This time round, it’s Ice Queen Isobel Lambert, the head of the committee who is being hunted down by an archenemy who wants her eliminated at all cost. Sent by the backers of the committee to retrieve the unscrupulous Serafin ‘The Raptor’, in exchange for the intelligence he’s trading to the committee for amnesty and freedom, Isobel suffered more than the usual amount of accidents. The fact that Serafin himself is a much wanted, ruthless spy with no ethics whatsoever, selling his secrets out to the highest bidder pumps up the drama factor with assassins, car chases and bombings dogging their every step to sanctuary. Unbeknownst to her team mates, Isobel has a history with Serafin, a.k.a Killian, and as the story unfolds, the reader finds out why Isobel turned out the way she did.
Now, although the story pace is as breathlessly exciting as the previous three in the series, I had some problems reconciling Isobel’s almost uncharacteristic morphing into a whiny ice princess on the brink of a hysterical breakdown. She has always come across as a super efficient, controlled and yet compassionate team leader, and I admired her for it. But in this book, her regressive behaviour took me a while to adjust. Whereas Killian/ Searfin came across as the cool-headed, and superior spy who kept his wits about him and didn’t melt down at the thought of confronting his past, even if he still holds a torch for Isobel.
Ultimately, it was Ms Stuart’s consummate story-telling skills, and my addiction to Taka, Pete and the extended spy family, which kept me hooked to the last page. Overall rating: 3.0.
Truth be told, I picked up Jaci Burton’s Hunting the Demon because there was a lot of buzz about the debut Surviving Demon Island. This book continues with the demon hunters tracking down Derek’s brother Nic Diavolo, by sending in Shay Pearson as bait. Shay was at first awed by his powerful presence, yet wary of his rich playboy reputation. Gradually, as both of them connected, Shay, who is actually a clairvoyant trying to hide her gift of sight due to a childhood trauma, couldn’t help falling for him.
However, when Nic was kidnapped by her team mates, and found out that she sprang the trap on him, he felt betrayed and attempted to escape. But a series of demon sightings made him finally understand the evil that the members of the Realm of Light were trying to fight, and swung his loyalty. As the hunters tried to find the key that would prevent the evil demon lords from gaining power, Shay sensed an impending disaster that could drag Nic down to his evil roots. Will they survive the battle with evil?
It may not be fair of me to judge it thus, as I didn’t read the first book in the series, but I think the sequel didn’t quite do the debut justice. The plot for the first book had exciting promise. I mean, setting the players on demon island on the pretext of filming a reality TV show. That’s a refreshing angle. In contrast, the rather ordinary circumstances of kidnapping Nic to force his hand in this book seem a little anti-climatic. That said, I wasn’t disappointed with this book, but neither was I enamoured of it. In fact, I skipped some of the steamy action which was getting to me a lil’ bit.
There was a subplot in this book, though, which piqued my interest as it introduced the main characters in the next book, Ryder and Angelique. The former is an ex-soldier whose cold, efficient façade melted a little under the charms of the independent minded and free-spirited treasure hunter. The story arc was interesting although I have to agree with TGTBTU that the universe of the demon world needs to be strengthened. Like her, I couldn’t get why the hunters could not succeed in vanquishing all the demons, since they seemed so skilful in doing off with the minions and half breeds. In fact, the battle for control of Nic’s demon self towards the last seems a little too pat.
I would give this book a rating of 2.5 as I’m more curious about the next story on the two humans, Ryder and Angelique.