Friday, January 22, 2021

#Review - The Scorpion's Tail by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child #Thrillers #Suspense

Series: Nora Kelly # 2
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Publisher
Genre: Thrillers / Suspense

From #1 bestselling authors Preston & Child comes a thrilling novel following archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI Agent Corrie Swanson as they work together to solve a twisted crime that reaches far beyond any of their worst fears.

Following the acclaimed debut of Old Bones, this second "happily anticipated" new thriller in Preston & Child's series features Nora Kelly, archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archeological Institute, and rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, as they team up to solve a mystery that quickly escalates into nightmare (Booklist).

A mummified corpse, over half a century old, is found in the cellar of an abandoned building in a remote New Mexico ghost town. Corrie is assigned what seems to her a throwaway case: to ID the body and determine cause of death. She brings archaeologist Nora Kelly to excavate the body and lend her expertise to the investigation, and together they uncover something unexpected and shocking: the deceased apparently died in agony, in a fetal position, skin coming off in sheets, with a rictus of horror frozen on his face.

Hidden on the corpse lies a 16th century Spanish gold cross of immense value.

When they at last identify the body -- and the bizarre cause of death -- Corrie and Nora open a door into a terrifying, secret world of ancient treasure and modern obsession: a world centered on arguably the most defining, frightening, and transformative moment in American history.

 

The Scorpion's Tail, by co-authors Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child, is the second installment their Nora Kelly series. Dr. Nora Kelly is senior curator at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute who first appeared in the authors Thunderhead and is an associate of FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. The series also features FBI Agent Corrie Swanson of the Albuquerque Field Office. She's the protegee of Special Agent Pendergast who saw something in her that her own parents didn't. Corrie and Nora first worked together in the story Old Bones which revisited the Donner family tragedy.

Corrie has been out of the FBI academy for 8 months and is spending the next two years on probation while working out of New Mexico field office. She had quite the experience after Nora lead an expedition into the Sierra Nevada to find the Donner Party's "Lost Camp" and found herself deep in trouble. You could say that Nora owes Corrie her life. While responding to a violent domestic dispute with other agents, Corrie makes a mistake and even though she saves a child, she blames herself for not doing enough.

Two weeks later, she is assigned by Supervisory Agent Hale Morwood to an unfolding case up near the Azul Mountains. A local sheriff encountered an illegal relic hunter uncovering a dead man's body. One of the reasons that this is the perfect case for Corrie is that she has a background in forensic anthropology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Corrie requests Nora's assistance in determining how hold the body might be. Corrie needs all the help she can get because people see how young she is and tend to ignore her.

Nora is an ace when it comes to ancient Pueblo culture. Said mummified body appears to have been buried since around 1945. What’s even more shocking is that an old golden cross is found with the body likely dating back to the 17th century when Spain and Native Indians warred with each other over the land. This suddenly becomes a mystery, and a treasure hunt of sorts. There's talk of a hidden treasure high up in the mountains surrounding the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. But then things get a bit strange. Someone doesn't want Corrie or Nora anywhere near the ghost town of High Lonesome.

They'll face the rigors of the dangerous terrain where Geronimo and the Apaches once roamed which is now home to Los Alamos and the White Sands Testing Range. They will face historic details about the release of nuclear weapons on the desert and the desire among those in the know and others to find a long-hidden cache of gold and other gems. There's a lot going on in this story, but it is fast paced and engrossing. The historical aspects of the story, especially the nuclear tests in the New Mexico desert, once again proves that the authors actually took their time and did some research before laying pen to paper. 

As a historical buff, I found myself checking on the authors work to see how accurate they are. Surprisingly, very. We yet again get an Agent Pendergast sighting to save the day. Not sure why he’s needed except to embarrass Corrie or to prove he’s just better than anyone else.







Thursday, January 21, 2021

#Review - Lore by Alexandra Bracken #Fantasy #Contemporary #YA #Mythology

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Contemporary / Legends, Myths, Fables / Greek & Roman

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love, and redemption.


Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals. They are hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

 

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory after her family was murdered by a rival line. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man—now a god—responsible for their deaths.


Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek her out: Castor, a childhood friend Lore believed to be dead, and Athena, one of the last of the original gods, now gravely wounded.


The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and a way to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to rejoin the hunt, binding her fate to Athena's, will come at a deadly cost—and it may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

 


Lore, by author Alexandra Bracken, was created out of the authors own childhood love of Greek mythology as well as her own Greek heritage and the stories of her immigrant grandparents, to dream up a secret network of ancient families--descendants of Greek heroes--battling for immortality and dominance. This novel turns the misogyny and violence against women running through Greek mythology on its head, reclaiming the hero's journey and reversing our ideas about heroes and monsters. Thousands of years ago, 9 gods—Athena, Artemis, Poseidon, Dionysus, Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Ares—staged a failed revolution against Zeus. 

As punishment, they are doomed to face the Agon every seven years. “For 7 days every 7 years, the Gods walk the Earth as mortals. If you can kill one, you become a new God and take their power and immortality. But you’ll be hunted again and again until only one remains whole.” Only 4 bloodlines still participate in the Agon. Aphrodite (Heartkeeper), Dionysus (The Reveler), Poseidon (Tidebringer), and Ares (Wrath) are deceased as the current Agon begins and replaced by so called new Gods. Melora (Lore) Perseous is the last of her line from the legendary hero, Perseus and is largely alone in the world after hiding from the Agon and its members for many years once her family was murdered by their opponents.

Lore thinks she has escaped the Agon until one day she returns home and finds the goddess Athena, mortal and open to attack and the theft of her powers by anyone who kills her, bleeding out on her front porch. After binding her fate with Athena, she goes into the hunt to fight a new God to avenge her family and save her home, New York City. With the upcoming hunt, comes the reappearance of her childhood friend Castor. Lore discovers that Castor, the childhood friend she believed was dead, actually ascended as the new Apollo seven years ago.

I am going to actually say that this book is on the dark side. This is, after all, a sort of last person standing war with plenty of blood and death. If you are a lover of Greek Mythology, you are going to really enjoy this YA standalone. As fragile alliances are formed and Lore struggles to keep those she cares about safe until the end of the Agon, she can't help but remember the heinous crimes done to her in the past and the person she used to be. Except for Miles who she took in, Lore has been alone for many years and only survived because she was kept hidden. Until now.

Lore is complex, flawed, has a temper, has lots of baggage, and struggles to process her guilt, past traumas, and grapples with the idea of destiny (or the "Fates") and whether she is truly in control of herself. The entirety of this story takes place over 7 days, so the action is hot and hectic and for a book that is almost 500 pages long, nearly continuous. The ending is both surprising and open ending. Yes, there really could have been a different ending, and yes, there really could have been a sequel had the author and publisher desired.  

 





Wednesday, January 20, 2021

#Review - The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James #Cozy #Mystery

Series: Beloved Bookroom Mystery (#1)
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Mystery & Detective / Cozy

The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell—with the help of a group of dedicated readers—decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

 



The Broken Spine is the first installment in author Dorothy St. James Beloved Bookroom Mystery series. Trudell Beckett of Cypress, South Carolina, is a book loving assistant librarian who loves her job at the library among the books, or "friends," as she likes to refer to them. But Mayor Goodvale and town manager Duggar Hargrove and new Library IT tech Anne Lowery have a new plan to push their poor town into the future. They want to create a modern, bookless library. They plan on removing all the books and purchasing tablets for the patrons to check out. 
 
They'll have a cafe, a maker space with 3D printers and such, as well as recording studios. But the books have to go. Not many other people are happy about this and Trudell decides to take matters into her own hands by smuggling some of the books down to the basement to start her own secret library in the library's old panic room. She and her friends Flossie and Tori Green, along with Charlie Newcastle who moved to town to open a book store, decide that they are going to open a secretive library of their own where people love love actual books, and not just e readers, can come and find a book they want to read. 
 
Things get side tracked a bit when Hargrove is found dead, and Trudell is one of the primary suspects. To make matters worse, Trudell is surprised to discover that the lead detective, Jace Bailey, the one who humiliated her in high school and took a scholarship away that she worked her ass off in order to receive, is back in town. While the investigation into Hargrove's death proceeds, Trudell decides that she will also open a mobile library for those who have a hard time getting to the library, and just want to hold an honest to goodness book in their hands. Truth be told, there are bookless libraries around this country now, especially in Texas.  
 
A bookless library typically uses the space that would have once been used for books to offer public computers, e-readers and other technology used to consume and produce digital media. Over the last decade, driven by changes in scholarly communication, several major research libraries have successfully become bookless. To me, books are the heart of any library. It's what keeps me busy reading and keeping my mind off the real world. In this world, the library and its books helped Trudell get through some difficult times growing up. As a cat lover, I also loved Dewey, the cat who seems to have the ability to communicate better than some of the human characters.
 


Chapter One

No one in the moderately sized rural southern town of Cypress would ever suspect their stalwart assistant librarian of breaking into the library where she worked. Why would they? A bronze plaque hangs on my kitchen wall. It was personally presented to me by Mayor Goodvale. He declared me an asset to the town. I’d received the award because I always performed my job with the highest level of pride and professionalism. For the past thirteen years I put the town and library first, often to the detriment of my personal life.

An even bigger honor occurred a few years ago when Mrs. Lida Farnsworth, the town’s head librarian, whispered (she always whispered) while we busily returned books to their shelves: “Trudell Becket, I couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong about my first impression of you. I would have hired any other candidate for the position. But, alas, the only other person who’d applied was that drunkard Cooper Berry. I honestly didn’t think you had it in you, honey. But, bless your heart, you’ve become the model of a perfect librarian.”

And she was right. I was perfect. Until…

Well, let’s just say someone needed to do this.

As a general rule, librarians don’t speak in loud voices. Librarians don’t exceed the speed limit when driving to work. And librarians certainly don’t dress head-to-toe in black ninja-wear while attempting to pick the library’s backdoor lock.

Yet, librarians can always be counted on to get things done.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I muttered to a lanky brown cat with black tiger stripes. It had emerged from the darkened back alleyway to stand next to the library’s cool pearly-pink granite wall and watch me. “Someone needs to protect those books before they all end up destroyed. They’re sending them to the landfill.” The small metal flashlight clenched between my teeth caused the words to come out garbled. Both of my hands were busy working the lock.

A textbook for locksmiths that I’d borrowed from the library’s reference section sat open to the page featuring a diagram of a lock. Since I didn’t own a lockpick kit-why would I?-I’d improvised with a few sturdy paperclips bent to resemble the tools depicted on the book’s previous page. Every little sound, every scrape and rumble in Cypress’s quaint downtown boomed in my ears. I jumped at the soft cough of a car engine. And with that cat watching me, I felt an itchy need to scurry into the nearest mousehole to hide.

But I couldn’t run. I had to finish what I’d set my mind to finishing.

After what felt like a million thundering heartbeats while I fumbled with the paperclips, the lock clicked. The door opened. I rose on shaky legs, gathering up the reference book and the stack of flattened moving boxes I’d brought with me. My gaze darted to the darkest corners of the alleyway before I slipped inside.

Just as the door started to close, the cat that had been watching with such a judgmental glare shimmied between my legs and into the library before the heavy metal back door clanked closed.

“Hey!” I called in a harsh whisper because shouting in a library simply wasn’t done. Whispering seemed even more important in the middle of the night as I sneaked inside on my clandestine mission.

The brown cat ignored me. With a yeow loud enough to have me instinctively hissing “Shhhh!” the little beast darted upstairs and disappeared into the shadows of the stacks.

“Tru, you’re in for it now,” I muttered before dropping the stack of boxes. I sprinted after that darn cat.

Mrs. Farnsworth would have a heart attack if she discovered a flea-bitten kitty wandering among her books in the morning. I needed to get him out. The head librarian was already on edge with having to deal with the changes coming to the library.

If I didn’t know the tough older woman better, I would have suspected she was busy plotting a murder. Every time she had to deal with the man behind the changes that were ripping apart both of our worlds, she’d grit her teeth and smile so tightly it looked as if her lips might crack open. But later, when she talked about him and his grand plan, her smile changed into something horrible that made ice tiptoe up my spine.

The trouble had started three weeks ago. Duggar Hargrove, the town’s new and aggressive town manager, had made his way up the long run of steps and into the library’s historic atrium. Dressed in a tweed suit and a pink tie that matched his bright pink complexion, he stood in the middle of the room with his round fists planted on his hips. The mayor and several members of the town council had followed him into the library’s semicircular atrium and had gathered like a smiling army of suits around him.

Duggar, talking much too loudly for inside a library, called for Mrs. Farnsworth to stand next to him. Because she was both a southern lady and a librarian with the highest standards of comportment, she complied without question. The only sign of her displeasure was a slight shivering of the string of pearls that always adorned her long, elegant neck.

Although I grew up in the South and had attended the strictest cotillion classes in town, I had never mastered the art of masking my feelings. Those pesky emotions showed up on my face as clearly as a bright red hat sitting atop a lady’s head. I could feel my brows wrinkling and my mouth twisting into a look of puzzlement as I stepped out from behind the front desk to watch as Duggar raised his beefy hands as if asking for silence. This struck me as silly since he was standing in the middle of a library where silence was the rule.

He cleared his throat and gave the mayor a nod before speaking. His voice rumbled like a car engine in need of a tune-up. “Thanks to my efforts…and those of our elected officials, of course, of course,” he said, clearing his throat again, “the town of Cypress has seen unprecedented growth over the past year. We’ve welcomed industries that make auto parts, fertilizers, and tractor tires. They’ve invested in our town and in our people. It’s all very good. Very good. But now is the time for us to start thinking bigger. And by bigger I mean high tech. We want companies who are on the cutting edge of technology to look to Cypress as their new home to grow.”

The politicians standing around him all nodded in unison. Mrs. Farnsworth’s pearls shivered again, and her dainty brows dipped ever so slightly toward her deep brown eyes. I felt for my boss. I knew how much she loathed surprises.

“In order to accomplish our goal,” Duggar’s low growl continued, “we need to become forward thinking. We need to modernize every aspect of our town. We need to be featured in the national media as a town of the future, a town that deserves to be watched.”

When he’d finished, the politicians started to clap loudly. Mrs. Farnsworth shot them a sharp look, which put a quick end to that nonsense.

“What you are saying is uplifting and all, but why are you making this pretty speech in my library instead of at last night’s council meeting?” she demanded in a hard whisper that made the skin on the back of my neck prickle. Her eyelids snapped with impatience.

Duggar flashed a full set of teeth. “I’m glad you asked, ma’am. I’m here because, with the full support of our council, we’re going to invest in upgrading the library.”

“Finally,” I breathed. After years of budget cuts, the library no longer stocked the latest and most popular new releases. And none of the library employees had seen the cost-of-living raise we’d been promised for three years in a row now.

“Well…now…that’s good news,” Mrs. Farnsworth pronounced.

Duggar tugged at his tight collar. It was as if he knew what was coming next would be ill-received by the library staff and patrons. “Modernization of all aspects of our town is essential. And I’ll need everyone’s help. Even if change feels painful at first, I need each and every resident in the community to be a part of my team. Can I count on you?”

The mayor and town council all nodded. Mrs. Farnsworth rolled her eyes. Everyone else stood silently by, waiting to hear the changes Duggar and the elected officials had planned for our beloved historic library.

Duggar tugged at his tight collar again. I’m not sure what he was expecting. Cheers of agreement? Not in this library. Not with the stern Mrs. Farnsworth standing watch. “Well,” he said, “the library of the future is a library with no limits. It’s a library that brings the world to our small, rural town.”

No one could disagree with that. For centuries, libraries, and the books they contain, have served as a ticket to the world and beyond. The books populating the stacks educate, inspire, and in some cases save lives. They had certainly saved mine.

“Just spit it out,” Mrs. Farnsworth chided. “Ever since you were no taller than my knee, you’d talk and talk and talk and never get to the point. I’m an old woman with a busy schedule. I don’t have time for this.”

His pink face turned a shade pinker. “Fine.” He huffed. “We’re going to turn our library into a bookless library.”

A what?

“A what?” Mrs. Farnsworth demanded in her haughtiest, most refined southern tones. She’d reached for the pearls adorning her throat, which showed how much his announcement had flustered her. She almost never clutched her pearls.

I sat down and rolled over to the computer at the reference desk and typed “bookless library” into the search engine.

As images of what looked like cybercafŽs-stark rooms filled with computers-appeared on the screen in front of me, Duggar explained to the crowd, “We will do away with all of these out-of-date books and replace them with computers and computer terminals. Patrons will be able to check out tablets with electronic books and references loaded onto them. Or they will be able to check out electronic books and load them onto their own tablets and phones. Instead of a static collection of moldy paper, we’ll have the most up-to-the-minute resources for our community and for the industries that will come. We’ll be the envy of our neighboring communities. We’ll be educating the best and brightest with the best and newest information.”

I glanced at the books behind me. Yes, some of them were out-of-date. Every spring we purged books that were no longer relevant. If the town council would simply give us a decent budget, we could refresh our collection on a regular basis.

Yet while some of our books might be old-really old-many of the titles in the stacks were timeless classics. There were first editions. A few were even signed.

“I must have misheard you,” Mrs. Farnsworth said, her voice tight with emotion. “It sounded like you said that you planned to get rid of my books.”

“Yes, ma’am. These old books will be replaced with state-of-the-art computers.” When Mrs. Farnsworth scoffed, he added, “Your patrons will have access to more books than you can imagine.”

“But what will the children do?” she said. “You cannot set a baby up in front of a computer.”

“The babies and tots will use child-friendly tablets,” Duggar was quick to answer.

The back-and-forth went on like this for a while. Finally, Mrs. Farnsworth held up her hands. “You can modernize with your computers while keeping our books.”

He shook his head and turned to Mayor Goodvale for help.

“I am sorry, Lida.” The mayor, a kindly man who had just a touch of gray on his temples, took her slightly bent hands in his. “I know this must come as a shock to you. And you needn’t worry, your position is safe. We’ll always need you to help curate our collection, even if it is online. But we only have enough money to purchase the computers, tablets, and subscription services for the various online media sources. We cannot afford to purchase printed books too. We’re building a library of the future. There’s no place here to shelve outdated books.”

She yanked away from his touch. “This is a mistake. Abandoning books is not moving forward. It’s a step back toward the Dark Ages.”

I agreed with her. And I wasn’t the only one. In the days that followed, several of our long-term patrons complained about Duggar’s dramatic announcement. Letters were written to the editor. But nothing anyone said or did stopped Duggar’s plans for modernization.

As each day passed, I worried more and more about Mrs. Farnsworth. On the surface, she was acting as if nothing was happening to her beloved library-a place where she’d worked for more than fifty years. Practicing the perfection she expected from others, she never complained. She never questioned the rules. She went along with the town’s plan to convert the library into a futuristic technological center. An abomination. All the while her slender seventy-nine-year-old body grew tauter and tauter. Her adhesion to the rules, and her requirement that everyone else within her sight also strictly follow those rules, grew more and more stringent as the days passed.

She’d scolded young Timmy Cho for breaking the spine of a popular picture book with such a firm whisper that tears had flooded the eight-year-old’s eyes.

She’d ejected Betty Crawley, the local newspaper reporter, from the stately old building for interviewing library users about what they thought about the coming changes to the library. Not only that, she told the sputtering Betty that she was banned from ever coming back.

And she’d given strict instructions to the library staff that we could no longer waive fines for books returned late. “If the citizens of Cypress cannot return their books on time, they’re going to have to pay the price,” Mrs. Farnsworth had whispered ominously. A worrisome gleam darkened her rich brown eyes as she emphasized “pay the price.”

Despite her determination to pretend the library wasn’t getting a hideous overhaul, changes had started to happen. A newly hired technology specialist imported from Silicon Valley showed up one morning and took charge, ordering everyone, even Mrs. Farnsworth, around.

Anne Lowery looked like she should still be in high school. The purple streak running through her inky black hair only added to her youthful looks. I would have suspected she was lying about her credentials if not for the bright spark of confidence in her glittering green eyes and the way she took charge without hesitation.





#Review - A Prescription for Possession by Noree Cosper #Fantasy #Paranormal

Series: A Van Helsing Organization # 1
Format: E-Book, 285 pages
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Publisher: Noree Cosper
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Madness spreading like a virus.

Ninety years ago, Gabriella di Luca failed to protect the family of her dead lover. Now the devil that murdered the eldest Van Helsing son has resurfaced, and she’s determined to stop him before he can lay a bloody hand on the remaining three brothers.

However, Gabby suspects the devil is testing a drug that induces demonic possession, and the only way to stop the devil’s plot is to fall victim to the madness herself. If she wants to save the brothers and their city, she’ll have to risk most precious possession: her mind.

If you enjoy Kim Harrison and Laurell K. Hamilton, you will devour this fast-paced paranormal adventure by USA Today Bestselling author Noree Cosper. Buy A Prescription for Delirium to dive into this Dark Fantasy Series today!

 

 
A Prescription for Possession is the first installment in author Noree Cosper's A Van Helsing Organization series. This book was originally called A Prescription for Delirium. Told from Gabriella Di Luca point-of-view, we're pulled into a dark world of demons, secrets, and ancient dangers. The story beings in 1536 Rome. Gabby is witnessing a banishment of a devil named Ose. When things go wrong, Gabby ends up finishing the job which will end up costing her. After failing to stop Allegra from killing her husband and child, she was cursed. For 400 years, she's been banishing demons. Even when she’s killed, she’s returned to life basically unscratched.  

Gabby was close to Dimitri Van Helsing who was cursed by Dracula and now she works with Lucy Harker and Johan to keep Andrei Van Helsing’s dream alive of creating a network of hunters alive. Beginning with Esais, Adrian, and Tres Van Helsing. The Van Helsing brothers of this current generation know next to nothing compared to Gabby, but they do have their uses. The real issues begin when Gabby learns that Ose and his daughter Malantha have resurfaced in a small town in Texas after being chased by a Hellhound masquerading as a Werewolf.  They seem to be creating a drug that allows demons and devils to completely take over a human body.

Along for the ride is Marguerite Devereux who is tainted by demons after her own mother sold her soul which basically means she’s trying hard to find the asshat who holds her contract so she can kill the bastard instead of waiting for 5 years for the Devils’ to come for her. The three brothers are have their own special abilities. Esais is the older protector of the clan who has telepathic powers. Tres is a charmer with healing powers. Adrian is the rebel, gifted in science he is both suspicious and doesn't believe in gifts. He calls his own brothers’ abominations.

Then comes the most questionable character in the book; John Roda. Despite having killed his demon possessed wife, he is still desperate to be Gabby’s lover. He performs the scientific role, making alchemical compounds and providing much needed supplies. I don’t trust this man. I think he’s up to something that Gabby isn’t putting together because she is emotionally attached to him even after she pushes him away time and time again. We shall see if I am correct in the next installments. The ending clearly shows that Allegra has confidence that she still holds Gabby’s future in her hands. We shall see.