PUBLISHER: Piatkus (UK) | Imajinn books (US)
RELEASE DATE: 2009 (UK) | August 2001 (US)
FORMAT: Paperback, 298 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
SOURCE: Own Copy
Sixteen teenagers missing. Eleven bodies recovered, completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible, but Jon Barnett knows it’s something far worse. To stop the killers, he needs help from recluse Madeline Smith, who is afraid of her psychic abilities which have killed. When “ghost” Jon Barnett warns Maddie of danger and her nephew disappears, she must leave her haven and place her trust in a man who is neither human nor ghost. As the noose of sorcery threatens to kill Madeline and Jon, the greatest danger to them both could be the feelings they have for each other. (Goodreads)
This book is difficult for me to review as I have neither a strong dislike or like for it. In fact if I were to describe a colour for this book, it would be neutral. I’ve never really felt this way about any book, even ones I dislike. So this review is an attempt to really think about why I feel the way I do about it.
First of all, there is the plot. It should be interesting as the heroine’s nephew has been kidnapped, there’s a secret organisation investigating the disappearances of her nephew along with a number of others, an empath/shifter hero, and there is black magic at work, yet the plot seems to move nowhere fast.
A few times I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at how stupid the two main characters were for taking the course of action they did. I literally found myself saying “Come on! Really! You are supposed to be some agent for a paranormal organisation and you are allowing this to happen??”
The plot could have been forgiven, if the two main characters had any characteristics which made me root for them. Unfortunately, for me they didn’t.
Madeline Smith, the female lead, was a walking contradiction. I gave her the benefit of the doubt due to her pretty horrible past, both at the hands of her family and her ex-husband. I knew that his death had something to do with her abilities, which is why she’s psychic and also a pyrotechnic. However, even though she has been through hell, the “instant chemistry” she feels for Jon Barnett, the male lead, seems to smooth over everything. Maddie has been the victim of domestic abuse in the past, yet although she keeps saying how Jon scares her, she trusts him fully.
I think the main issue I had was that Maddie just didn’t have enough of a personality for me to feel anything for her. Without this there is no connection between the character and the reader.
As for Jon, he comes across as a bit of an arrogant jerk. Even though he can sense Maddie’s feelings, he disregards them completely to the point of insensitivity. He keeps saying to himself that this attraction is not what he needs and that it’s better to keep his distance.
The villains are your typical pantomime villains. There is some interesting stuff to do with black magic, but as is pointed out in the movie The Incredibles, the main villain ends up monologue. I did laugh at this and tend to do this a lot when, rather than attacking, the villain just rambles on and on.
I would have loved to learn more about this organisation that Jon works for, yet it seems that will be covered in next novel, yet this is the first in the series. The ending was pretty predictable and the little epilogue, which picked up a year and a half after the conclusion of the main story, didn’t give enough to redeem it.
A very vanilla story that I didn’t have any feelings for one way or the other. There was potential for a good story, but it was lost due to characters with little or no personality.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1. Circle of Fire
2. Circle of Death
3. Circle of Desire