In Half-Light City, humans live alongside several different types of supernaturals:
Lily is a courageous heroine, trapped in Lucius's possession by the magic of his blood, but determined to break away. Even though Simon is the hero, he is more beta than alpha. He's a gentle Healer who is trying to forget the tragedy of his warrior past. The couple falls in love a little too quickly—a common problem with paranormal romance in general—but, on the other hand, they keep mistrusting each other a bit too long. Almost all the way to the end, they still doubt each other's other motives, so it's difficult to accept their professed love for one another. All in all, though, this is a solid beginning to a series that I will continue to read. Scott has created a fresh and inventive mythology—a dark and mysterious world with interesting characters and an action-filled plot. Click HERE to read the first two chapters.
NOVEL 3: Iron Kin
The first two books of this series told the love stories of the two DuCaine brothers. Now we have the story of their younger sister, Saskia, who is a 23-year-old metal mage apprentice. Saskia's true love is Fen, a halfbreed seer with a Fae father and a Beast Kind grandmother. Fen's visions cause him tremendous pain, and he wears an iron chain around his wrist to keep them under control. Early in the story, Fen accidentally touches Saskia and is shocked to discover that her brief touch stops his pain. As the story moves along, the two become more and more attracted to one another even though they come from different economic levels and different species. Needless to say, this generates a multitude of interior monologues from both characters, although they don't have as much angst as you would expect.
The action part of the plot continues the series story arc as Ignatius, the new leader of the Blood, plots to take control of the city. It's time for the treaty talks, which take place every five years, and if the four races (humans, vampires, Fae, and shape shifters) don't come to an agreement, there will be an all-out war, which the humans will probably lose. When the Fae are attacked at the beginning of the talks, chaos reigns and the future becomes uncertain.
The best part of this story is the action plot, which moves along at a fast pace and ends in a cliff hanger, with hints that some new characters will come to the rescue of the humans. The romance, on the other hand, is kind of dull. For much of the story, Saskia is portrayed as a relatively naive and innocent girl who lets her lustful emotions lead her. Then, towards the end, she become (almost instantly) forceful and somewhat aggressive in the relationship. Although it's always good for a character to develop as the story moves along, that character should develop gradually in order for the transformation to be believable. In this case, that doesn't happen; Saskia's changeover happens way too fast and without any transition.
NOVEL 4: Fire Kin
Recap: (WARNING: The first paragraph of this review includes spoilers for previous books.)
And now, on to novel five:
In the previous novels, Scott told the love stories of the three DuCaine siblings. To finish the series, she turns to a familiar character: Bryony, the lovely and powerful Fae healer who heads up St. Giles Hospital. Bryony is part of a noble Fae family, but she left Summerdale long ago, sickened by the fallout from Fae politics and feuds. One of those feuds resulted in the forced exile of Bryony's true love, Asharic sa'Uriel'pellar (aka Captain Asher Pellar, aka Ash) after Ash let himself be drawn into an illegal duel that resulted in the death of his opponent. Ash has been gone for thirty years, but Bryony still misses him. He tried to talk her into going with him when he was exiled, but she was so angry at what he had done that she refused his pleas, and they have not seen each other since. Bryony has remained in the human world at St. Giles all these years, while Ash became a mercenary soldier who now commands thousands of mostly human soldiers.
Desperate for military assistance, the Templars hire Ash and his army to help patrol the border and keep the vamps and shifters away from the human population. When the Templars send Ash their offer of employment, Ash is stunned to learn of the death of the Veiled Queen because it means that his long exile is finally over and he can go home again—to Summerdale and to Bryony. As usual, there are two closely related plots: the love story and the action story line that relates to the series story arc: maintaining the peace among the humans, Fae, Blood, and Beasts and creating a cure for blood-lock.
The love story is filled with all the angst that you would expect. Ash wants Bryony back, but she is settled into her life in the human world and isn't about to hand her heart over to a man who has already broken it once. Of the two, Ash is the more sympathetic character. He has made the most of his exile, learning to use his formidable Fae powers and hardening himself to life as the leader of soldiers. He has obviously matured greatly since the dare-devil days of his youth, but Bryony chooses not to believe that he has changed. She is comfortable in her life at St. Giles, where she is highly respected and well loved by the humans and the Templars alike. Both Ash and Bryony have been dreaming about one another all these years, but Bryony is too proud and too fearful to admit her feelings to anyone but herself—at least at first. Eventually, she and Ash fall into bed together (about half-way through the book), but each of their love-making sessions is immediately followed by Bryony's withdrawal from Ash as she continues to overthink their situation. Near the end, she counsels Ash to accept a certain position (which I can't describe because it would be a spoiler), but refuses to stand with him—an action that comes across as weak and mean-spirited.
The action plot has several interwoven story lines: the border battles with the vamps and shifters, the political and personal unrest in Summerdale, the kidnapping of several Fae women, and the search for the blood-lock cure. Obviously, since this is the final book int he series, all of those conflicts are resolved.
The story is told in the first person, alternating between Ash and Bryony. First-person narrative isn't my favorite story-telling point of view, but Scott does an adequate job of it, although there are some awkward spots. The best parts of the story are the scenes that take place in Summerdale, where Ash is forced once again into a duel and the Fae discover the depth and breadth of his powers. His reunion with his parents is a touching scene.
This has been a solid series with a well-conceived mythology, strong plotting, and well-developed characters. Fire Kin ties up all the loose ends and makes for a satisfying finale. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Fire Kin.