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Showing 1-10 of 53 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 73 reviews
on March 19, 2012
As a hard-won fan of the series, this review is very difficult for me to write, as I didn't enjoy this book as much as the others.

But as I am an aspiring writer myself, I've become a huge supporter of frank, constructive criticism. That said, I'll try to be as succinct as possible - and not too much of an insensitive jerk.

I had two major problems with Doubletake.

The first problem isn't with the bond between Cal and Niko, or their relationships with Robin or Promise - that remains pretty much the same. The problem is the story. The plot takes a lot of interesting turns in this book, and unfortunately a lot of them are fairly pointless. For instance, in one chapter, Robin hires Cal and Niko to work as bouncers while his entire race comes together to decide which of them will reproduce. You would think that a great gathering of the Pucks, the oldest and most devious race of tricksters on the planet, would play an important role in the story. Not so much. It pretty much just turns out to be a giant, disgusting orgy that goes on way too long and described with way too much detail. And after the important gathering/orgy is over with, that's it. Nothing. There's no intrigue - no pucks plotting against one another. No thousand-year-old grudges get settled. Nothing. We got a few tidbits about Robin's past, but nothing else.

And that's just one example. I would expect to encounter things like that in well-written (but ultimately misguided) fan fiction, not from the real author!

The second problem was the villain. Of course, as per usual, there is more than one bad guy for the brother's to tackle, but there is always a Big Bad. In this book, it's a man called Grimm. He's pretty much exactly like Caliban but in the all the worse ways. Kind of like Professor Moriarty - all of Sherlock Holmes' abilities, with none of his morality.

The very idea of Grimm makes my spine tingle with anticipation. Finally! Someone that can really challenge Caliban! None of that crap where Cal just makes a gate and boom - bad guy dead. Unfortunately, Grimm is pretty harmless. We get to hear about all the people's he's killed and eaten and whatnot, but we don't really get to see it. I'm sure all of the horrid experiences he describes are true, but talk is just that: talk. I want action. Show me that he's a bad mofo - don't just tell me. Add that to the fact that because his master plan for world domination relies partly on Caliban's participation, thereby keeping him from causing any serious harm to Cal or his friends....like I said, harmless. Virtually every scene they share together is him making big threats and then being unable to follow up on them while Cal kicks his butt at every opportunity. You can't bring Moriarty into the story and then tell him he has to follow certain rules.

That's pretty much where my complaints end. There are some other annoyances, one of them being TOLD about a semi-important character's demise at the hands of Grimm. And Delilah's absence.

All in all, I'd say I am not mad that I read it, but I'm certainly not satisfied either. There was a lot I could have done without *cough* orgy *cough*, and there was even more I really wanted to see but didn't. If you're a fan of the series, there are a few important plot developments you'll want to be aware of in Doubletake, and plus it's always fun to listen to Cal, Niko, and Robin joke and banter with each other while facing certain death. And also, we get an extremely small hint of another romantic candidate for Cal - God knows he needs one.

If you're new to the series, don't start with this book. Ideally, you would start with Nightlife, the first book in the Cal Leandros series, but if you're on the fence about it, I'd recommend starting with Blackout first. It's the strongest book in the series to date. You know...in my opinion.
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on December 8, 2016
So far this is my least favorite story in the series. The problem is not the action, tons, the writing, excellent, but rather the redundancy of villains and recycled plot line, plus the immensely gaping plot holes. There are spoilers below this point, just a warning.

It seems the author regrets doing away with her main villains, the Auphe, and decides Auphe v.2 is the only fix. So having the evil doppelganger of Cal escape lifelong tortured captivity, go to school to become as smart as Niko, travel about the country learning from and killing many teachers (including Cal's lost love), establish a huge underground lair, capture fifty brood mare succubae, breed over a thousand super-Auphe, somehow single-handedly supply food and necessities to said lair/population, all while keeping a close eye on Cal and learning all of he and his associates weaknesses, all in twelve years, is a wee stretch on immersion in the narrative.

For a series that makes a point of repeatedly saying there is no such thing as magic, this activity is impossible without some serious hocus pocus. I would get caught up in the action and plot twists, only to be jarred out of it by the timeline and impossibilities of the accomplishments of the big villain. I understand he had to be pretty bad-arse to one up all of the past ones in the series, but come on. Don't claim to be plausible and then throw more and more evil successes onto a bad guy that is portrayed most often as a lurker and introspective devil than a guy who would be spending 28 hours a day hauling food and supplies to his lair. Not to mention where does he find the time to continuously rape his brood mares to make the Bae?

At least make my fantasy reading follow some kind of rules.
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on March 7, 2012
Other reviewers have given a good overview of the storyline so I won't repeat that here. Learned more about Cal and Niko's childhood and there was definite character growth for Cal in this book. What I have some issues with, though, is I found a lot of repetitive material in the story and I didn't much care for the description of activities at the Puck reunion and felt the Grimm internal dialogue was too lengthy and also seemed to say the same thing over and over. The overall story was excellent but felt the book needed some additional editing as the story seemed to really bog down at times. This is the first Rob Thurman book that had these problems so hope the next one is back to her usual level of excellence.
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on July 22, 2012
In Doubletake Cal is as pessimistic (though I prefer realistic) and cynical as ever and he's dealing with the change from the last book where his Auphe side is more a part of him rather than being a separate piece inside of him. It also means he appears to have more control over his urges to let loose and unleash death and destruction if he thinks someone deserves it. It doesn't mean he has those urges any less though, and if he does end up taking someone out, it definitely means the end is going to be a lot more slow and painful than before.

Right out of the gate Robin has a job for Cal and Niko. It's helping out with his family reunion, and a bunch of pucks in one place means New York City is pretty much clearing out of all other supernatural beings who don't want to get caught in the middle of that party. I thought this would be a bigger part of the story, but it wasn't, though we do learn more about Robin and his twisted family tree.

Speaking of twisted family trees, Niko's dad shows up and wants his help in going after the burden that their clan is saddled with. Cal always thought it was him, but it appears to be some huge, metal, unstoppable monster. In keeping with the family tree theme, what they don't know is that what's behind the metallic monster from hell is one of Cal's relatives, another hybrid he didn't know existed.

I really liked this book. It may not have been as exciting or adrenaline filled as some of the others, but I liked the storyline with Niko's father and, while I'm a little sick of the Auphe and Auphe hybrids, if they had to be in it again, this way was pretty good. I do wish that Thurman would have had a chapter or two from Niko's POV (or will again in a future book). There was another thing that Thurman threw in that I freaking loved and got me really interested. I was pretty pissed when nothing else was mentioned about it and it damn well better show up in the next book! I haven't been a fan of the females in this series, I can't stand Promise and don't know what Niko sees in her. She's done stuff she knows he'd hate (I don't think he's even aware of the last thing she did, if I remember correctly, she would've let Cal die in the last book, if it had meant protecting Niko; not her call to make, in my opinion) and I just can't warm up to her. Georgiana was a freaking wimp who I wanted to bitch slap and Delilah is just a selfish, back stabbing bitch. Having said thaaat, *******slight spoiler*******the scenes from the latest hybrid's memories might make me rethink that bit about Georgiana. I just can't believe she dropped those bits in with no mention of them or what the hell she's up to! *******end of spoiler*******

As usual, the relationship between Cal and Niko is great, there's a lot of action (I kept thinking how the hell are they gonna stop this thing?!) and I'm, again as usual, looking forward to the next book in the series.
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I guess after six awesome books in a series, it's not unexpected to come across one that's just not awesome. I usually devour a Cal Leandros book in a day, maybe two if I have work. This time I was able to put the book down several times over the course of a week because it lacked the energy and suspense previous books had. I agree with another reviewer that this installment felt like a bridge book, setting up the next installment.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the book. I love how Cal has finally accepted himself and we're seeing the results of that decision. I also enjoy seeing just how deadly and skilled he is. Before, it never quite gelled why all the supernaturals are afraid of him; sure, he killed, but no more than Niko who got a lot of glory for being such a skilled human. Plus, the revelations about Robin/pucks were welcome; it was good to see that character getting more three dimensional. And, per usual, the humor and dialog were top notch and had me laughing out loud several times. Plus, we do get a very brief mention of Trixa - perhaps a crossover might be coming? I think the issue for me was the promise of a great villain that got pushed to another book, while "the Panic" ended up being just one unconnected event in the story.

Grimm has the potential to be a fantastic Big Bag, and I can even see how such a character (like the Auphe) would need more than one book to resolve. I love Wyatt Knight's analogy of this being like Holmes and Moriarty. Only, Grimm spent most of the book running an internal monologue about how twisted he is, how much a killer, blah, blah, while being not much more than a boogeyman to Cal. I came to dread the italicized text that signaled Grimm was going to yack at me for a while. He got boring very quickly. On the other hand, all the build-up about the gathering of pucks was over in a few chapters. This left chasing/running from a giant robot as the remaining plot, and it just wasn't enough to build the book around.

Overall, I felt this was the weakest entry in the series, but still a worthwhile read. I won't be abandoning the series anytime soon, and if Grimm gets ramped up in the next book, it will be explosive. Recommended.
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on September 3, 2013
Likes this one a lot.

Cal finds that there is another Auphe out there. A half Auphe like him. This one, Grimm, by name is older and can gate like hell. He also likes to kill.

Cal is limited in his gating. He can only gate twice. The third time will damned near kill him.

We also have Nik's Father, Kalakos, showing up.

Kalakos is trying to get Nik and Cal to help him round up Janos.

Janos is an automoton that the Vayash clan was supposed to be safeguarding. A sacred trust that has gone awry. Neither Nik nor Cal are interested in helping Kalakos do anything. In fact Cal has all he can do not to kill the SOB. This is the man who left Nik with his insane Mother.

Kalakos is also trying to gain some acceptance from Nik. Way to late and Nik could give a crap about this man who is his Father.

Janos is damned near indistructable and almost kills Cal. Seems Janos will kill anyone with Vayash blood. Nik, Cal, Kalakos and the whole damned clan if he can find them.

A badly wounded Cal is healed by Kalakos. He used some ancient salve that was made by Suyolak. Anyone who has read the previous books knows who he was.

Grimm wants Cal to assist him with creating offspring. He's using unwilling female sucubae and they are creating litters of his young. They are one quarter Auphe and can gate.

Cal has no problem killing these youngsters but he's at a huge disadvantage with Grimm. He can only gate twice and gating will be the winner in the game he and Grimm are playing. A game in which the winner will survive.

A great twist at the end of this one. Just a great read.

Five stars.
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on December 27, 2013
I have followed these two through, and am currently reading the last book. I've read them all in a little over two weeks. I have never loved characters they way I have taken to these two, and yes, even the puck. I've laughed, cried, and laughed again. These book are fantastically written, the characters so real you can't shake them even when not reading the books. Rob, you are my new favorite writer of all times. Please don't ever stop, you know Cal wouldn't, and neither would Niko.
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on April 2, 2012
This isn't the first review I've done for the Cal Leandros series; nor is it the second. It's actually the third, and if it's true what they say about three times being the charm, then that's exactly what reading DOUBLETAKE was for me. Yeah, yeah, I know there have been more than 3 books, and technically this is the 7th in the series, but I can't help but feel that this is more special than the others. Why? Because this is the one that Rob Thurman got just right...it's like all the previous books in this series were just warm-ups for this one, and I enjoyed every single one of those.

The book questions the concept of "family ties" fairly strongly, and Thurman delves deep into all of the emotional complexities that go along with it. For Niko, it's his long-lost birth father; for Cal, it's a previously unknown Auphe "brother" with dreams of world domination on his psychotic little mind; and poor Robin? Well, he's got it rougher than the other two combined - for him it's time for the Puck Family Reunion! YIKES! Throw in an ancient and murderous battle droid (which was allegedly created by Hephaestus himself), and you know you're in for one wild ride!

Fortunately, Cal, Niko and Robin are at their very best when things are at their very worst. And when all hell breaks loose they know that the only family ties that really matter are the ones they've built with each other.

The relationship between the brothers and their ancient, Puck friend Robin (THE HOLY TRINITY, as the author herself likes to call them), has always been what keeps me coming back to this series. Rob Thurman has mostly done a wonderful job depicting that, but sometimes, in earlier stories, I've found myself disappointed with her portrayal of Robin Goodfellow in particular. I've frequently felt that he was used more as the "guest star" comic relief than as the loyal and valued friend and ally of the brothers that I've always believed him to be. He really is part of Cal and Niko's little "family," and with this story you feel it and believe it - just like they do.

This is a truly fun and entertaining read and I really couldn't recommend it more. So do yourselves a favor and BUY THIS BOOK!
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I finally finished Doubletake: A Cal Leandros Novel (Cal and Niko) and while it was good, it seems that it also is another in a string of books over the last year that are setting up the next book. There were 2 main plots in this book (3 if you count the constant introspection) and they solved 1 of them, made some progress on the "who/what am I' theme and a big one they pushed into a future book. This kinda has the feel of a buildup to a finale possibly and it may be time, the series is great but you can only do really dark monster killers with all the angst thrown in and character growth that has finally about got to where it should be and since she writes one or two other series I think this one could have a great ending in another 2-3 books, we shall see, I loved it but leaving open issues sometimes leaves you feeling like you lost part of the book :) A solid 4 Star reading for those like me that love the series and if you don't you would never have gotten this far and read this book, it is not a stand alone in any sense of the word.
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on July 9, 2012
For the Leandros brothers, Cal and Niko have been all the family they have needed to be to each other since they were children. Only recently have they partially, cautiously let others into their circle: Robin Goodfellow and Promise mainly. In "Doubletake" other "family members" crash into their lives without notice: Kalakos, Niko's long-lost and unlamented father, and Grimm, Cal's previously unknown half-Auphe "brother." Even Robin Goodfellow has a frustratingly brief bout with dozens of "brothers" as all the Pucks descend on New York for a periodic "family reunion" of sorts. (This potentially interesting story line is mainly used as an excuse for Puck porn.) Grimm, who should be the most fascinating new character as he is apparently equal or superior to Cal in Auphe powers, is almost boring in his internal monologues and game-playing threats. Kalakos initially appears boring as well as he is dragged along on Cal and Niko's attempts to survive Grimm and the robot-monster Janus, but has a surprise for them in the climax fight. (The family theme even extends to Mama Boggle and her boglets in a surprisingly touching scene.)

The best surprise, however, is mention of Georgina, Cal's long lost clairvoyant love of the first two books. She appears only in another character's recollection and we see what happened...what might have happened...what possibly could happen...to her. Georgina's short section raises exciting possibilities for the next book. Georgina so far has been maddeningly fatalistic about the future and its ability to be altered, but perhaps that has...might...will...change, and Georgina might develop a backbone and rage against fate. One can hope. The Leandros world might have the ability to not only rip space (gating) but time as well...
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