on 23 August 2010
This second Evy Stone book picks up exactly where the first one left off. Evy, Wyatt, the surviving hunters and their handlers are clearing up the mess from the battle that kept a rift between worlds from being opened. But it cost 6 hunters, and Wyatt briefly, their lives. The events that led to the battle, the Triad's betrayal, means that Evy knows there is still a lot to sort out. She'd rather just go home and sleep for a week or two, try and work out her feelings for her handler Wyatt. And figure out how do deal with being in a different body, sharing Chalice's emotional memories.
Just as she and Wyatt arrive back at the apartment Chalice and Alex shared though, her troubles pick up again. One of the last surviving Owlkins demands her protection for his people, and the person responsible for the fire that killed the rest of them to be brought to him. Evy knows that finding that person, someone high up the food chain, an invisible person who'd identity is hidden for a reason, will be more than difficult. It'll also mean fighting against the people who were once her allies before turning on her, and within the Triad's, she really doesn't know if she can trust any of them. And things just get more desperate from there. Deeply hidden secrets are unearthed and they're going to change things for Evy for good, if she survives.
I liked the first Evy book, Three Days To Dead, but didn't love it. Too much going on, sometimes flat characters, and Evy was not the most likable character. But it was still a decent read and I was curious to see what would happen next for her. I did like this book a bit more, but it took a while. It's a little start/stop for the first half, and Evy annoyed me enough that I put the book down on more than one occasion for a short break. She's not exactly a bad character, or person, but her continued ignorance and the way she reacts to things (always fists first) annoyed me. I get that she's 22 and had a hard life and a lot has happened to her in a very short, chaotic time, but I just felt like she should have been growing and changing with the new things she faces. She does eventually start to change, around the midway point, but up til then she irritated me more than anything else.
The plot also smoothed out and moved faster from around the midway point until the end. It had some slightly predictable things, but there were some pretty big shocks in there as well. The tension from about the 2/3 mark just rose and stayed there right up to the end. Like Three Days To Dead, Evy is on a strict time frame, but also like it, I didn't often feel the pressure of that time frame coming through to me. The tension towards the end felt the same as any other big build up where you know a huge showdown is coming, time frame or not. I feel that's one of the biggest let downs on these books. The time frame is meant to be a pretty big aspect, the chapters have day/time stamp as their titles, and Evy mentions that she only has so long for certain things numerous times, but it just doesn't come across for me.
But despite the flaws, overall I still enjoyed the book. The second half I almost loved in fact. It's better than the first one, and despite the stop/start earlier on, it felt far better plotted than book one, more together and less scatty. It wraps up nicely although there are some threads left open to be explored in the next book, which I'm looking forward to. I did actually like Evy quite a lot by the end, but I think I liked some of the secondary characters, Phin in particular, more. Not about to become a favourite, but still a good read and worth the time.