, Sam, the black dragon. In addition to the hallucinations, the mindspeech training has disrupted Lily and Rule's ability to use their mate sense (their ability to know each other's exact location). Currently, their mate sense works only when they are within 100 feet of one another. Sam predicts that it could take anywhere from a week to a year for their mate sense to get back to normal and for the hallucinations to disappear. Naturally, Lily is quite depressed about this major change in her life, and over-protective Rule is frustrated that he can't keep track of Lily at all times.

     Just to review: Ruben heads up Unit 12 of the FBI's Magical Crimes Division and is also the founder and head of the Shadow Unit, a deeply covert organization that exists mostly to stop the woman they call the Great Bitch (GB) from taking over the world. Lily works for Unit 12, and is a member of the Shadow Unit. Rule is second in command to Ruben in the Shadow Unit. 

    The plot revolves around several problematic situations: 1. Mika, Washington D.C.'s dragon, has gone missing, and government officials want to know where he is and why he isn't on duty. 2. Sam, Lily's dragon mentor, sends Lily to the small town of Whistle, Ohio, on an unexplained missionwithout Rule. 3. An unknown enemy frames both Rule and Reuben for various crimes in order to get them out of the way. Also, there are brownieslots of brownies (the creature kind, not the chocolaty dessert). 

     The plot plays out mostly outdoors or underground in tracts of wooded parkland between Ohio and Washington, D.C., as Lily gets kidnapped; Mika goes through a life-changing experience; Rule goes on the run; Mr. Smith pulls out all the stops on his evil plan; a powerful, possibly sociopathic, sorcerer gets in on the action; and Demi/Danny ultimately saves the day (with the help of a dying lupus named Charles). Cullen Seabourne and his mate, Cynna Weaver, also go missing, but we'll have to wait for a future book to find out what happened to them. Naturally, the big question for Rule and Lily is whether the GB is responsible for Lily's kidnapping and the attacks on Rule, Ruben, and other friends

     The best part of this novel is Demi/Danny, a charming young woman who steals every scene in which she appears. She develops a close relationship with Mike, one of the Leidolf lupi, so we'll see where that leads in future books. Wilks does a great job in keeping the major plot lines separate until the very end of the book when she reveals the astonishing connection between them. I was just as puzzled as Lily and Rule about how all of the pieces of this puzzling plot fit together, so the big "reveal" scene was quite satisfying to read. The final showdown scene occurs as the world hovers on the brink of what Demi/Danny calls Dragmageddon (Dragons plus Armageddon).

     This is another solid entry in a great series. There are a handful of dense, pace-slowing narratives about how mindspeech works, how it differs from telepathy, and how and why Lily is now an efondi, but not as many as in the previous novel. The brownies are lots of fun. When Lily asks them what an efondi does, they respond, "I don't know…None of our business…But I'm sure you'll do it well…whatever it is. If you don't go crazy." 

     Click HERE to go to Mind Magic's page where you can click on the cover art and read the first three chapters of Mind Magic, in which you will meet Demi/Danny.

No comments:

Post a Comment