Bedeviled: This series needs some fine-tuning

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSable Grace Bedeviled fantasy book reviewsBedeviled by Sable Grace

At the end of the first DARK BREED novel, Ascension, Kyana turned her witch friend Haven into a vampire/lycanthrope hybrid in order to save her from certain death. But Haven is taken over by the evil god Cronos, who wants to use her to bring himself back to life and usher in his new reign. Most of the Order wants to see Haven killed to end the threat. Kyana is the only one who still believes in her friend, so it’s important that Kyana find Haven first — no one else will ask questions first and shoot later, so to speak. But Kyana is changing too. Artemis has passed her powers on to Kyana, and as Kyana absorbs them, she begins to lose her original psychic link with Haven, and her own familiar abilities are replaced by new ones that she’s not used to yet.

Bedeviled picks up where Ascension left off, and follows Kyana in her race against time to capture Haven before she can raise Cronos. Kyana is dealing with a second struggle as well: her commitment-phobia regarding her lover, Ryker, the son of Ares. Ascension was a fun light read and Bedeviled continues in that vein, with plenty of action and sex, and the book delivers major movement on both the fantasy and romance plot threads.

This time, though, I found that some issues nagged at me. I’m not sure if they’re more prevalent in Bedeviled than in Ascension, or if I simply glossed over them in book one because I was drawn in by other aspects of the novel. Here, there are several problems that affected my enjoyment of the story.

First, the writing doesn’t flow as smoothly this time, especially in scenes where both Kyana and Ryker are present. The point of view will abruptly jump back and forth between them in the middle of a scene.

The second problem is Kyana’s abrasiveness. She’s always been abrasive, but began to grow a little more likable by the end of Ascension. Here, there are moments where she seems to have taken a step backward. The example that stands out to me is her treatment of the witch Sixx. Kyana is rude to Sixx for pretty much no reason — other than that she’s attractive and dating Kyana’s ex — but then is perfectly willing to use Sixx when she needs something from her. It’s annoying.

Finally, Bedeviled just feels like it needs more fleshing out. Things kept being mentioned that might have added depth to the story if they were explored further. Kyana gets a new set of sidekicks as a part of her Artemis powers; they perform one mission for her and then vanish from the story, not to be mentioned again. Kyana notes that she knows some of the Order members who die in a battle, but doesn’t expand upon who they are or even think of them ever again, so the impact of their deaths is lost. Settings are described so sparely that at times it felt like the action was taking place against a green screen.

Again, the Sable Grace duo provides plenty of plot movement, and so far I plan to keep reading the series because I’m interested in where this post-apocalyptic-Greek-gods scenario is headed. However, the series will need some fine-tuning if it is to continue to hold my interest.

Dark Breed — (2011-2012) Before the Fall is a novella. Publisher: The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed — vampyre, demons, shape shifters — and mankind fight their last battle for survival. Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen… And the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission — to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity — Kyana has no choice but to accept. She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort… Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both…

urban fantasy book reviews Sable Grace Dark Breed 1. AscensionBefore the FallBedeviledChosen


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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