Tempting Danger (2004)
Tempting Danger (2004)
This is a very interesting book. The world is not quite our own, as magical creatures exist openly–although not always legally–and at some point in the past there was all but open warfare between humans and magical/gifted creatures. That is pretty much as one would expect for a paranormal/supernatural thriller. What is different is this is also a police procedural where the police officer remains concerned with following the law and procedure and the chain of command and rule of evidence.
Of course this is also a paranormal romance, so there is a lot of boinking. What was nice was that the sexual tension/romance was actually part of the plot, so there was a reason for it. (Yes, I still don’t much care for boinking in my books. Sue me.)
The characters were also interestingly done. We slowly learn about Rule and Lily, and we learn about their pasts as they learn about each other. And although we learn much about them, there is a great deal we don’t learn or don’t yet know. Sometimes this can be frustrating, but it seems as if she has built a very complex world, so it makes a great deal of sense that there is much about the world and Lily and Rule we have yet to discover, and having us discover those things at the same time as Lily and Rule due is a good way of parceling out the information.
There were some things I didn’t like. There was of course more boinking than I like, but that’s a matter of personal taste. The plot was a bit jerky in places–we’re given a sense of urgency in one point of view, but that urgency is not necessarily shared when we shift to another point of view.
Overall it was a strong story. The pacing was fast and the plot drew me in quickly. I may have had some qualms, but did enjoy Tempting Danger, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys supernatural fantasy and isn’t put off by boinking.
Wow. Talk about a mixed bag. I read and thoroughly enjoyed the first two stories. I started the last two and thought, “meh.” But then realized that to review the book I had to finish all four stories.
I should have trusted my first instincts and just reviewed the first two stories leaving the last two unread.
The anthology opens with Patricia Brigg’s story Alpha and Omega. This is the prequel to her book Cry Wolf, which I read earlier (not realizing this story was in fact a prequel to it). If you’ve read her Mercy Thompson series, then you’re already familiar with Charles. But if you haven’t read the Mercy series (which really, you should) it won’t matter, because the main character is Anna, a young werewolf who has been terribly abused by her pack. A call to the Marrok brings Charles to town, to look into the problems with her Chicago area pack.
This story is the reason I picked up the anthology in the first place. I really like Patricia Brigg’s storytelling and characters. Why did it take me so long to read this anthology? Who can understand why my brain works the way it does, but this story was worth the cost of the anthology.
Anna has been physically beaten down, yet despite everything, her spirit has not yet be broken. But not for a lack for trying.
What I found particularly fascinating was what we discovered to be the eventual reason for the situation in Chicago. Some things cannot be forgiven, but sometimes they can be understood. She did a very good job of that with this story.
Although this story is a prequel to Cry Wolf, everything is resolved, and you do not need any prior knowledge of any other characters to enjoy the tale. Very good and very enjoyable.
The second story was Inhuman, Eileen Wilks. Kai isn’t human, and knows her neighbor isn’t truly human either, but both have secrets about their identity that could cause them plenty of trouble, because although magic known to exist, full humans are not particularly accepting of those with magical powers, and being stranger than the already strange can get both of them in a lot of trouble.
This was also a very well done story. We are introduced to the characters and to the world they inhabit, which is not precisely our world. So excellent world building and character building, all in a short story. I also liked the twists at the end. I’d consider reading another story about these characters, although I’m not sure that there’s necessarily one there, she did such a good job with this story.
There is romance and boinking, but it follows the natural course of the story, so I didn’t mind.
The last two stories in the anthology, on the other hand, I am sorry I bothered to read. Karen Chance’s story Buying Trouble can all but be summed up in yesterday’s twitter: “Magical boinking and a plot where I felt I was missing 3/4 of the story.” Yeah, that’s right. Magical boinking. The plot ranged all over, was hard to get a grip on, and never quite made sense. Why did these people/creatures live this way? How do they move back and forth between earth and the magical realm? Why would Claire remain in touch with the magical world, since no good ever came from her nature? Why didn’t Clarie just go somewhere she wouldn’t be recognized for what she was? And WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THE MAGICAL BOINKING?! I could have lived without a story where one of the partners transforms into a reptile during sex. Ugh.
But the last story was Sunny’s story Mona Lisa Betwining. There was not plot as far as I could tell, just random excuses for lots and lots and lots of boinking. Why do they boink? Because they can apparently. Oh, and she has to boink or bad things will happen. Good grief. Give me a break.
This was a story very obviously set in an a preexisting world with preexisting characters. Without that background the story made almost no sense and I could not have cared less about the characters. As far as I could tell, the only point of the story was to fit as much boinking as possible into sixty pages, just for the sake of boinking.
So I recommend On the Prowl with reservations. The first two stories are very good. The fourth was little else but boinking, and the third story was a simply mess. With magical boinking. I’d say get it for the first two stories, and then pretend that the last two stories are part of some other anthology entirely and completely unrelated to the first two stories.