*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review.*
It seems like there’s a lot of urban fantasy out there with male protagonists who are snarky and gritty and rough. Their favorite pastimes are drinking and gambling and smoking. They ain’t got no time or desire for romance or friendship. They’re always running around with machetes strapped to their thighs and their guns ablazin’. What I love so much about this series though is that it’s pure urban fantasy with a fun, snarky male protagonist, but he’s not quite so rough around the edges—he’s real and relatable. He’s a normal person, like you and me, he has struggles and emotions, but he just so happens to fight supernatural creatures for a living. And those fights with supernatural creatures do affect him mentally, just like they would any normal person. And even though he may not be ready to settle down into serious commitment, he’s not a misanthrope either and has people in his life he cares about and has relationships with.
But I gotta say, even though another one of the things I like about this series is the way the author doesn’t avoid the blood and gore, for once I’m actually glad an author didn’t go into all the gritty and gruesome details and instead skipped over some parts because I don’t think I could’ve handled some of what happened in this book. It was… wow. Awful. Torture. Legitimate, actual torture. Cal was still cracking the occasional joke in his mind because that was how he coped, but I couldn’t laugh until it was over. The poor guy already had PTSD and panic attacks and nightmares from all his previous trauma, so that definitely didn’t help. I actually shed a tear a few times just imagining how horrible it must have been and must still be for Cal, like when he told the story to everyone and when Desmond, Ella, and Cooper told him how worried they had been.
Once again though, even though all the horrific details weren’t present, Cal’s (and everyone’s) injuries were still realistic; he felt exhausted and sore, he needed time to heal, etc., and I loved that because that is something so many books are lacking. Including realistic injuries goes a long way in making the whole book feel so much more realistic.
I also liked how everyone mattered, at least to Cal (and the author, I suppose). For example, someone died who Cal didn’t know, he was just on a scouting team or something, but he had a name, and Cal made sure to learn and mention his name.
Anyway, once I got into this story, I didn’t want to stop reading. The plot was gripping, I wanted to know what would happen to Cal and if he’d be ok and how he’d handle things, and it was just overall another great, action-packed book in the series. It even had a bit more emotion and really touching friendships among the team members, and Cal was just as real and likeable as he was in the first book. I’m definitely looking forward to the next!
Fans of Book 1 in Clara Coulson's City of Crows Series. Anyone who likes action-packed urban fantasy, supernatural creatures, a hilariously snarky but also realistic and compassionate protag, and touching friendships/team dynamics.
More Books in the Series:
A wizard, a werewolf, and a watchmaker walk into a bar…and don’t come out alive.
Two months after the infamous Etruscan Incident, it’s back to normal for DSI—as normal as life can be when you hunt monsters on a salary. The rest of Nick Riker’s elite team has finally returned from France. Cooper Lee has healed from his nightmare trip to the Eververse. The remnants of the battles with Charun and Tuchulcha have been swept under the rug. And the exploding boathouse in Holden Park has (almost) been rebuilt.
All is calm in Aurora, Michigan.
Until a grisly triple murder in one of the city’s most popular bars destroys the delicate balance between three powerful forces. A high-ranking werewolf, a seasoned wizard, and a former mayor turned watchmaker wind up in body bags, and their deaths pit the ICM, DSI, and Aurora’s Wolf community against each other in a blame game of epic proportions. And as the accusations spiral out of control, threatening a supernatural war on Aurora’s streets, it’s up to Riker’s team to keep the peace before blood stains the sidewalks.
Meanwhile, Cal is struggling to overcome the consequences of his trip to the Etruscan Underworld. Haunted by visions of the future in the form of disorienting déjà vu, he’s terrified he’ll fail his team at crucial moments. But with the threat of violent riots hanging in the air, Cal has no choice but to power through and pray for the best.
Because one misstep on this case could mean the downfall of the city he loves.
LGBT+ Rep: Bisexual (Main Character)
Disability Rep: Mental Illness, Panic Attacks, PTSD
POC Rep: Hispanic/Latinx, Mexican, POC
Non-Human Type: Gods, Shifters, Witches
Relationships/Sex: No Explicit Sex, No Romance
Extra Love: Adorable Friendship, Cover Love, Favorite Book/Series, Favorite Male Character