Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks
Series: World of the Lupi #5
Published by Berkley
Published on: February 3rd, 2009
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
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FBI agent Lily Yu is in North Carolina with her lover and mate, Rule Turner, Lu Nuncio of the Nokolai werewolf clan. He is there to take custody of his son from the boy's grandmother. It's a purely personal trip until Rule, in wolf form, finds three bodies in a shallow grave. They carry the stench of death magic, which makes the murders a federal crime. Lily takes charge of the investigation and soon realizes that nothing adds up- not the motives or the main suspect, who is behind bars when death strikes again.
Mortal Sins acts as the fifth brilliant installment in the World of the Lupi series. When you reach this point with a plot, drag and excess are to be expected. How does one keep keeping it fresh without forgetting the roots?
It helps that these books have always been on the wild side. Book four took place in an entirely alternate world where for an entire season the sun doesn’t rise. Book two took place in the demon plane as the main character’s soul was split and her lover could not take any other form than wolf. And, of course, one cannot forget book one in which a United States hostile to werewolves was imagined and a handful of different wolf clans who were intensely religious to someone named the Lady.
So, by now, one would expect the author to be getting pretty comfortable with the fact that magic isn’t coming back into the world at too alarming a rate and the sky’s the limit when it comes to bringing in dragons, wraiths, dwarves, or fire mages into your urban fantasy.
Why then does she make such a bold point three-quarters of the way through this book in having one of the few authority figures in this universe – when it comes to magical know-how – say there are no such things as vampires? Am I to believe that although so much liberty has so far been taken with my imagination and that although vampires so often go hand-in-hand with werewolves (not a lovey-dovey peanut butter and jelly kind of hand-in-hand, more an oil and water hand-in-hand) that there could not nor never will be an introduction of a pale, fanged, caped creep?
This seems far more incredible than the fact that there is a United States cut up by a handful of werewolf clans who each worship a deity named the Lady. Why should there be a limit? And, just as important, can I trust that such a limit will be respected? I mean the worlds are still shifting. This authority figure has been proved wrong before. But let me get off this minor detail and treat more of the parts of book five.
Two themes that keep making their presence known in this universe are the weirdness of faith and the oddity of being bonded. Both Lily and Cynna express significant doubts as to the loyalty of their werewolf mates. Just how can the beasts they have heard publicized for so long as lecherous be faithful? Is there such thing as a bond and a mate?
And then, on the other hand, every time a character mentions a Bible or a Deity the main characters, usually Cynna and Lily, wonder how it is possible that someone could invest such an object with so much belief. Clearly the two themes share some common ground.
As far as the werewolf loyalty is concerned, their questions should soon be answered. Lily is rapidly becoming integrated into Rule’s family. His son, Toby, gets a few very well narrated chapters this time around. It’s always fun to get in the head of an eight year old. Their descriptions of the world are just so fresh and original.
This ability to describe attitudes and settings well contests greatly with the potboiler of a plot, people are dying and magic’s involved. And the B plot, a melodrama for child custody, just might take the cake from it anyway. I will not ramble. The language stays lively and I am curious to see where Wilks will take us next.