Review: “Dire Desires,” Stephanie Tyler

Pros: Some interesting plotting in there somewhere
Cons: Confusing, choppy, rushed
Rating: 2 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Gillian Black dreams of the moon, and escapes her psychiatric ward once a month to go running. But she always comes back. She’s been told she’s violent, possibly schizophrenic, but Jinx, a Dire wolf, knows the truth: Gillian’s a Dire wolf, and soon she’ll undergo her first change. He has to get her out of the psych ward before that happens. When she disappears, however, her wealthy parents put a high price on her return, encouraging every dangerous idiot to come out of the woodwork looking to kidnap her back to her family. Meanwhile, she has no intention of leaving Jinx. And Jinx, well, he has his own problems. He’s been kicked out of the pack. He’s living with a vampire. And he’s cleaning up an unholy mess he unleashed not long ago. He’s going to have to hold on tight to avoid losing Gillian, just after he’s found her.

Dire Desires: A Novel of the Eternal Wolf Clan comes several installments after the last book I read from this series: Dire Needs. Although that book wasn’t perfect, I definitely enjoyed it. So I wonder what happened between then and now to bring my opinion of the series down so far.

I knew there was trouble as soon as I encountered the ‘glossary’ in the front of the book. It has at least one entry that’s a full page long, and they’re all oversized. It isn’t a glossary: it’s an info-dump attempting to bring the reader up to speed on the world. This is the worst way to do this. If Tyler felt she needed to put a story-so-far summary up front, she should have just done that. This ‘glossary’ just makes things even more confusing since it’s organized poorly and jumps from thing to thing. Ideally all of this information would be conveyed within the story itself, but even that summary I mentioned would have been better than this.

The pacing of the book is extremely choppy. Things just happen one right after another after another. There’s little variation in the pacing and there’s no buildup to things. Sex scenes are brief and not given any time to build up energy and sexiness. Emotional scenes are given similar short shrift. Everything feels very matter-of-fact, which robs the words of any real emotional connection to the reader. I couldn’t feel attached to the characters, couldn’t feel excited by the plot, and so on. There’s also so much going on that the whole story feels… scattered. Tyler seems to be trying to give equal time to everything going on, and in so doing, leaves the book without a coherent focus.

If I went back and read Dire Needs again, I wonder if I’d find that things had simply deteriorated since then, or that it wasn’t nearly as good on the second read-through?

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