Book #16 in the Love at Stake series (last one). Publish Date: 12/30/14
I own an e-copy of this book
Russell wakes from a coma to find he’s become a vampire. Now he has a thirst for revenge. Determined to hunt down the master vampire who turned him, he’s used to working alone . . . until he meets Jia. She is after the same vampire for murdering her parents and insists she can help Russell on this mission. Reluctantly, he agrees, and sets up some ground rules:
Rule #1: Their partnership is strictly business. If he holds her a little too close . . . if she looks at him with those exotic eyes . . . well, that has to stop.
Rule #2: He’s in charge. Jia isn’t used to taking orders and questions every move he makes. So he stops her the only way he knows how.
Rule #3: Don’t fall in love. But the kiss that was supposed to quiet her awakens something else in him . . . something forbidden. Because Jia is engaged. To someone else.
This is the last addition to a long run series, for now, and while I am sad to say good-bye to this world I think perhaps it is time. This book just didn’t work for me and it pains me to give it the rating I did, but this title just didn’t excite me as earlier books did. Sometimes you can feel in the story that the author needs to move on and explore other worlds and this book was one of those instances. Much of what I loved about this world was missing or a shadow of former its glory. The writing felt fairly formulaic, the humor was either forced or too silly to be real, and there was a ton of telling not showing. I wanted this series to go out with a bang and it didn’t, more like a rattled death gurgle.
The first half of the book was alright. Jia and Russell’s relationship felt a little awkward and forced. I almost liked them as just partner’s instead of lovers. This is, however, a fluffy vampire romance, so no matter how weird their relationship felt we all knew they were going to end up together. I like Jia, though, I think she was one of the better heroines in the series. I also kinda liked Russell, but less so. I think he needed more work or time to be developed as a character so we could have gotten to know him better and rooted for him. Maybe that was why he was saved for last.
I am satisfied how the series concluded the Master Han arch, I started to see the ‘surprise’ coming about half-way through the book. I think it was an interesting twist even if it was expected. The arch concerning the kidnapped Dragon boy felt flat and rushed. His chapters were particularly bad with the telling and not showing. This is another instance where I wished the author would have given the plot the time it deserved. It almost felt tacked on. We have the Archangels making another appearance in this book. I understand why, but they sure didn’t help the story. I wish their role and the whole corny trip to hell could have been left out. I think the story might have been stronger without. It was nice to see almost everyone one last time, but again I think some of the characters and their hordes of children could have stayed home.
Like I said, it pains me to be so harsh, but I have to call them as I see them and this book did not live up to its predecessors. I still love the series and plan to re-read it one day, as I own all of them. I also am on board for any future novellas the author wants to give us set in this world. She is moving on to other stories and other worlds and I look forward to seeing what she writes next. I just wish she would have set this world aside until she could have given it the send-off it deserved.
My Rating: 2 Stars