Blood Lines is the third book in Eileen Wilks’ Lupi series, Tempting Danger and Mortal Danger being the first and second books respectively. There’s also a novella that sits between the first and second books, and gives some additional backstory, but it’s not strictly necessary to read it in order to follow the overall story arc.
Random bits and bobs: Firstly, the cover’s really striking – there’s a foil-effect on the blue background, and the online image doesn’t really do it justice. Also, if you’re interested, here’s the book synopsis from Ms Wilks’ website and here’s the excerpt.
From the back cover blurb:
Touch-sensitive FBI agent Lily Yu and her werewolf bond-mate are recruited by the Secret Service to help identify elected officials that have accepted demonic pacts. But Lily must turn to fellow agent Cynna Weaver for help when Cynna’s former teacher, a demon master, emerges as the main suspect behind the pacts.
After a demon commits a gruesome murder, sorcerer Cullen Seabourne joins the team racing the clock to find the apprentice of evil who uses the demon to kill. Cynna and Cullen must work together – a challenge indeed when each has good reaso to ignore the desire simmering between them. But passion and events both spiral out of control as an ancient prophecy is fulfilled – and the lupi’s greatest enemy sets her sights on total devastation…
Right, the back cover blurb is slightly misleading, as it isn’t really Cullen and Cynna’s book – I would say that Lily and Rule take up equal time. And actually, there are so many sub-plots going on that it would be near impossible to summarise on a back cover.
Here’s why I loved this book:
Ms Wilks’ Lupi series stands out from all the other urban fantasies out there. It’s not just your average wallpaper werewolf romance – it’s a very well thought out and detailed otherworld. I love her explanation of the tie between werewolves and the moon, and depth of werewolf traditions and rituals. Added to that is the fact that one of the main characters, Lily Yu, is Chinese-American, which allows her to incorporate bits of Chinese culture that ring true to me.
If you’ve read the second book, you’ll know why Lily and Rule’s relationship has hit a slight bump in the road. The scenes in this book where they dealt with the aftermath, both singly and together, were lovely. I liked the fact that while they still loved each other and were bonded as mates, they had to work to get their relationship back to where it was – there wasn’t a quick-fix solution.
I’ll be honest – it isn’t a perfect book. The world-building wasn’t as smooth as it could have been – Ms Wilks sometimes fell back to the old device of having people describe Lupi traditions to Lily and Cynna (who are relative newbies) to explain her world to the reader. And the POV transitions were not always smooth – I found myself re-reading some scenes just to understand whose POV we were seeing. And oh dear, the multiple plot threads. Nuff said.
But… ah heck, I don’t read this series for the plot, I read it because I love the characters, the relationship between Lily and Rule, and yes, Cynna/Cullen are growing on me. There are lots of questions I really hope Ms Wilks will address in the next book (where the main characters will be Cynna and Cullen). I want to know:
- How is Cynna going to handle the Rhej position and its implications? My guess is that she’ll probably dragged kicking and screaming into the fold of the Nokolai clan (especially considering other events)
- How is Rule going to handle the dual mantles? Some potential for inter-clan rivalry and politics, methinks – heck, even inter-family
- How is Rule and Toby’s relationship going to develop? Aaaah, this should be interesting…
And you know what – I don’t really care about the Codex Arcanum and the potential end of the world.
Overall, this book was a great read, but misses out on the A category for me, because it wasn’t really a stand-alone book and there were just a few too many plot threads. I half-wish that she could have gotten rid of some of them, and focused more on the intriguing ones. For example, I would have liked more about Rule’s struggles with his werewolf half, and wouldn’t mind not having Lily’s grandmother in this book (don’t get me wrong – I love Li Lei, but didn’t really think her scenes contributed much to this book).
I wouldn’t start reading this series with this book, and it definitely helps if you’ve recently re-read the first two, just so that you can remember what’s happening. Having said all that, I can’t wait for the next book (Night Season, due March 2008), but I really really hope Ms Wilks wraps up some of the open questions and starts streamlining the story arc soon before it becomes too much of a mess.