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When Wicked Craves by J.K. Beck

November 22, 2010

The Shadow Keepers #3

Publisher: Bantam

Publication Date: October 26, 2010

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Status: Third in the Shadow Keepers series by J.K. Beck. It will be followed by an e-novella that takes place between books three and four. Book four, When Passion Lies, will be followed by When Danger Hungers and When Temptation Burns. No publication dates are available yet for books four through six.

Source: Purchased by self

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Location: Los Angeles, New York and, briefly, Paris

Other Info: This book features the heroes and heroines from the first two novels (Luke and Sarah, Lissa and Rand). Other recurring characters make appearances: Doyle and his partner Marcus, Sergius, Nostromos Bosch and Tiberius.

Description: (From Amazon):

Petra Lang is cursed never to love. One touch of her skin unleashes the vilest demons. Sentenced to death by the Shadow authorities, who fear she’ll turn her curse against them, Petra is rescued by vampire advocate Nicholas Montegue. As their bodies merge and transform into mist, Petra feels an erotic longing.

Nicholas risked his own life to save Petra, yet he knows he can never give in to the explosive attraction he feels for her. But the deep yearning they share tempts them. Together, they must find a way to lift the curse. For only a love this strong has the power to overcome such monstrous evil.

I think I might have mentioned a time or two that I was really anticipating this book. It was something about meeting Nicholas in book one and knowing that he was going to get his own book eventually. It’s a bizarre form of unresolved sexual tension. Anyway, I wish I could say that it lived up to my expectations, but I’m afraid it didn’t. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t swoon over it and hug it to my chest like that lady in that old Rice Krispie Treats commercial. You know, where she pretends to have slaved over a hot stove to make the desert, but really she’s just reading a romance novel…never mind.

The rest of the review has spoilers for the first two books in the series–particularly book two, so I’m hiding it.

My disappointment in this book came from too many missing things. For example, the book opens with Petra being prepared for execution. Remember how in the last book, she touched Sergius and he turned into a monster? Well, it turns that Petra’s Touch is part of a prophecy with basically spells disaster for vampires, werewolves and the Alliance. Nicholas was serving as Petra’s lawyer because she was in big trouble for touching Serge like he freaking asked her to. Sheesh. I mean, you’d’ve thought that someone would point that out, just once. At the end of When Pleasure Rules, when all this action happened, I got excited, waiting for Petra and Nicholas’ first interaction. I was doomed to disappointment. They don’t talk to each other at all. Then, because this book starts with Petra being executed, the first time we see them interact isn’t the first time they have interacted. They might as well not have ever met before. I think that would have been more successful, actually.

Also, it turns out that Petra’s gift of the Touch (which basically releases a demon worse than the one a vampire is constantly fighting back) is a family curse. According to the lore of the Shadow World, supernatural creatures come from two brothers. These two were kind of like Adam and Eve. Except that all the vampires are from Adam and all the werewolves are from Eve and they never interbred. Yet. The two original brothers teamed up to destroy brother number three because they knew he was stronger than them. The curse is part of Third Brother’s plan for revenge.  The plan involves destroying the Alliance, which means destroying each faction’s leader (Tiberius of the vamps and Gunnolf of the werein). So, basically, Petra’s just a pawn. A pawn in Brother Number Three’s insidious plan.

Petra’s gift means she can’t touch anyone except on the night of a blue moon. And, conveniently, there’s one shortly after Nicholas saves her from being executed. Cue the sex scene. The convenient blue moon is kind of emblematic of the problems I had with this book. Nicholas has a remarkably easy time getting over Lissa (with whom he was still in love in the last book), and he falls in love with Petra at the drop of a hat. And it really bothered me that neither of them ever reflected on the times they met before the novel began. I mean, he was her lawyer for heaven’s sake. They had some kind of interaction before, even if it was sitting in a cell talking about how she was probably going to die.

Even worse than the blue moon thing and the falling in love is easy thing; the tidiest moments come at the end of the book. The question of Petra’s overprotective brother? Poof. The fact that Nicholas is a vampire and will, therefore, never age? Dealt with. The curse? Check. I’m not usually one to protest happy endings, but I was disappointed that all the answers came so easily. I felt that Nicholas and Petra deserved better. I certainly wanted better for them.

The good news is that I still want to read the next three books in the series. The next book, When Passion Lies appears to be Caris and Tiberius’. At least, I know it’s Caris’ and I assume her hero is Tiberius. Which is kind of a shame, really. I was hoping his book would come later, a la Hawke’s book. Still, there are promising males yet: Doyle is picture perfect for the tortured hero, but I’m guessing that Serge will have him cold on that front. I remain cautiously optimistic.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 23, 2010 7:24 am

    Aww, I hate when a book I’ve really been excited about and waiting for is a bit disappointing. I haven’t read any in the series but I like the sound of it, so I’ll be checking out the first two. Hope the next one lives up to your expectations a bit more:)

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