Seriously, I bought so many books during the holidays that I really didn't plan to buy more. However, I came accross the cover of Blood Lines on the Dear Author blog in one of the interview with an editor; Cindy Hwang from Berkley. It was asked which books she was anticipating for the year 2007 and Blood Lines by Eileen Wilks was one of them. I thought the cover was quite nice, but that was it, as I've never read anything by Ms. Wilks. Then, when I went to buy Hot Spell, I saw the book and decided to buy it :P I knew it was part of a series, so I hunted down the previous books as well and this is pretty much what I've been reading last week. Since I've read the three books of this series back-to-back, it makes sense that I review them in one post.
The World of Lupi series by Eileen Wilks
In this world, lupi/werewolves have revealed their existence and now co-habit with humans. In the past, lupi had to be registered, i.e. that they had their registration no. tattoed on their face and were injected products that stopped their changes. Nowadays, they now have legal status (when they are on two-feet); however, bad habits are hard to break and there are a lot of prejudices and cops still have reflexes to fire and kill wolves when they see one. There are also many more "paranormal" beings such as sorcerers, witches, demons and also humans with psychic powers called Gifts.
Lily Yu, the heroine, is 28 y.o. and a cop. She's a sensitive, which is a rare Gift, and her ability allows her to read/feel magic and gives her an immunity to magic. Thus, with a touch, she can tells who's a werewolf, who's a witch and so on. She is a middle child with two sisters, one younger and one older. Both her parents are still alive and so is her paternal grandmother, Li Lei Yu/Madam Yu, someone important in the books. A traumatic event in her childhood pushed her to become a cop; however, by the end of Tempting Danger, she will become a FBI agent with the Magic Department, investigating murders caused by magic. The main male character is Rule Turner, a werewolf and Lu Nuncio of the Nokolai Clan, i.e. the heir of his clan. He spends a lot of time outside of the clan - in the city - and is very high profile due to his heir status that the gossip papers equal to Prince. He is in charge of the clan's finances and responding challenges and so on. His father is the Rho, leader, and Turner has two older brothers, Benedict and Mick, as well as a son, Toby.
In this world, only males can become lupi and they have extended lifespan and have the ability to heal. However, due to their magic, it seems that werewolves are almost sterile (i.e. their chance to have kids is decreased). Lupi also revere the Lady, their goddess, who among other tasks, choose the werewolve's mate, the Chosen, and link them with a bond mate. However, not every lupus has a Chosen and thus, they are very precious.
Tempting Danger: 4/5
Tempting Danger pretty much sets the series. It introduces most of the characters, Lily, Rule, Cullen - Rule's friend and a clanless werewolf who's also a sorcerer although sorcery is illegal, as well as Lily and Rule's family along with some other secondary characters. Through the entire book, Ms. Wilks slowly builds her world, develops her characters while telling a story.
Story - A human is killed by a werewolf and Lily is primary investigator of the case. Everything points at Rule, but with her Gift, Lily easily determines that he is being framed. Rule quickly realizes that Lily is his Chosen and offers his help for the case in an effort to keep her close. Quickly, both realize that someone wants to destroy the Nokolai clan and at the same time, the werewolves and other species. They are targeting the Nokolai clan because the Rho supports some sort of bill that would give legal status to all paranormal species along with rights and other thing. They also figure out that the master mind behind the framing is an Old One, a goddess trapped in another realm and trying to come to their world. Under the goddess are a telepath and a cult leader that cause many problems.
Opinion - I like this book a lot. Sure, it's the introduction and it's quite interesting. This world is not too different then ours except for the paranormal beings... it's also not too different from other worlds from other series; however, you clearly see that lupi and humans are still not equal. The story is complex and keep the reading readings, the interactions and relationship bewteen Rule and Lily are enjoyable. Perhaps there wasn't enough on secondary characters, but it's understandable after all, Rule and Lily are the focus.
Mortal Danger : 3.5/5
Story - In this book, Lily has made the switch and has become a FBI agent and has accepted her bond to Rule; although there are still a lot to learn about each other. As for Rule, he can't help it being protective, although Lily is very independent and wish they would live together.
As for the story, well in this one, Lily, Rule and Cullen are after the cult leader from Book 1 and the staff he stole. The lupi want to destroy the staff while the FBI wants to keep it and study it, which adds complications to Lily and Rule's relationship. In addition, there is a demon that wants to possess Lily, because she's sensitive. However, all is tossed aside when Lily is splitted in half, one remains in their world with her memories, but without her Gift while the other is sent to Hell/Dis along with Rule in his wolf shape with her Gift but without her memories...
Opinion - Hmm, this book is a nice continuation of the other and the difficulties in Rule and Lily's relationship does make sense, since there's been so little time between the two books. However, I felt that it was too soon to have so much issues. As for the story, well it was a bit confusing and I didn't really care for the parts of Lily and Rule in Hell. However, I was happy that there was more of Cullen and there's also the introduction of Cynna, a fellow FBI agent that has been with Rule about 10 years ago and also knows demon magic. However, the book wasn't as good as the first one in my opinion.
Blood Lines: 3/5
Blood Lines is the third book of the series... It continues the story almost where it left off. Now, Lily and Rule are at Quantico for Lily's training and it's almost the holidays. There are still some issues between Lily and Rule; Lily does not remember their time in Hell and wonder if Rule misses the other Lily while Rule has been poisoned by demon poison and as a symptom, suffers from some loss of memories. In addition, because he spent so much time in his wolf form in Hell, his inner wolf has a stronger presence in him and is harder to control. You add all these to the story and you get something ultra complex. I can't really summarize the story, because I didn't pay that much attention to it, but it involves Jiri, Cynna's demon master and some sort of plot again.
Opinion - Hum, okay this book was pretty much a bummer to me. I think because I bought the three books at once and read one after the other, I was more interested in Lily and Rule's relationship than the plot; so I pretty much skimmed all the actions that didn't have to do with the romance ^^; Nonetheless, I thought that the story was way complex and confusing and I think Ms. Wilks is losing the right balance between romance and suspense. I know that because this is a paranormal book, Ms. Wilks can explore many more possibilities and elaborate some nice plot and storyline, but it's becoming way too confusing. Maybe something simpler would be better.
A side note, this is the nicest cover of the series :D The character is Cynna.
Overall opinion on the series:
When I first read the series, I couldn't stop thinking that this was a bit similar to the In Death series by Nora Roberts; instead of being futuristic, it was paranormal. I mean, Lily is a cop/FBI agent, she's tough and fighty, she went through a traumatic event during her childhood and in the books, they solve case... Rule doesn't resemble Roarke too much, but there are still a lot of similarities between the two series. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I doubt, but it was a good premise. The first book was really interesting and I really enjoyed it and as the number of books progress, the enjoyment decreased. First, my main problem is that there's very little time between the three books. I think the timeline for all 3 books is about 4-5 months which is really short. It would have been nice to let the characters breath, not have one adventure happening after another. Also let the characters get acquainted and fall into some routine. My other problem is that Ms. Wilks is trying to hard with Lily and Rule's relationship. Yes, this is a series and so Lily and Rule will have a long term relationship and they'll have issues... but that doesn't mean necessarily now. It is true that Lily and Rule don't know each other that well and this is something that should have been going off-book. My problem is that Ms. Wilks seems to be putting too many obstacles and issues between them and it's killing their chemistry. We need more romantic moments - not sex - to know that they are really in love with each other and it has more to do than with the mate bond and this is something that Ms. Wilks fails to do. Yes, they do hug and kiss each other and draw comfort from each other, but it seems that the comfort they get is due to the bond mate. Not enough to me. Also issues and problems keep arising and it makes me wonder if they'll stick together, if they're really made for each other. Simply, it's killing their chemistry. So it'd be nice if in the next book, they could just enjoy and be happy. Finally, as I said for Blood Lines, maybe making plots less complex will help too. I mean, so much is happening and balance between romance and action is slipping fast.
The next book will be Night Season coming out in March 2008 and will focus on Cynna and Cullen. Although not my favorite couple (I like Cullen, but am not sold on Cynna yet), I'm ready to give it a try. I'd have preferred if it was about Rule and Lily, because I think their relationship is still not solid enough, but what can I do? After Night Season, I'll decide if I'll want to continue the series or not? But right now, I won't be awaiting Night Season as eagerly as if I was waiting for a book from The Women of the Otherworld series or from the FBI SCU series.