Thursday, January 7, 2016

Vendetta by Gail Z Martin

The Basics:
Vendetta by Gail Z Martin
Book Two in the Deadly Curiosities series
Urban Fantasy
Published December 29, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Why I picked up this book:

enjoyed Deadly Curiosities when I read it last year, and I wanted another book. It was a no-brainer for me to pick it up!

The engaging follow up to the urban fantasy series set in Charleston, South Carolina.


Someone very powerful is trying to destroy Sorren and everyone he cares about. That puts Cassidy, Teag and Trifles and Folly in the cross-hairs, against an unknown enemy with strong magic and significant resources. 

Sorren has spent centuries shutting down the plans of powerful immortals, dark warlocks and supernatural creatures, and now he’s got to figure out which of those many enemies is out to get him before they pick off his friends one by one and come after him to finish an immortal vendetta. 
My Thoughts:

Vendetta returns us to the Deadly Curiosities world. To Charleston, to Cassidy, Teag, their shop Trifles and Folly and their vampire contact, Sorren. I liked the way the first book integrated this idea of things having resonance, being connected to the past. I wanted more. And now I've had it...

The past is very much a part of the present day story in this book. To start, Charleston is a key component of the story. I love the way that Martin weaves settings details into the plot. Each location is rendered in great detail, and together, with some history of Charleston, the setting becomes an incredibly intriguing component of Vendetta. Truly, Vendetta puts the urban back into urban fantasy, embracing the city fully.

There's plenty of action to keep the book moving forward. Something always seems to be happening, whether Cassidy's heading out to a new site of paranormal activity or checking in with a friend. And the actual violence is very well narrated. Each actor in the scene is moved about carefully. The bad guys are constantly in motion, never lining up to be taken down one by one, but instead moving in to attack even while our narrator, Cassidy's focus is on someone else.

I also love the cast of characters in this book. There's a ton, they're diverse, and they all have these really intriguing backstories. There's a series of short stories that Martin has written to accompany the novels, and I'll definitely be checking them out to see if some of these secondary characters feature.

Unfortunately, the repetitive components that struck me about the first book are present in Vendetta as well. I especially found the gearing up/list of weapons on-hand to be a bit repetitive after the first couple times. I would have been happy to assume everyone had their usual weapons on hand, and have it noted only when they left them behind or had something extra. Another repeated element was the description used for some of the bad guys - who were 'romance cover worthy'. I would have loved to have edited out most of those references because after the point was made once or twice, I was good on it. 

I also questioned Cassidy's strategy for investigating the weirdness happening in Charleston. She had this habit of heading out to potentially dangerous sites (or even just to check in with her usual round of experts) with no clear plan outlined for what she was hoping to learn. There was a fair amount of recon work without follow-up or investigation (in my opinion). I also found Sorren's absences completely devoid of value. He went off to check-in with other sources or contacts, and I didn't think he ever came back with useful information. Instead, he was just conveniently/inconveniently absent for Cassidy's next dangerous move. While everything came together to give me a good sense of how confused everyone was about what was happening, I still wanted stronger action by these main players. I wanted to see them not traipsing around, hoping for clues, but instead actively and purposefully pursuing them.

I felt Cassidy was a little isolated, and would have liked more intimate, friendly relationships. While Teag and Anthony are obviously important characters in her life, she felt really distant from everyone else. Maybe because of the secrets that she's keeping? Even Sorren, though, who does know her secrets, felt like... a boss' boss, instead of her partner or a friend or mentor or whatever. He popped in and out, and had his own thing going. I felt like their relationship is more about respect and tradition than it is about genuine caring and friendship. I found it hard to be too emotionally involved in the story because of my perception of Cassidy's isolation. 

Ultimately, I did enjoy Vendetta. The pacing is great. There's a really interesting plot happening here that fills in more details of the world. There's an awesome, expansive cast of characters, many of whom I want to get to know better. The setting is beautiful and integrated into the story in such significant ways. While I sometimes questioned choices made by the characters, had a hard time getting too emotionally involved even while I was entertained, and found some repetition of details really irritating, I still would recommend Vendetta to fans of the genre.

Bottom line:

If you liked Deadly Curiosities, pick up Vendetta to find out what happens next. I was left with a really clear sense of the importance of Cassidy and Teag's efforts on the 'protecting the world from supernatural threats' front, and I want to know what they'll get into next.  

4 stars
For fans of urban fantasy, group efforts to save the world, ghost stories

1 comment:

  1. This is a serious that is on my to try list when I start picking up new series.