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Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Wicked Kiss (Nightwatchers #2)

By: Michelle Rowen

Release Date: February 26, 2013

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary: MY KISS CAN KILL. I used to be ordinary Samantha Day, but that’s changed. Now, after one dark kiss from a dangerous boy, I can steal someone’s soul…or their life. If I give in to the constant hunger inside me, I hurt anyone I kiss. If I don’t…I hurt myself.Bishop is the one whose kiss I crave most, but if I kiss him, I’ll kill him. Then there’s another boy, one I can’t hurt. One whose kiss seems to miraculously quell my hunger. They’re both part of a team of angels and demons that’s joined forces in my city to fight a mysterious rising darkness, an evil that threatens everyone I know and love. I just wonder if I’ll be able to help Bishop-or if I’m just another part of the darkness he’s sworn to destroy….

NIGHTWATCHERS

When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising…



Review:

After reading Wicked Kiss, I stand by everything I said in my review of Dark Kiss. The characters really are generic and the story is absolutely by the books, but there’s just something about Michelle Rowen’s writing that turns what should be an average paranormal romance (read: a substandard book) into a fairly decent reading experience. In fact, I have to say Wicked Kiss is even an improvement over Dark Kiss, something I wasn’t expecting at all.

One of the things I remember saying in my review of Dark Kissthough is something to the effect of the characters didn’t really work for me because ‘I’ve seen [so] many of these triangles where the nice and slightly bookish girl has to choose between the serious hero and the sarcastic antihero [that] I just don’t care anymore – not that I really cared before’ – and then I called out Bishop for being well-meaningly boring and Kraven for being stereotypically sarcastic. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that Rowen’s expanded on the back story and the conflict between the two, and although the specifics of that conflict should be predictable enough to anyone who’s read the first book, the flashbacks scenes themselves and then Samantha’s reactions to what she’s learned are sufficiently well done to lend an air of credibility to Bishop and Kraven’s relationship. It isn’t much and is completely expected, but still, it works to make these two generic characters, well, more interesting. That, and by now it’s not really a triangle, Kraven’s written more as the sarcastic best friend who might have a shot but really doesn’t, so the entire gimmicky relationship thing between Sam, Bishop, and Kraven which was like six or seventy percent of what made the first book feel so ordinary is really no longer an issue.

I think I also said ‘sidekicks Roth and Zach are more interesting than [Bishop and Kraven]’, and surprisingly, they’re still big parts of the story, despite the loads of (predictable yet effective) character development heaped on Bishop and Kraven. Maybe it’s because, as readers of Rowen’s high fantasy series Falling Kingdoms can attest, she’s not averse to killing off her characters, and an effectively placed death now and then does actually work quite well. Shocking, yes, and I was totally sold. Then again, I wasn’t really sold at first on new angel Cassandra, ostensibly introduced to cause trouble for Samantha but whose storyline ends up being as stereotypically predictable as her character, especially when Sam introduces her with lines like:

I’d known Cassandra the Perky Blonde Angel for an hour now and I was insanely and irrationally resentful of her immediate connection with Bishop.

Or:

Cassandra was beautiful, capable, smart and strong – and she could heal injuries with a mere touch. She was an angel, too. They had everything in common with each other.

Irrational or not, I hated her stupid blond guts.

Eh, not cool, but even still it really didn’t matter for me because even though I could tell right away what was going to happen with her character, (the rest of) Rowen’s writing is strong enough that the developments, though no surprise, were still pretty effective when they came – and that goes for Sam’s mean girl nemesis Jordan as well.

My last point in my review of the first book was how the tone and mood in Dark Kiss totally rocked for a dark urban fantasy. I didn’t feel those elements as strongly in Wicked Kiss, but in a way that’s also a good thing, because the upside of not spending so much time building up the Trinity scenery is that the pacing is much better this go around and I really felt like I was learning something new about the mythology of the series in every chapter. Well, except there are really two different villains in the story, so there’s a first climax when I thought the book would be over with about a fifth of the book still to go, and then a second climax later on closer to the end. I’m not sure why we need the second one – seems to me like it was tacked on to give (an open ended) closure to the series in case this ends at two books – but it’s a little distracting to think the book is over and then learn, nope, more stuff happening. Oh, and some obvious things, like the haunted mansion or Seth’s real identity, are telegraphed a little too loudly and sort of ruined the surprise factor.

Still, even if unpredictability has never been either of the twoNightwatchers books’ strong suits, the writing certainly is. Anyone who liked the first book has to come back for this.


Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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