SETTING: Contemporary - Vancouver, BC
TYPE: Paranormal Romance
SERIES: Book 6 - Dirk & Steele series
REASON FOR READING: I have read the other books in the series (except the short story from the anthology Dark Dreamers) and really enjoyed them.
Against her will, Kitala Bell forsees the future. But only deaths, and only violent. Kitala's own future is in peril. From the Ocean's depths rises an impossible blend of fantasy and danger, a creature whose voice is seduction incarnate, whose song can manipulate lives the way that Kitala herself manipulates the strings of her violin...even to the point of breaking. He is a prince of the sea, an enigma - a captive stretched to the limit of his endurance by a woman intent on using him for the purest evil. And when survival requires he and Kitala form a closer partnership than either has ever know, the price of their bond will threaten not just their lives, but the essence of their very souls.
THOUGHTS / OPINION:
I really wanted to like this one.. I really did. I have loved Liu's previous books in the series even though I thought they were a bit light on the romance (and sex). But too many other problems in SS conspired against me and I almost gave up a couple times. Well, I bravely stuck with it and finished it (but at one point wished I hadn't).
The biggest problem: the violence. Too much blood and knives and torture. Maybe my memory is lacking but this book seemed more violent and bloody than all the previous books.
M'cal is a merman which I found very unusual and fascinating. Kitala Bell is a world-renown violinist and is gifted with the ability to foresee the violent death of others. The book starts when Kitala is performing in concert and she sees a woman in the audience with a knife sticking out of her eye! Only Kitala sees this since she has the "gift" and she decides to warn her about her portending murder after the concert (although she has tried this in the past and it never worked out). When Kitala approaches her later on the street, she becomes involved in some complicated events that lead to her kidnapping by some corrupt police officers and rescue by M'cal.
The action is non-stop with several kidnappings of both M'cal and Kitala, separately and together, beatings, stabbings, blood and general violence which takes place all over the city (on land and underwater). An evil witch and her vampire henchman were rather over the top and I never really understood their motivations. In one extremely violent scene, I almost lost my lunch. SPOILER (DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EATING): M'cal gets in a physical battle with the witch and bites off her nose!!! What follows is descriptions of the blood pouring out of her face. Plus he has to spit it out! BLERG!!! I almost lost it right there. Can you believe I finished this book? I'm getting nauseous just typing this. I wish I could burn that memory out of my brain.
One other little complaint: The sex scene was hot but there one only ONE and I kept hoping and hoping there were more so it would make up for all the violence.
Liu's writing is very smooth flowing and rather poetic in descriptions of scenery and emotions but the character's actions and movements were not always clear to me and I found myself confused sometimes. The H/H were well written and believable but I think I would have liked the book a whole lot better without the violence.
I'm not ready to give up on Liu based on one book that didn't work for me. Her next book (7th) in the Dirk & Steele series, The Last Twilight, that has just been released takes place in Africa and sounds really good. Check out Liu's cool website. She has wallpaper and book trailers for the Dirke & Steele series. Very cool.