Taken By The Others by Jess Haines
Series: H & W Investigations #2
Published by Zebra
Published on: January 1st 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
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Once, New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest's most pressing problem was keeping her agency afloat. Now she's dealing with two dangerous, seductive vampires who have been enemies for centuries. The only thing Max Carlyle and Alec Royce agree on is that they both want Shia - for very different reasons. Max is determined to destroy Shia for killing his progeny, while Royce's interest is a lot more personal. That's not sitting well with Shia's werewolf boyfriend, Chaz. As the feud between Max and Royce gets ever more deadly, a powerful vampire-hunting faction is urging Shia to join their side. Shia has always believed vamps were the bad guys, but she's discovering unexpected shades of grey that are about to redefine her friends, her loyalties - and even her desires.
Taken By The Others paces itself extraordinarily well. Fight scenes, especially the crucial one, develop over the course of several chapters to give the feeling that both sides are taking significant loss and exposing themselves to significant danger. Also don’t get me started on that ending, which quietly ties up the loose ends that other books would neglect in favor of ending right as the battle does.
Some of the more predictable elements would be the large cast of characters, which due to its size frequently mentions a member I am not quite sure I remember; the crippling indecision of our narrator (pick a side already); the noteworthy magical gear, complete with talking hunter’s belt, and the collective con game every vampire since the dawn of time plays. You cannot seriously put your trust in a vampire Shiarra keeps telling us, even though they rule the city she lives in and probably the world of the narrative at large.
Let’s set the record straight. This may be a werewolf friendly publication but I must admit that with vampires living an eternity and soaking up the knowledge of every culture since the ancients, it makes perfect sense to rely on them in a crunch. Werewolves are definitely more interesting in their pack dynamics and balance between man and beast, but if push were to come to shove I would have no qualms relying on the well of knowledge a vampire has at her disposal. This concludes the advice portion of this column.
To continue the review, I am impressed, that even with a cast of characters large enough to often make me forget who all is in it, each character feels – once I remember who they are – very well characterized. At least three new characters were introduced here, which in the midst of an involved plot, feel well-rounded and deserving of future screentime.
The mage element did drop off quite strongly in this entry though. I was looking forward to any sort of spell-casting, spell-advising, or even some new magical gear. But all the mages were all sidelined to make this as vampire heavy a read as possible. Don’t get me wrong. Werewolves do get a drawn-out scene or two, but everything plotwise revolves around the nefarious vampires. Can they be trusted?
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