When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others—demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay….
As a déchet—a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war—Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being—an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth.
Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe…
It’s been a long while since I’ve read the blurb for this book, or bought it, so I essentially went into this blind. I had no idea what it was really about, or what was going to be happening. And so, I was taken on this wild ride, learning the world, pulled along by the plot, and enamoured with our main character, Tiger.
I’ve seen some people say that this is a bit of a wordy book, and I suppose that’s true in some places, but I never felt the lack of action, I was always on the edge of my seat, unable to put the book down. Because what Keri Arthur manages here is a beautiful blend of action and world-building. I was never lost in this world, despite not knowing anything about it when I started. Everything was explained and described in a way that never felt like info-dumps to me. I love that. I love that I was so immersed with Tig in this world that I cared about what happened.
We’ve all read the books with the supposed kick-ass heroine who is really TSTL (too-stupid-to-live). It doesn’t ever really surprise me anymore when I get a character that’s touted as incredibly intelligent and capable, but really flings him (or her)-self into danger unthinkingly time and time again. What does surprise me is when I get a character that actually exhibits those characteristics without me being told that’s what she is. Tig is that character. She is intelligent, smart, caring, and kick-ass. Seriously.
In a world where vampires rule the night, and it’s not safe to be out after dark, what’s a heroine to do when she hears a child crying in the distance, outside safety, at dusk? I’ll tell you what Tig does, she calmly and quickly arms up, sets her precaution/safety measures at her base, and then goes out to save the child. Knowing that a delay could be deadly, but that not taking these couple of moments to make sure the base is safe and she has the capability to actually save the child, instead of offering herself as an additional sacrifice and hoping for luck to save them both, Tig does the logical thing. Which means that she ends up saving not only the child, but the child’s guardian. And this is exhibited again and again and again in this book.
I love that. I love Tig. I love how she is with her “little ones” and how she isn’t afraid to use every weapon at her disposal to do what needs to be done. I love that there’s no shame over her sexuality, that there’s not even the slightest bit of self-recrimination for being who and what she is. I love that she respects herself. And I love that despite an attraction to another character, she doesn’t let it overrule her common sense, her sense of self, or her ability to get the job done. Thank the gods.
There are several other characters that I find incredibly interesting in this start to a series – Jonas, Sal, Nuri, and Penny, especially. And it seems that fate has entwined Tig in a battle of epic proportions. The fight for the very world’s balance and survival. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I’ve seen some people say the world is jumbled and confusing – and it could be, if Keri Arthur didn’t lay everything out so beautifully. I admit that occasionally I was reading so fast to find out what happens next that I sometimes had to slow myself down, go back and catch what I’d read over, but that was my fault, not the author’s. Everything is here to explain the world, and it’s so, so interesting.
There was a war over a hundred years ago between shifters and humans. It’s complicated and not neat. The shifters were the oppressed and fought back. The humans created new and terrifying super-soldiers, the déchet – programmed, and most unable to do anything without orders – to fight their stronger foe. What I really enjoy here is that Tig doesn’t focus so much on the reasons for the war, or who was right and who was wrong, but acknowledges that there were atrocities committed on both sides, that there were those that died tragically on both sides. And that the war is long over though the scars still remain. It’s time to start healing. Because the winners, despite the shifters declaring themselves as such, were really the vampires who feast on their prey in the dark. And there’s so much darkness now. And then there are the Others, those that appeared when the bombs tore rifts in the world and thrive in the night.
There are a lot of prejudices that some characters are forced to face and maybe start to overcome in this book. I like how it’s being handled now. I like how Tig expects better treatment than she often gets, and doesn’t just accept less because of whatever reason at the moment. I have high hopes that it continues to be handled well and that healing can truly take place.
I loved this book for the action and the storyline, for the world that I got to inhabit for a while, and the characters I walked beside while doing it. And I devoured it in a single day. But the more that I think about it after finishing it, the more I enjoy everything that I found in these pages, the deeper emotions that it pulls out in me, the bigger statements I appreciate it making.
Keri Arthur has created a fantastic new urban fantasy landscape that proves for all the light, there must be shadows. And sometimes you need a heroine that can walk in both.