Friday, November 21, 2008

Review – “Bite the Bullet” by L.A. Banks

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
Sasha Trudeau considers herself a soldier first and a werewolf second. But while her secret government-sanctioned task-force faces its greatest challenge so far, Sasha faces something much more primal: the undeniable pull of the moon—and her own desires.

With rogue wolves savaging both the human and paranormal worlds, Sasha’s team of elite operatives has one job: destroy the rogues and isolate the deadly toxin that’s poisoned their blood. But the challenge is far more complicated than Sasha could have imagined. Soon she is thrust into a full-scale supernatural war for supremacy—and the only man left who Sasha can turn to might be the biggest danger to her of all. . .and in more ways than one.
Bite the Bullet is the second book in the Crimson Moon series. This urban fantasy follows closely after the action of Bad Blood (see my earlier review here). Sasha and Hunter continue on the trail of the infected Shadow Wolves that betrayed them trying to prevent them from reaching the scheduled Council meeting of supernaturals in New Orleans.

Sasha is slowly adapting to her new found Shadow Wolf abilities. Her developing relationship with Hunter becomes complicated and an emotional rollercoaster when Hunter’s dormant werewolf virus reappears and Sasha’s alpha mating condition threatens everyone’s control. There are numerous angsty moments as Hunter time and again is faced with life-threatening situations and decisions.

Bite the Bullet is principally an action thriller so skirmishes and fight scenes predominate, layered with a labyrinth of preternatural politics. At times I did find some of the plot threads confusing, unsure of relationships of what faction was doing what and to whom. However this never slowed the pacing. Sasha’s inside “geek team” team is deployed on field assignment to New Orleans and brings with them an arsenal of high tech weapons and gadgetry. Based on the capabilities of some of the weapons I sometimes questioned the realism portrayed in their use, but again a minor quibble.

There are several scenes with the French vampires, Francois and Etienne, that are conspiring with, and betraying, the infected Shadow Wolves. I am not certain if it was intentional, but I found the scenes very campy and a nice diversion. You could almost see them twisting their moustaches.

Banks also reintroduces the werewolf Shogun from the Asian clans and a competing love interest for Sasha. Despite Hunter’s declarations of love, Sasha is not prepared to commit as she is unsure if her attraction and feelings are a result of her new Shadow Wolf nature or a true emotional connection. There is no HEA yet for Hunter and Sasha. It is a nice change of pace to see a strong heroine that doesn’t just dash into the heroes arms.

Surprisingly it isn’t until the Epilogue that our protagonists finally make it to the Council Conference where we gain a broader insight into the scope of Banks’ supernatural community and world. This section seemed a bit rushed and it would have been nice to see this expanded.

Bite the Bullet wraps up the main story arcs for the first two books in the series in a satisfactory manner and effectively creates the foundation for future Crimson Moon stories. Although at times uneven, Bite the Bullet nevertheless offers a diverting blend of paranormal romance and action thriller. With the world building and character introductions soundly established, be on the lookout for stronger future installments.

AUTHOR AND BOOK SHOWCASE

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1.

St. Martin's Press
Published: September 2008
ISBN #: 9780312949129
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352

Crimson Moon Series

  1. Bad Blood (2008)
  2. Bite the Bullet (2008)
  3. Undead On Arrival (2009)


4 comments:

  1. I just read your review, I do agree there were moments that I did confuse the uninfected werewolves with the infected werewolves. But as I kept reading through it would gradually make more sense whom was whom. I figured the reason I was getting it confused was that I had not read Bad Blood.

    Also I completely see the upcoming books clarifying Sasha's family background. Banks sets up this platform in more then one scene throughout the book. I'm also guessing that the Doctor is her biological father, what do you think?

    I'm looking forward to reading book three. I have a few books that I'm currently reading and I'm going to have to add Bad Blood on my "to do list".

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  2. It's amazing how much more popular werewolves are in paranormals and paranormal romances lately! I still think Patricia Briggs' is one of my favorites though.

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  3. Tanya, I hadn't considered that Doc might be her father but it is an interesting speculation. He is rather protective about her. I think the books will improve now that the series framework has been established.

    Lady_tink, I agree Patricia Briggs is one of the best urban fantasy writers and she does great werewolves. But Mercy is a coyote isn't she?

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  4. I'm looking forward to Banks follow up book to the series. Until then we won't know if my guess is right..lol

    I'm currently on Chapter 14 of Any Given Doomsday, this book is action packed. The lead character is reminding me a lot to the main character from the series The Walker Papers,By C.E. Murphy.

    Joanne Walker inherits her dormant gift after her mother dies, same here with Liz the exception that it's not her biological mother. She also is a reluctant hero with a gift as is Liz. That's about it for the comparisons...until I finish reading the book. :)

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