Thursday, January 2, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Death's Hand

Policing relations between Heaven, Hell and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it--until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn't stand to see one more dead body.

Now they've been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world's best killing teams.

After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed.

Some enemies aren't willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead...

- Goodreads

This was an interesting story with a lot of action and inhabitants of the demon world. Elise and James are a pair of fighters who deal with all things demonic, but one moment of saving the world from the Goddess of Death seriously messed up Elise. She was tortured for what felt like hours, but despite wanting to die and be rid of the pain, she managed to kill the woman and save the world from demons and chaos. They may have saved the world, but they both lost something precious that day, and Elise called it quits.

Five years later, after finally settling into a 'normal' life, the possibility of a child being possessed coaxes a reluctant Elise out of early retirement. She still refuses to help or admit that the child could be possessed, but because of James' constant requests in helping, she agrees to help where she can. The moment she checks on the child, however, she realizes that something is amiss, and she does a little detective work on her own to figure out what the hell is going on.

I liked reading it, and the whole thing was interesting enough, but the characters fell flat for me. The only time anything ever felt remotely juicy was during the prologue, the very ending when she saved James after almost losing him, and when the fighting scenes commenced. Hell, the fighting scenes were more detailed and impacting to me than the conversations or 'conversations' that went on between Elise, Anthony, James and Stephanie. Elise is slightly jaded so I get her attitude, but I still couldn't connect with her beyond the mutual understanding. A lot of this book was more "telling" than "showing" and it got me skipping some paragraphs to get to the main points. James and Elise's romantic interests with other people was an interesting set for drama, but because a lot of "love"- or whatever else you'd call it -wasn't that obvious between them, the thing didn't work out as much as I'd have liked it to. I just wish there was more romantic stuff between Elise and James, but if that wasn't what the author was going for, then everything makes sense again, and I can just take their relationship as nothing but a very strong partnership.
*No, I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be in love.*
*But they didn't... there was no jealousy drama, no tension.*

If they're supposed to be in love or something, then the flatness of the characters mars my fascination of the story for me. I still like it, but I'd love it more if the characters acted a little more... I don't know, just- more. When it becomes obvious that James and Stephanie are hooking up, Elise doesn't really do anything to show how she feels about that. She gets territorial and a little more grouchy than usual, sure, but she never really says anything about it. There's no description about what she feels, no comment towards James about it at all. Hell, I was yelling at James more than she was, and I haven't even known the dude for that long! Then there's her and Anthony. When she tells James that she has a date with him, he freezes for a few moments, but then accepts it. I took that to mean that he obviously cared, but with the way they both act about it being okay, I was like, "Is that really okay, then? Maybe he really does just want her to be normal and date normally and blah blah blubido." T_T

Elise mentioned loving him but knowing, via James, that they will never be together romantically. I don't know why, but if I missed the explanation while skipping some boring parts, I'll have to go back and read it again. 
*shudders* 

At the moment, fast-paced books are my thing because my brain can't take books with detail that don't relate to the plot, or details that are supposed to give character to the book but don't. What I basically got from this book is that James and Elise are retired because of some deep shit that they got into five years ago, but still practice on the side (James more so than Elise). The death goddess they thought Elise had killed years ago is back and is using a necromancer to help her find a body to take over, and James becomes that target. Elise saves him and brings him back from the dead, and it ends with them holding hands in his dance studio and watching the normal world pass by as they decide to stay instead of run and await the dread that came with their decision.

So overall this was a good read I'd recommend, but some plots in the story confused me, like the once-in-a-while regards to "He" (who is that???) or the reason why Elise was found amongst those frozen bodies back in Russia all those years ago (what was that about?)... However, I did skip through some chapters, so I may have passed these explanations, so then shame on me, I suppose. Some readers might not like the way Reine goes back and forth between the past and present without warning. This book needs some editing here and there, but it's free on Amazon right now, as is the boxed set of all three books at the moment, so I don't feel so cheated. I'm definitely going to read the second book because I want to know what's going to happen next.

There's no sex in this or any swearing (from what I remember) but it's demons and violence, and the action scenes really pulled me in.

Happy Reading :)

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