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Beast in Me (The Divination Falls Trilogy) (Volume 2) Paperback – August 19, 2013
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What I mean is that Mrs. Marsden uses heavily evocative language to create artificially poignant responses in the reader. I call it artificial because the plot didn't allow for the characters to develop the feelings the reader is told they suddenly have for one another. But contradictorily, we're hit with some lovely imagery that if placed within a more thoroughly and patiently established story could have made for a gripping read.
This is a serious case insta-lust, moving to instant 'I want to support and heal him' as step one of insta-love. It's that second one that really drives me crazy. Insta-lust I can handle. Insta-love I don't like, but I've learned to accept. (They're shifters after all.) But the whole idea of instantly knowing, trusting, and seeking to meaningfully support another is just too much for me and my distaste for sappy hearts and flowers in general. It's wholly unsupportable in a plot.
Seriously, this instant connection between the two starts before the two men have even seen eachother's faces. It's so abrupt that that the book just feels like a listing of emotions, events and sexual positions with no real story attached.
What's more, the weak attempt to provide a mystery as a plot was essentially a failure. Seeing Cameron go around and listen to everyone's stories, when the information could have just been recapped for him, felt like filler. Then he suddenly and almost miraculously knew what to do, with no evidence of an impetuous to his sudden insight. Isn't that convenient for him?
Add to that so much sex that it actually started to feel redundant and I'm bound to lose interest. (And for the record, I love me some smexy yum-yum. But too much is too much.)
Lastly, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but the whole thing kind of had a bit of a YA feel to it. Cameron went around and met a variety of different shifter and a lot of time (that the book really couldn't afford to dedicate to such distractions) was spent describing them and their quirks. It gave the whole thing a bit of a Hogwarts/Harry Potter-like feel. By which I mean a 'lets go see some strange and marvellous mythological creatures just for the amazement factor.' It didn't contribute anything to the story and IMO detracted from the already lagging attempt at a plot.
Additionally, Cameron's tendency to just say anything with no filter and to space out easily and repeatedly, gave him a childlike quality. When paired with the litany of fairytale beasts I'm reminded of young adult (or even middle grade) literature...except for the sex, of course. Lots and lots of sex. It wasn't a successful combination for me.
Final thought...Ms. Marsen can write. She proved that more book one of the series than here, but she's proven it. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm a huge fan of what she writes, or rather the relationships she chooses to create. (This is another completely inflexible top/bottom, dominant/submissive pairing, for example.)To each their own, of course, but it's not topping any of my favourites lists.
This time around, she brings us a weather worker, which is a seriously cool concept that I've never read about before. Cameron gets thrust into Divination Falls with a loud crack of thunder and serious case of electric shock - right into the arms of moody, brooding wolf Trace, who's great at pushing everyone away. Cameron's used to that, in fact, it's his modus operandi as well. Until now.
Secrets in both their pasts hold them back from each other at first, until a crisis in the town pulls them together rather suddenly, proving in true Sommer fashion that love can strike like a bolt out of the blue. (Pardon the pun).
I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of a weather worker. Like shifters, it's new to me in the world of paranormal romance. Cameron and Trace's interactions are shaky at the start, as Cameron meets the wolf for the first time in a rather unusual, risque way. Trace is gruff and abrupt, but that icy exterior quickly melts.
It's reminiscent of her first book in several ways, but it's a good thing. It shows continuity, with Tryg, Luke and a few others from the first book making an appearance. Sommer's imagination makes a heck of an appearance here - and me thinks me senses a bit of a Doctor Who inspiration in there somewhere. But you'll have to know what to look for.
As for the sex, well, again, in true SM fashion - it's hot. And sexy. And tender. And lovely. At risk of repeating myself, this woman knows how to write sex, and she does it so well, it's like it's fresh and new every time.
Book three is coming right up.
The ideas are there and are good, characters are potentially likeable but writing is painfully disjointed. Paragraphs do not flow into the next, every transition is rough.
Narrative tension is fleeting if not entirely absent, feelings are clumsily overdescribed, the love between the leads is unconvincing.
A thorough revision might be in order.
I look forward to more books in this series.