They say you can’t judge a book by its cover and that is true, but I’ll be honest and tell you that the cover drew me to this book when I first saw it. It reminded me of Underworld and when I read the blurb, I could see the heroine, Ayden, in something like that Kate Beckinsdale role. So I gave it a go.
It didn’t feel like Underworld exactly, but that is a good thing. It’s its own story, but there were some common threads –enough that I got what I was looking for.
Ayden is a death-dealer of sorts. She is on a mission to kill every Lycan she can find, and she uses her super-human abilities to do it. She’s not a vampire or a shifter, but an Alexi, a super-soldier created with the anti-bodies to the Lycan virus. Her deadly purpose is fueled by a Lycan attack that killed her family and nearly ended her life. She doesn’t really remember much of the life she lost –only her last moments– a side effect of her change. But that only allows her focus to stay singular. It’s only about killing the beasts.
She is a client of the Wrath brothers, demon siblings who carry out vengeance contracts. In fact, they are almost like family, since she nearly settled down with their leader, Gavin. Not only do they help her fight demons, but protect her from the Alexi group she abandoned, and who now want her back.
Anyway, Ayden is on a killing spree when she stumbles on Kane, a human who has just been bitten by a Lycan. Since his transformation is inevitable, she moves to kill him, only to be assaulted by memories when she touches him. She is intrigued and decides to give him a stay of execution while she investigates the phenomenon. She takes him prisoner to the Wrath home. Suffice it to say that Kane is the hero and the prisoner dynamic doesn’t last, and an unlikely connection forms between Ayden and Kane.
I had a lot of trouble with Ayden in the first third of the book. She is an unreasonable bitch. She is horrible to Kane. Yes, I know how she feels about Lycans, but he was a victim and the way she treated him made me want to kick her in the face. I actively disliked her, while poor Kane was almost too good to be true. Despite the fact that he is changing into a Lycan, he holds on to his humanity, and faces his impending death with dignity and acceptance. I had trouble relating to them both. And when their relationship dynamic changed, it felt abrupt.
However, once they did give into their attraction, I got really into the book. By then, I finally understood the relationship between Gavin and Ayden. (I was confused a little by the push and pull between them when I knew a romance was brewing with different hero.) I was starting to get to know the Wrath brothers. And hello, the sexy times were amazing.
I liked the world that Keri Lake has created here and the foundation she has set for the series. I like that she doesn’t always go for the obvious… like the first book in the Wrath brothers series does not actually use one of the brothers as a hero. Though it confused me a little at first, I liked that Gavin, an obvious future hero, was hung up on Ayden. I liked that I didn’t guess how the plot would play out, that I wasn’t always sure who was a bad guy, who was a good guy, or who will end up with who. I’m so tired of books that are obvious. This one wasn’t. Which makes me want to read more of the series.
I’ll admit, I almost put this down a couple of times in the beginning, because Ayden was so awful that I didn’t even want to see her get an HEA. But I am glad I stuck with it, and I really think that with a more sympathetic heroine, I will enjoy future books even more. I’ll keep you posted.