Mortal Ties Mass Market Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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“One of the best Were series I have ever read.”--Fresh Fiction
"Wilks’s storytelling style is so densely layered with plot complexities and well-defined characters...There is no better way to escape reality than with a Wilks adventure!”--RT Book Reviews
“Eileen Wilks writes what I like to read.”--Linda Howard, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Eileen Wilks is a national bestselling author and a four-time RITA Award finalist, and has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In my review of the previous installment I had expressed frustration at the lack of emotion between Lily and Rule. I was hoping to see a turn around in that department this time around, but while there was some progress, their relationship is still missing that compelling spark that drew me to them in the first place. In the earlier books, despite Lily fighting against the mate bond, there still was an all consuming feeling about things between them. I realize that relationships are always more intense in the beginning, but they should still retain at least some of that original frenzy to keep things fresh. Sure, the words were there on paper that they love and need one another, that's really all it felt like, words. I just would greatly prefer to be swept up in between them and their emotions.
Another one of my issues with the last book was that the threat was more in the abstract rather than front and center. I'm happy to say that was not a problem at all in Mortal Ties. Sometimes while writing reviews I have a difficult time figuring out exactly what to say as to avoid spoilers, I can't really get into any specifics. That is definitely the case here as there were several new elements added to the story that made a major impact on both the characters and the overall story arc as well. I'd love to go into depth about a lot of that as some things were rather shocking, but I'll just leave it at that so you can enjoy those things for yourselves.
If I had to categorize these books, I would place the first several installments firmly into the paranormal romance category. While there was plenty of plot momentum, both in the books themselves, and the overall series arc as a whole, there still was a great deal of focus on the romance between whatever couple had the limelight at the time. However, with the last few books it seems that these books are moving more and more into the Urban Fantasy genre as the romance has taken a severe back seat at this point. Granted, this is more of a grumbling complaint from me rather than a real flaw with the books as I'm really a hopeless romantic at heart. Once you show me any potential for romance in a book, I want to see it and keep it. So while rating the book, I have to force myself to take a step back and away from my romantic preferences and really look at the enjoyment factor of the book as a whole. And, once I did, I realized that I actually enjoyed this book a great deal. In fact once I picked it up I couldn't seem to put it down despite other obligations weighing on me. If that isn't a sign of a good book, then I don't know what is. So I'm hoping that the next book will go smoother for me now that I've finally accepted the feeling of the slight genre switch. So all together, Mortal Ties will more than please fans of the series as it brings the threat front and center and will leave your heart pounding from the incredibly high stakes.
What a romp! Fast paced mystery that keeps you turning pages and staying up late. Welcome to the world of the Lupi a mix of urban fantasy, mystery thriller, and paranormal romance. You can't beat it.
I absolutely love this series and the start of the book is really really good because it highlights all the reasons for my fan-girl love: there are such wonderful nuances to the Lupi world, and so many of the characters are insightful and intelligent. Mortal Ties has many great moments where those insights and that intelligence is put to use, and Isen's manipulations in the hunt for the conspirators and Lily's part in the search for the missing item - including an interesting 'interview' with one of the players in the actual game which precipitated the theft - are just a few. I also really liked watching Rule sort out his feelings about a change in his role as Leidolf Rho and attempting to deal with his emotions when a long held secret associated with thief's identity opens an old wound.
Always a big plus in a series with a large continuing cast, it was fun to see more of some old favorite characters - though some have just short cameos - I am greedy for as much Cullen, Cynna, Isen, and Madame Lu as I can get. (Sam, Benedict, Arjenie and Ruben are off-screen though, sniff.) And I thought that the new characters introduced in the story - Jasper, Tony and Alycithin all added some wonderful elements to the story too. But above all, I love Rule and Lily together - I don't think that I will ever get enough of them.
The last part of the book, when all of the elements of the plot start unfolding and all of the players start making their moves against Rule and Lily, is good too, and as events built up to the big finish, I was so worried that Wilks was going to leave us with a cliff-hanger ending that I sneaked a peek at the final scene to prepare myself for that eventuality. In case you are wondering, the events from this story do come to a resolution before the end of the book, which is good in some ways but the way things wrapped up - and as much as I enjoyed Mortal Ties - I am not sure what this book actually 'added' to the forward motion of the series arc itself. But then again I was confused about the final fate of the object that caused the entire mess, so it maybe that is the piece that will stir things up in the next book or maybe some changes in Rule will cause some shake-ups in Nicolai.
Either way, I can't wait to find out what happens next when the story continues in 2013 with Ritual Magic and even though I am not sure where Wilks will take us in the next book, I hope that there are still a few more books left to go in the series before the final confrontation between the Lupi's mortal enemy who is not named and the Lupi's Lady goddess, because I am going to be sad when this series is finally done.
So we have another case to solve. We have new characters come into play. We have some old ones show up and a bit more fleshed out. Beth, Lilly's sister was one. I almost felt her love interest should have been played up more, because *** SPOILER*** Sean does get rescued yet we don't hear how that impacts Beth. Beth meets more hunky Lupi yet whatever was going on in an earlier book with one showing interest in her, she is still single and looking. Yes, Beth was fleshed out more but not enough 'meat' for me.
Cullen -- I am so glad he wasn't kidnapped, beaten up, shot, and inprisioned. He only got burned and that was self inflicted. Yes, he was an intented kidnap target but that never materialized. That was good. Cullen has had it rough in every single book and it's nice to see a break in that routine. His wife isn't even in danger.
So Rule finds a brother he didn't know about and this book goes into his emotions. He had to resolve issues with his mother. Add in a brother that is gay and a thief, one who sold out Rule's best friend and his clan. Then he has to deal with Lilly missing, the mate bond going bonkers, and unable to cope. His Rho mantle kicking in. All these things happening in this book yet I didn't feel the connection to where all this was going for Rule. All his emotions and fall out were second place to the plot of solving the case. It was sidelined. Rule and Lilly were so busy with everything else they didn't take time to connect and once Lilly was missing, Rule basically had a breakdown. He couldn't function, couldn't think. Yet once grandmother came, he snapped out of it, let her lead, and I wonder what that tells us about women in Rules life and how he wants them to take over when bad things happen. And through all this soul searching with Rule, he never really connects well with Lilly. It all starts with Mick's anniversary and sorrow over that and witholding that heartbreak from her. And he's still doing it.
I would LOVE for something on Ruben and how he's doing as a Rho. How he's adjusting to his wolf. How his wife is adjusting and the new clan adjusting to him. But no, nothing on that. Instead we get brief phone calls with Ruben and he's always there for Lilly, sending planes, getting research coordinated, he's just in the background making things happen. He was like a fairy godfather in this book. Have a problem? Call Ruben. Forget that it's late, he always answers the phone. Just call. He'll make it happen. And it does. It was almost too trite.
I'm not sure how I feel about Sam shutting the door on Lilly. For once she isn't the center of everyone's world and I know that shocked her. She is ignored. Frankly, I thought her mental thoughts were too long, it's no wonder Rule got the message all garbled. No wonder Sam cut her off, regardless of what he was doing, if you had a huge paragraph mentally coming, wouldn't you cut it off, too? I don't think I even read her whole message, I was more concerned if it got through.
I also wonder what happened to the two teens that belong to both the Nokolai and Leidolf. Rule only took Leidolf guards with him to San Francisco so yeah, I'm wondering what happened to those two. .. .
So Beth's bodyguard gets shot, goes to the hospital, and sent out to the Laban clan to recover. No follow up on him, no check up on him by Rule or even Beth, even after her heartfelt confession in the hospital to her sister.
And this problem with Beth not knowing the full facts on Robert Friar. Really? After all that happened to her and all the news stuff on Robert Friar? Sorry, not believable. That mention of Beth interested in a guy named Sean, the shoes, and the sweater, getting ready for his ride. .. . To hear the guys name is Sean Friar. You bet I perked up! But. ... Then I wait chapters not knowing if Sean is with his brother and duping Beth or what. I'm left hanging and not knowing until pages and pages later. Stupid.
Yeah, we don't know if Cullen recovered his proto-type. It's assumed. No resolve with Lilly and Rule or Rule confessing how his 'losing' her impacted him, no sharing between Lilly and Rule. Lilly almost dies yet she's still on the job, making sure her half-elf friend lives and has time to scratch her grandmother in tiger form.
Nothing on Leo and how his being kicked from Rho and what he's doing, how that's impacting his clan. The new Rho could have mentioned it but he doesn't.
The details on who sits where, who sleeps where, who is inside and outside guarding, which security cameras are operational, which aren't, who is driving, who is following, what car they're driving, who's sitting up front, who needs to 'promise not to share clan secrets' while chatting in the car, where they're going, how many miles away, what weapons they have, what weapons they don't have, PLEASE! All those details were just too much and slowed the story down. It's great Rule feeds his people. But again, details. How many room service calls do we have to read about? What type of food? Sandwiches? Cullen, "These look good" and grabs a bite. PLEASE!
While I enjoyed some parts of the book, others just came up short.
The majority of the story takes place in San Francisco and involves another clan new to us, a couple of characters that will probably continue to be important in the future, and visiting sidhe. All of the major characters are involved, although some are not on scene. It's nice to see the FBI actually willing to work with the lupi for a change. Robert Friar is definitely alive and more of a threat than they imagined.
There's plenty going on, action and danger, and as is true in the last few books, the ongoing back story which began early in the series, has become more of the major focus. We finally learn more about Lily's sister Beth, grandma is on scene (now there's a character you have to love, yet probably never want to meet) and Rule's position as Rho of Leidolf is making things interesting.
What I really enjoy about this series, and is quite evident in this book, is the politics involved both within a clan, between the clans and how they deal with others--and why. The other thing is magical theory. It blows me away that this author makes the theories seem not only reasonable, but highly likely; as if she lived in that world and uses it. Some of it does get rather deep, but as often happens, another character will step in and say it's too much explanation.
My one and only criticism is that as we're approaching the story's climax, one of the scenes just seems to go on too long; probably because I was anxious for the resolution. But a relationship is being formed that becomes important to this story and possibly in the future.
The first couple of books started out with a great deal more romance, but as Rule and Lily became comfortable with being mated, the focus shifted to different challenges and furthering the back story. We're never in doubt about how Rule and Lily feel for the other, but don't expect hearts, flowers and a lot of sex in this one. But that doesn't mean that their relationship is stagnant. It's growing and they're still learning lessons on how best to deal with each other. The anticipated wedding is still over a month away.
We also get an excerpt from the next book, Ritual Magic. Wow. I'm more anxious than ever to get my hands on the next book.