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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dakota Banks: MORTAL PATH

Author: Dakota Banks
Plot Type: UF 
Ratings: V4, S3, H1 
Publisher and Titles: Eos
        Dark Time (2009)
        Sacrifice (2010)
        Deliverance (2012)

       BOOK 3: Deliverance       
     Deliverance follows Maliha as she travels the world with no apparent plan, meeting up with various people from her past and participating in a variety of activities in which she is invariably the most lethal, the most wealthy, the most beautiful, and the most well-dressed person in every scene. The randomness of her actions and the self-centeredness of her thoughts are so predictable and so repetitious that she becomes a cardboard charactera stereotypical UF heroine who is so shallow that we really don't care what she does next. The main plot involves Elizabeth, an Ageless woman who tries to force Maliha to carry out some assassinations. Elizabeth has kidnapped several of Maliha's friends, so if Maliha doesn't do Elizabeth's bidding, her friends will die. This series began as average, but has dropped in quality with this latest book.  

     The heroine of this series is called Susannah Layhem in 1692 when she is burned as a witch, saved by a demon (Rabishu), and changed into one of the Agelessimmortals who are assassins under the command of their demon creators. Now our heroine is called Maliha Crayne by her friends and Marsha Hughes by the general public, readers of her popular Dick Stallion fiction series (her latest title is Too Big to Be True). Maliha is no longer Ageless; she is a mortal again (hence the series name), having broken her contract with Rabishu after refusing to obey his order to kill a baby. In order to save her soul, Maliha must constantly save livesas many lives as she has taken.  As an Ageless-turned-rogue, she will age a little each time she saves a life, and she risks being killed before she has evened the score. Maliha turns out to be a superhuman, as she executes black-belt karate moves, rappels from helicopters, and successfully performs seemingly impossible cat-burglar maneuvers.

       BOOKS 1 & 2       

     Dark Time is heavy on exposition as the author gives us the back stories for Maliha and her team of human assistants. Dark Time follows the team as they solve the murders of two computer technicians, crimes that are linked to corporate greed and national security.

     In Sacrifice, Maliha must stop a terrorist (an Ageless) from killing millions of people using nano-technology. In both books, Maliha keeps searching for and collecting magical shards that will eventually allow her to kill the seven demons who threaten the human world.

     In book 1, a love interest surfaces in the form of Jake Stackman, a mysterious agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. In book 2, more love (or lust) interests turn up, but there are few graphic details. Maliha sets five standards for her romantic partners: "romantic, powerful, rich, an incredible physical specimen, dangerous, or all of the above" (Sacrifice, p. 222). She manages to find quite a few men who meet enough standards for her to hook up with them.

     In book 2, she begins to recruit some of the Ageless to join her rogue organization so that they can all search for the magical shards. By the end of book 2, Maliha is torn between the thrills and power of her former identity (the Black Ghostthe assassin) and her new identity, Maliha Crayne, woman with a conscience, to the point that she is considering a return to her demon-controlled status—lots of angst.

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