Review of The Duality Paradigm (Blood and Bone Trilogy #1), by Lia Cooper

Duality ParadigmI grabbed a copy of Lia Cooper‘s The Duality Paradigm from the Amazon free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:
Everyone knows magic users and werewolves are intrinsically diametrically opposed… 

Seattle Police Detective Ethan Ellison, born into a long line of Quebecois magicians, leads a fairly unassuming life working Theft and consulting on magical misdemeanors. He’s spent eight years building a life for himself in Seattle, far from his father’s shadow. He works hard, lives under the radar, and fucks whoever catches his eye. 

Detective Patrick Clanahan, beta-heir to Pack McClanahan, is a tightly wired bundle of rage and guilt, still trying to come to terms with the murder of his last partner. 

When a human woman is murdered in werewolf territory under suspicious circumstances, Ethan is reassigned to worked the case with Clanahan in the hopes that he’ll be able to balance out the wolf’s rougher edges. 

Too bad they mostly just rub each other the wrong way.

This is a pretty middle of the road read, not bad but not all that great either. It’s a shame too, because I think the idea could really have been something special. Unfortunately, it tended to flounder, with whole subplots that never coalesced into anything meaningful (I suspect it was a set up for a future book.), annoying characters and truly lacking editing.

Let’s talk about the characters. Both were meant to be in their late twenties (26 & 29, if I remember correctly) but both came across as extremely juvenile. Patrick was at least adorable in his boyishness, but he was still childlike. This was an interesting turn for the otherwise big alpha character to take. Ethan, however, was just plain irritating in his bratty, self-centered aggression and over-reactions.

Both also had a history that was important and referenced, but never explored enough to feel substantial. I could have done with a little more world-building too. The plot worked, but it felt like mythical creatures kept being referenced without the reader knowing they existed prior to that point. On a similar side note, I never did figure out what the title meant. Maybe that comes up later in the series too.

I did, however, appreciate that this wasn’t an insta-love (even if the actual leap to sex was a 0-60 scenario). I liked that as annoying as Ethan was, he was smart and willing to stand up for himself. I really liked Cooper’s tendency to play with gender norms, mothers as pack alphas and fathers who cook dinner, for example.

All in all, I liked it enough to be interested in reading the next book, but not enough to be racing out and buying it.

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