**WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS**
This one was totally refreshing when I worried the series might be starting to get a little tired, and offered something different/extra in the telling of it. I’ll admit, throughout around 60% of the italic chapters (those set in Darius’s past), I wondered over the relevence of them and really wished to get back to the here and now sooner and to just get on with it already. But when it finally clicked what the italics were all about, I started to understand the comments from Tohr about how JM and Xhex were so right for each other, and realised just how well woven JM’s & Xhex’s story really was.
The only thing that really bugged me in the story was those little chapters set in that hotel. Yes, they led toward a thread being tied, but it was a thread that didn’t really need tying–one the reader wouldn’t really have cared about if it had been left dangling. They kept taking the reader away from the true story when they didn’t really need to. I can only assume that Ward has every intention of revisiting Murdher (sp?) in the future, otherwise there would have been even less point in her including those snippets.
I loved the transformation in JM’s character throughout this. After he’d been left high and … well, wet by Xhex’s sex session and gone off the rails a little with his drinking and souless romping, I’ll admit to being a little mad at him for not showing enough spine. But he definitely grew up in this one, and I liked him a LOT by the end. I also loved how he allowed Xhex the end game–though I’m not convinced Lash (dude, he was gross in this!!!!) is gone for good; something tells me he’ll pop back up in another novel due to only being stabbed.
And off on a tangent: Bless Quinn. I know he’s been a selfish (though secretly and inadvertently selfless) arse, and that he’s been whipping it around whilst poor old Blay has been forced to endure his comely needs, but damn he tugs at your heartstrings now he’s finally realising what he’s been refusing to confront all along. And man, I just want to hug him. Which leaves me a little concerned as, after reading snippets on threads here, it would appear no resolution is in the near-future pipelines for the duo and I really didn’t like Saxton enough for him to make me wonder if they should just accept how everything is. Not sure if it’s because I feel so sorry for Quinn, but Saxton makes me shudder with his pompous and come-on convo he has going on all the while. Or maybe I’m just not into a smooth talker? Dunno. Put the boys out of their misery, that’s what I say.
There’s a definite pattern in the books now, whereas the reader can predict who will front the next book by the not-so-subtle intro of the character into the spotlight right at the end of each book. Not too sure how I’m going to feel about Payne. Can’t say I’ve enjoyed her character so far so only reading the darn thing will tell.
Anyway, that’s already way more of my waffle than anyone should ever have to put up with. I really enjoyed this one. I wasn’t sure I’d continue after Brother Mine, but now I definitely will.