Jaz and Vayl's latest mission finds them pursuing some stolen biotechnology, and saving the world...again. :) Also along for the ride are Cole, Bergman and Cassandra. The group goes undercover at the Corpus Christi Winter festival - fighting reavers, human extremists and dragons. Jaz is still dealing with her unresolved issues and once more the ultimate villain (Samos) proves to be elusive.
It's slightly worrying (as I think I've said before :) ), when you've really enjoyed the first book in a series. Will the second maintain that level, or even surpass it? To be honest, I had a bit of a hiccup at the beginning of AOBTD, when I wasn't sure. However, this was the first book I'd read after finishing Iron Kissed, which was always going to be a tough act to follow.
The thing I adore about this series is the relationship between Jaz and Vayl. They have great chemistry together, but the situation doesn't feel forced or rushed. They are still having misunderstandings, very realistic as he's over 300 years old. At certain points in the book Jaz is somewhat self-involved, and thus there's a delay between Vayl's actions and her grasping what he's about. Unfortunately by the time she's up to speed, he's brooding. It's realistic though, that she's still dealing with the death of her fiance. She's trying to resolve the issues in her sleep, so you have to pick up the cues when surreal stuff starts happening, as she doesn't always realize she's dreaming. Very well written.
The dialogue is again snippy, sarcastic, witty and self-depracating. The banter between the characters means you are racing through the pages whilst at the same time not wanting it to end. There are so many quips to choose from. I have my favourites shortlisted to seven quotes, but that's too many, so here are a couple.
"Where are you going?" demanded Vayl.
Quick, think of a marvelous excuse he'll totally swallow.
Something was stuck in my throat. If I was a guy, I'd have sworn they were my testicles.
"Your brother called. He was worried about you."
..."What did he say?"
"He said you were a goddam mess!"
Okay that's technically three. My favourite is the 'snippy' comment on p59 of the UK issue. Just like book 1 the story is peppered with moments that make you laugh, wince and surprise you. And for those of you who've read book 1 and remember the hula dancing quote, p3 'belly dancing'. nuff said.
We learn more about the other members of the team in this book. Especially Bergman and Cassandra. Though it's not necessarily in what they say, but more in their behaviour and actions towards each other. There's a definite friction between them which makes for some snippy dialogue. He's very much of the technological and Cassandra is of the magical.
There's also stuff that's left unresolved here. So pay attention! I think it will be important in upcoming books. Especially Cassandra's vision, and there's also stuff going on with Jaz's dad. Speaking of Jaz's dad, he's great, see above quote, but I'm glad not to be related to him. Of some concern is that it's hinted Jaz might be developing new powers. Always a bit of a worry in urban fantasy that your hero/heroine is going to be 'The One', become super-powerful and boring. But that's a concern for a future book.
I think a lot of whether or not you like the Jaz and Vayl books will depend on whether you like Jaz's voice. In case you haven't guessed I love it. And will probably switch to FANGIRL ALERTS for future reviews as I'm clearly biased. I find her internal commentary hilarious, it takes the story to a different level for me.
Book 1 - Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Book 3 - Biting the Bullet