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Stars: 4 out of 5.
This series if finally finding its stride. The first book was lukewarm, and the second book was okay, but still lacked something, but this book really hit it out of the ballpark.
I think the biggest reason why this book worked for me so well is that the will they won’t day tension between Mac and Ian is finally resolved. I honestly like them a lot more as partners, friends, as well as brother-sister relationship. They work so much better as characters and as partners like that. Plus, that leaves Mac free to explore her relationship with Rake, however strange and undefined it is. As someone who abhors love triangles in my books, I am a much happier reader now.
As for the story, it picks up almost immediately after the events of the last book, so tensions are running high. They defeated the mad dragon, but someone else had orchestrated all of this, and that someone got away. And now a new drug is hitting the streets that indicates that somebody has a direct line to Hell. What can go wrong with that?
I love the progression of Mac’s character so far. She gained a lot of confidence in her abilities in the last two books, but she also gained a lot more confidence in herself and her place in the SPI. I like that she understands that she will never be a badass commando, that no matter how much she trains with Ian in hand to hand combat and shooting guns, she will loose a fight if she doesn’t fight smart. And the smartest thing she can do is back away and let Ian and other commandos fight the battles for her. Though I must admit that she really did hold her own when that squid demon tried to drag her into the portal to Hell.
Mac is smart and has a good sense of humor, and it really shines now that she finally found her self-confidence. I love the commentary she has in her head about the events. She always tries to find a silver lining, even when horrible things happen around her, like finding a dozen demon hatchlings under her bed, who would have eater her alive if she hadn’t been careful.
Heck, I even like the slow circling Mac and Rake do around each other, with Mac not sure of Rake’s motives, and very aware of the reputation for deceit that goblins have. Despite that, I think they form a dynamic duo that is rather fun to watch.
I also love how the author throws hints about plotlines that will come to the forefront in consequent books. Like the mention of the ghoul that killed Ian’s partner. It seems to have been lurking in the background since book 1. I am definitely picking up the next book in the series, because I want to know what happens to our SPI agents.