I picked up Tigris Eden‘s Enslaved in Shadows (Shadow Unit, #1) from the Amazon free list. I then bought the sequel, Burned in Shadows.
Description of book one:
A man’s Past leads to his Future……
Agent Stone of the Shadow Unit’s job is simple, most days. Work in the Shadows, police his own Kind.
When an unwanted assignment turns out to be his darkest fantasy from the past, Draven can’t help but be conflicted by the memories of the past and his responsibilities in the future. But his decision has been made.
The Heart of a woman is Tested……..
Jes can’t let the tall dark agent back into her life.
How can she trust any man after what she’s endured. Years of abuse have broken her down and she doesn’t have room for more. The man she turns to for help hasn’t abused her physically but he’s tormented her emotionally. A past betrayal left her scarred, but also brought her life.
Can she accept him into her heart and trust him again?
One will survive and adapt, the other will realize hearts can be mended even if it’s a bit too late.
The road to forgiveness sometimes only brings more pain. Unexpected events set their lives on two separate tracks leading to one outcome. Lives will be changed and an emotional battle to save their souls will leave them both trapped and enslaved in their need for one another.
Review of book one:
I’m of two minds, having finished this book. On one hand, I found myself really irritated with the book in general and the cliffhanger ending in particular. On the other hand, I apparently liked it since I was willing to go out and buy the sequel. The latter probably trumps the former.
To address that first issue, what annoyed me the most was the fact that the whole thing is just so darned wordy. What I mean is that Ms. Eden often takes pages and pages to say what could have been accomplished in two sentences. And while this sometimes worked really well, painting a vivid mental picture and setting the scene for the characters to shine in (and they often do), at other times I found myself thinking, ‘Oh. My. God. Have we really not moved on yet?’ Unfortunately this latter thought struck me more often than I would like to admit.
This excess verbiage also means that, even though the book is 232 pages long, very little seems to happen. Even less once you factor in the fact that half the book is sex scenes. This is to be expected, of course, so mentioning it isn’t a complaint. But it leaves the plot to consist of essentially a one-night stand, a meeting, a car trip, a kidnapping, a rescue, and a cliffhanger. That’s not much for 200+ pages.
As I said, I did go out and purchase book two…or open up my laptop and click ‘buy now.’ So there were obviously things about the book I liked too. Most notably I liked Royce and Ronin, who Burned in Shadows is focused on. Their mystique was intriguing and I want to know more about them.
I liked the way Eden made Draven’s over-bearing, alpha nature feel almost like more of a cultural misunderstanding between him and Jes than anything else. From a werewolf’s perspective it was obvious that their situation would work out and that Jes would come around in time. She has to, she’s his mate and therefore biologically unable to do otherwise. From a human perspective however, he had no right to do some of the things he did and take those choices from her, regardless of what the end result would be.
I liked seeing Draven come completely unglued over his woman and adjust to the idea of a child. I liked the banter between the members of the Shadow Unit and the mystery of their species. All-in-all I liked the general world Eden created here. I could have done with a little more world-building, so that I had a firmer grasp of it though.
Description of book two:
Royce Zarides has accepted his hand dealt by fate. He’s loved and left far too many women. In the bedroom that is. But one kiss from Belinda Raine Ignis was all it took for his eyes to open. Is she really the woman meant for him and his brother Ronin? Or will history only repeat itself? That’s the million dollar question he doesn’t want to answer.
Ronin does not believe that Belinda is for him and his brother. But one night with her isn’t enough. Even when he sees her for who and what she really is, Ronin still has a hard time expressing his emotions where Belinda is concerned, and time is running out now that she’s to ascend to the status of Matria of the Phoenix Enclave.
Belinda (Bells) Ignis is good at ignoring men. She’s had her share of heartache. Jilted at the altar by her first love, she’s sworn all men off for good. Her mother and Matria of her community has other plans in mind, as well as the Zarides brothers. When faced with the heated glances of Ronin and the smooth tongue of Royce, what’s a girl to do?
The clock is ticking down for certain members of the Shadow Unit. Draven assumed dead, leaves a sour taste in every ones mouth. Jes’ new found abilities make for a great addition to the team. But when things seem to settle, they only get worse, as the team sets out to discover the origins of Mr. Black and the notorious Red Sun Organization. Secrets are uncovered and deals are made that result in a deadly blow to all involved.
Review of book two:
You ever read a sequel and then wish you hadn’t, so that it could have retained it’s potential awesomeness a little longer? Yeah, that’s how I feel about this book. It could have been pretty good, but I finished it on a disappointed sigh.
First off, who was the book about–Jes and Draven or Bells, Ronin and Royce? The description says the latter trio, but at least half the book is dedicated to Jes and Draven’s continuing drama and that left Bells, Ronin and Royce feeling like mere side characters, especially Bells. She seemed like little more than a puppet for the brothers to lust after. I didn’t feel like I knew her at all and barely knew the brothers any better, mostly because all the actual action is dedicated to Jes and Draven. Bells, Ronin and Royce’s ‘action’ is almost all bedroom play. How much personality can you glean from how well someone performs Cunnilius?
Problematically, despite being the second book dedicated to Jes and Draven, I didn’t know either of them in this book either. I realise characters have to grow and change for a story to progress, but Jes and Draven seemed like…no, they were different people. They took different names, different speech patterns, different attitudes, different abilities, and different behaviours. There was nothing recognisable about them.
What’s more, I didn’t like the new them. Granted, that’s understandable with Draven/Black. He turned into a baddie for a while (though I’m baffled about how). But Jes/Zea just mysteriously changed. I’m still waiting on a little clarity on that issue. And Zea was just too much to believe. She suddenly developed unbelievable powers. She became so powerful that the Shadow Unit accepted her as a member and within 6 weeks was sending her on serious undercover assignments. Really, does this organisation not have any training requirements or standardised entry requirements? How very convenient.
My biggest complaint however has to be the ending. I have no idea how or why the situation suddenly resolved itself. No one seemed to do anything to save the day, but somehow everyone was rescued.
Lastly, the book needs an editor, especially one who can address the to vs. too, passed vs. pasted, and comma placement issues. I noticed a few errors in book one, but this second book is riddled with them. It’s also often really unclear who is speaking or even thinking. I often mention editing in reviews, but I’m actually generally pretty forgiving of it. I considered giving up on this one at one point.
I’m not trying to be mean here. Eden has developed an interesting world. I still liked all the different species interactions and the way they each held their cards close to their chest. I liked how they ragged on eachother, but still got the job done. I’m sure there will be those out there who will love the book. I’m thrilled for them. I want to see every story find it’s perfect audience. Unfortunately I’m not it for this book.