Title: Circle of Desire [Damask Circle 3]
Author: Keri Arthur
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, Horror
Rating: 3 Stars
Two children have been found dead, their souls torn from their bodies. Two more are missing, and Ethan Morgan’s niece is one of them. A dedicated cop, Ethan has every intention not only of bringing her back alive but of catching the monster behind these kidnappings. And he will use anyone and everyone to achieve those aims—even a crazy woman who claims to be a witch. But time is ticking. The victims rarely stay alive for more than seven days. Four of those days have already passed.
In ten years of working for the Damask Circle, shapeshifter Katherine Tanner has never come across anything that goes after kids the way this monster does. The last thing Kat needs is interference from a cop who has no idea what he’s up against. But the greatest threat to Kat may come not from the forces of darkness, but from the man she is beginning to love. Because Ethan is a werewolf . . . and the full moon is rising.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
First of all, my love to the cover designer – it’s gorgeous. That being said, the book itself had some ups and downs. I began this book in the midst of a serious review drought where it seemed 80% of the books I was getting were poorly edited/written. I had some high hopes for this one because the cover was so gorgeous, and the plot was an interesting one. Unfortunately, stepping into the story I was somewhat underwhelmed by what I found.
I had an extremely hard time getting into this book right off the bat. The first 11 or so pages are riddled with notes I made as I read through that go something like this:
Narrative tends to be contradictory and dramatic.
Is the main character Lesbian? Why is she calling some woman “Oriental perfection”?
Why is this “seasoned member” of the Damask Circle acting like she’s a rookie? Is it normal for her to be this terrified of her job three books into the series?
Redundant… we know the child is already screaming, why bring it up a second time only a paragraph later?
Wait.. the… what? The soul sucker wrapped itself around a window….I’m trying to imagine this.
Paragraph is choppy. Too many rhetorical questions. Get on with the story.
Wow. Dramatic. It had the power to suck the essence from her body and destroy all that she was, all she could be, both now and in future reincarnations…. really?
…she can’t tell the difference between paralyzing fear and cold weather?… seriously?
Cliché…fantasies of long nights and silk sheets… that totally hasn’t been said in every romance novel ever.
…So why didn’t he damn well die, like all bad little vampires should?….*Facepalm*
Obviously, my notes are usually a bit sarcastic, but I stand by them. The narrative didn’t feel like it was written by an adult, let alone one who’s written several books before. The mistakes made were rookie mistakes in the writing world, and I can only assume that this hadn’t seen a good editor yet. Overall I found the narrative overly dramatic, and at times, redundant. The main character, Kat, always seemed to “act tough” and had a tendency to spout dramatic one-liners—but on the other side of the coin acted terrified of her own job… as if she hadn’t gone through two previous novels in the series fighting baddies.
As a whole, I found Kat really hard to believe in. The character was wishy-washy with her emotions and extremely dramatic (dramatic seems to be my catch-phrase of the novel today. May it emphasize how over the top I felt this story was). I eye-rolled a few times. Some of the other characters weren’t bad (Kat’s grandmother for instance), but the main male lead wasn’t really any better than Kat.
Ethan was your typical alpha male werewolf who hated who he was and due to a dramatic past trauma, sulked around saying he would never have kids and wasn’t interested in romance…. then proceeded to have steamy sex with Kat for the entirety of the story. It was your classic “I want a relationship!” “I hate relationships but let’s have sex!” “Okay… I can probably change you!” “You’re right, you probably can!” romance plot. It was easy to see where the story was going from the very beginning, and it got there fast.
The redeeming part of this novel, was that the plot was entertaining. Here’s this supernatural creature that’s stealing children for god-knows-what purposes, and they show up dead a few days later. It’s a murder mystery at it’s heart, wrapped in a good dose of supernatural evil. There are some definite gory bits, and quite a bit of material that will probably make you cringe. Despite the fact that the writing style was eye-roll worthy, the story itself was entertaining enough that I was able to push past the first few chapters and finish the book.
Was it the greatest book I’ve ever read? No. Would I read it again? Maybe if I were extremely bored… but it was enjoyable if you’re able to push past the lack of clean writing. I’m giving this story a solid 3 stars. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. On the bright side, if you’ve never read any of the previous Damask Circle books, you can jump right in with this one. Though it’s the third book in the series, it stands on it’s own just fine, and you shouldn’t have a problem getting inducted into the world building even this late in the game.