Series: Love at Stake #16
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Avon on 30 December 2014
Reading Challenges: 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Russell has finally got Master Han within his grasp when some chick ruins his shot. If that isn’t enough, she then wants to work with him to bring Han down. Fortunately for the tiger-shifter princess of Tiger Town (try saying that fast) Jia, she’s cute and Russell whose been living by himself in a cave for years and years can’t resist her charms.
Jia’s voice felt off as although she was supposed to be in her twenties, she sounded and acted like a child given her immaturity. I found myself sympathising with her cousin Rajiv who wanted to keep her locked up for her own safety. Writing characters from different cultures than your own is difficult as you can unwittingly fall into stereotypes and I think that is what happened with Jia who came across as a two dimensional young Asian woman trying to free herself from the well-meaning but traditional family. She said all the ‘right’ things a Western reader would expect about not wanting to dishonour her family and being innocent around men etc but there was no depth to her beyond that. She could have been so much more.
Russell, on the other hand, was much better rounded and his back story was more interesting. He was forcibly changed into a vampire and then left in a coma for 30+ years and has dedicated himself to destroying the man that put him there and finding out why he was chosen. He’s basically your average good looking but scruffy, slightly crazy ex-military guy with a grudge and an unwillingness to play nice with others.
I’m glad this is the last Love At Stake book because the number of characters are getting a bit too unwieldy and the plots a bit repetitive. The humour which seemed so effortless in the earlier books comes across as forced in places and rather than giggling my way through the book, I merely gritted my teeth. The story line was decidedly odd in places with the jaunt down to Hell seeming more to set up a future series involving angels rather than staying consistent with the world in this series. The repetitiveness grated as it is hard to sustain the chemistry between our two leads when all they do is visit one of Han’s many camps, have sniff to see if he is there, argue and then go back to Russell’s Batcave. Even the true identity of Master Han wasn’t able to excite me that much because the foreshadowing was so blatant. I’m not sure why it went down this track as the dragon-shifter aspect was really interesting and could have been capitalised on more. Sparks does tie up all the loose ends neatly though which given the sheer scale of them is no mean feat.
It is a shame that the series is ending on a fizzle rather than fireworks apart from this book, the rest have been downright entertaining. I have thoroughly enjoyed Sparks’ whimsical take on the paranormal romance genre and can heartily recommend the series as a whole but this one just didn’t do it for me.