FBI agent Lily Yu’s mind is a dangerous place to be in the latest Novel of the Lupi…
Thanks to the mindspeech lessons she’s receiving from the black dragon, Lily is temporarily benched from Unit Twelve—until her brain acclimates and the risk of total burnout passes. At least she has her new husband, lupi Rule Turner, to keep her occupied.
But when her mentor calls in a favor and sends Lily to a murder scene, she’s suddenly back on active status—despite the hallucinations she can’t keep at bay. With one touch, Lily knows the man was killed by magic, but her senses don’t warn her how far the conspiracy goes…
A shadowy force within the government wants to take Unit Twelve down, and they don’t mind killing to achieve their goal. With none of her usual resources, Lily is up against impossible odds–because with her mind in disarray, she can’t trust anything she sees.
I’m not entirely sure why I waited so long to read this one. Some of it was me, I hadn’t been feeling well and was rather blah, but for the rest I was unaccountably nervous about this one. I was weirdly nervous about starting the last one too, but I figured it was because it was focusing on alternate characters. This one focused on Lily and Rule, so I am not sure why I was nervous, but I am starting to think it may just be this series. It makes me nervous. Even after 12 books now, it is always something unexpected (as an aside, don’t start with this book, it would be impossible). And then I read some reviews that made me more nervous. So, I kept putting it off.
Once I did get to it, the beginning didn’t begin to make me feel any better than the blurbs or the reviews I read had. It took a couple of chapters for me to really get into it because we started out in someone else’s head and I couldn’t understand why. But then once I did, it was Whoa Nelly.
There are some seriously surprising plot twists in this story, and Lily and Rule spend an unprecedented amount of time apart. But since we get to learn so much more about both dragons and brownies, it was forgivable. And those parts were amazing. I missed many of the usual characters, but their lack was only really evident in retrospect. And the one new major character is really interesting and I hope we see more of her.
And this story was really, really good. Amazing really. But I don’t quite understand how or even if this furthers the overall story arc of the series. I’m going to have to admit that I am quite baffled at this point. I mean, I get where some of the odder threads have been leading to now, but where we go from here is slightly baffling. And there are a few threads that are far from tied up, beyond the overall story arc. But considering how Wilks has pulled it off in the past, I’ll just have to go with it. Eileen Wilks said of the differences between her initial novella and the first book, that she “can’t step into the same stream twice”, and I think that is true, maybe in more ways than she meant at the time. Most series are strongly linear, by both time and events. Hers is oddly non-linear, in a way that I can’t quite describe. I’ve described it as a tapestry before and that seems as good a description as any.
And holy heck this went to some really dark places, even compared to the places Wilks has taken us before. It wasn’t really gratuitous, but it stung a little. Some of it was expected, but the rest was almost completely out of my frame of reference.
So, where do I stand as far as opinions? It isn’t my favorite story of the series. Yes, moments were amazing and magical and fascinating, but not all of it was. And I’m not talking about the things that hurt, because they seemed necessary. But there were some rough spots. And this isn’t going to make my re-reads for any old reasons shelf. But it was certainly better than just solid, and it is very necessary for the series as a whole I think, even if I can’t quite see how right this moment. So I am going to give it 4 stars and hope the next one comes out soon.