by Virginia Cavanaugh, fantasy (2011)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-827-6
While I am not an editor and therefore my advice shouldn't be taken as gospel, I'd personally remove much of the parts in the first chapter of Deceptions Of Night because these parts serve as very vague references to the previous story in the series. They serve no purpose in advancing the plot in this story and therefore are merely distraction for the new readers as well as - ahem - some readers who couldn't bother to remember much about that previous story.
The gist of this story is that our heroine, Shayla the jaguar shifter, is ordered to kill our hero Lex, a high-ranking vampire hero (redundant phrasing, I know, because it's not like there is any other kind of vampire hero in this type of story), only to bungle up things because she is the heroine and therefore is blessed with ineptness that marks her as a woman of virtue. Naturally, Lex takes her under his... er, wings and saves the day by uncovering a plot against him.
It's a pretty familiar story featuring stock characters, which is the biggest problem with this story. It's just not... special enough, I guess, to be memorable. The characters banter like I expect them to, they have sex on schedule, and they do their thing just like the script suggested. There are many, many stories with similar characters running around in the market at the moment, and this one is too generic to stand out in any way.
A daring twist that deviates from the norm would done wonders for this story, that's for sure. As it is, it's just another one of many. Read it if you want, or skip it if you wish. Either way, it really doesn't matter as I'd bet that you'd come across another story with similar characters, tone, and script next week.
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