Pros: It’s fascinating to watch the heroine’s emotional development throughout the story.
Cons: One glaring cliche made worse because its justification is so flimsy.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Kane Montague, an assassin for MI6, had his world turned upside-down six months ago during a mission where he was partnered with a beautiful agent. After one night together, Ilsa drugged him and left him. Now he wants to find her to have an accounting, but Ilsa has her own agenda. She’s made a dark deal to get revenge on one who wronged her a long time age, but she can’t quite see the whole picture. And there’s a certain sexy agent she can’t get out of her head…
But there is more going on than meets the eye. Kane is a Zodiac warrior, an immortal warrior of the goddess Themis, and Ilsa is also the goddess Nemesis. The two of them are going to have to work together, because there is a threat that could bring down the Zodiac warriors unless these two can learn to trust each other.
After reading and enjoying Warrior Ascended so much, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Ms. Fox’s second installment. The wait was certainly worth it! Her heroines are some of my favorites, because while they have things going on at an emotional level, these issues are neither a source of gratuitous conflict, nor are they so crippling that the heroine can’t cope with her life and its ups and downs. These women are full of quiet strength, and it strikes a nice balance for me between immature characters and characters so tough that they can become difficult to relate to.
With that being said, however, I do have to point out that a rather tired romance trope rears its head in this book: that of the heroine who remains a virgin until she meets the man of her dreams. This trope usually doesn’t bother me too much, unless the logic behind it is a stretch, as is the case here. Finding out fairly early on that Ilsa was originally a nymph made my eyebrows go through the ceiling. Can any reader reasonably familiar with Greek mythology be expected to believe that a nymph alive before Zeus was born is still a virgin?
The other thing that I found a little odd as I read was how little the goddess Enyo seemed to have to do with the conflict. There had been such an emphasis on the conflict between Enyo and Themis in the first book that I couldn’t help but wonder why Enyo didn’t have a bigger role in this book as well. It was as if most of her menace from the first book had disappeared, and she was simply desperate, although some of that feeling could be because a lot of her plotting happens offstage in this book. Hopefully in book three she’ll be a little bit more involved.
Those things aside, the interactions between Ilsa and Kane are an absolute joy to watch. Not only are there elements of wit and humor, but as the two of them grow closer together, they begin to support each other emotionally in ways that will make themselves and each other stronger. I have to admit, part of the reason that Ms. Fox’s characters are so much fun to read about is because they remind me of me and my husband, which makes them so much easier to relate to. It’s that sympathy and understanding that help me connect so deeply to the characters, and why I absolutely devour her stories! Although the plots are paranormal, her characters aren’t so different from a regular couple trying to make a relationship work.
Despite a fairly weak justification for virginity and over-arcing plot elements feeling diminished, I still really enjoyed this book. The ease I had relating to the characters outweighed the irritation, and if I genuinely care about characters I don’t mind forgiving a few weak elements. The fact that those characters are also fairly emotionally mature certainly didn’t hurt, either! And the more I read, the more I want to know how everything turns out. I also can’t wait to see what kinds of women get paired up with the other Zodiac warriors I’ve met so far in the book, so I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series.