Any Port in a Storm by Emmie Mears
Series: Ayala Storme #2
Published by Indie
Published on: June 2, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy
After months of training a budding army of human/demon hybrids, Ayala and Carrick have worked out most of their differences. Who gets to use the bathroom first in the morning. Who’ll feed the bunny before they go out to make mayhem. Who gets to keep the jeeling claw they found in Forest Hills. You know, the important stuff. But when Gregor sends them out with their battalion of shades and the mission quickly lands on the wrong side of Ayala’s “don’t kill norms” moral line, she quickly discovers that maybe morality wasn’t the motivator behind Gregor’s pet project — or at least not when money’s involved. And when a trio of shades starts murdering the populace in Nashville again and targeting places and people significant to Ayala, her desire to help her own comrade shades stay on the good side of the Mediators will place her at their mercy again. With the Summit fracturing and demons closing in on the city, saving the shades and herself may cost Ayala everything.
If I had any thought that my five star rating of Storm in a Teacup was just a fluke, the second book put that theory to rest really quickly. Sometimes a follow up book disappoints, but this one didn’t for one second-with one minor exception. More about that later. Just a heads up, there will be spoilers from the first book in this review.
Ayala Storme is a mediator in a world where demons have overrun whole parts of the world-literally. In this world, Alabama and Mississippi are just cesspools of demons and unfit for humans to live there. Ayala lives in Nashville, and works for the Summit, an agency that is tasked with ridding the world of demons. The Opry has already fallen victim to the demons, and it’s up to Ayala and others like her to make sure nothing else does. There’s a new sort of demon in the world now, and they are known as Shades. Shades are born of demons and human hosts-and born fully grown- so you know what happens to the hosts, and it’s not pretty. Ayala is part of a project to integrate the Shades into human life-not an easy feat since they are born ready to kill anything in their path. Gregor-her mentor- has signed off on the project and has helped implement it. To make things more interesting, Gregor has made her let one of them, Carrick, live in her home. Life gets even more complicated when a group of mediators decide they want the Shades to all die, and also want Alamea, the director of the Summit, to be assassinated.
If you love strong, kick ass heroines, Ayala is your girl. She is determined, smart, fit, and lives to kill demons. As in literally lives-people like her have been taken at birth and trained for the job. Mediators are born with violet eyes so they can never be anything else, nor can they leave a specific area surrounding where they are born. It’s all part of the fascinating world building of this series. Alamea (the director of the Summit), has a much bigger part this time around. She is supposed to be the strongest of all the mediators, but as in any large organization, there is always people wanting to usurp her power. She’s pretty unflappable, intelligent and can kick butt with four inch heels on-and never break a sweat. Ayala’s friend and fellow mediator, Mira is smack in the middle of everything with Ayala this time as well. Lots of strong women are featured, always a good thing. Of course there is still the enigmatic Gregor, and also Carrick who is a mystery to Ayala even though they live together. Lots more side characters only add more to this story-some good, some bad.
Describe this book in one word? ACTION. And plenty of it. This is definitely an urban fantasy and this time around romance takes a big leap to the back burner and pretty much stays there. And that’s the one exception that disappointed. A certain love interest was such a big part of the first book that I really missed him in this book. Hopefully he will be back in the next installment.
I think this is my favorite new series, and that’s taking nothing away from my old favorites. It was less than a day’s read for me because I pretty much read non-stop. Great main character, fascinating world building, action, thriller aspects, and a mystery, just added up to a five star read for me. Top that off with great secondary characters, snark and wonderful writing, and if I could give it more stars I would. Highly recommended to all adult urban fantasy readers!
And one more thing, if you don’t come away wanting to adopt a bunny, I would be very surprised!