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Series: Strange Angels #5
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
The electric finale in New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels series!
Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha – rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires – the worst is yet to come.
Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?
DRU ANDERSON’S NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK.
BUT SHE SHOULD BE.
What do I have to do to get a half-star around here? ‘Cause Reckoning is a solid example of a 3.5-er that I now have no choice but to accept at either a 3-star or 4-star read. And since I more than just “liked” it, I’m afraid rounding up was the only way to go.
It’s all come down to this. The King of Vampires Sergei’s relentless search for the only known living svetocha, the wait for Dru to “bloom,” the conclusion to her switchbacking between Christophe and Graves, secrets of her past that not even she knew about… it all comes to a head.
I have to start at the ending (mostly because I just finished, and I don’t wanna forget I have this thought). WHY IS NAT IMPORTANT? Her character was probably the least interesting, least necessary, most infuriating last-minute throw-in that could possibly exist in the Strange Angels universe, and the fact that she and Dru have this cute, sweet, touching “moment” in the epilogue had absolutely no impact whatsoever. Because I didn’t care about her. Why should Dru? Both Dru and I, the reader, knew Nat for all of five minutes between this book and the last, Defiance, so the focus on her–wasting the epilogue scene, the final dénouement, on her–basically squandered what could’ve been a great conclusion.
That’s not all that ruined it, though. I appreciated that St. Crow retained the forethought to let Dru be alone for a while, but it was never by choice. Dru complains that being a grown up is hard work, well, yeah, it is when you’re a spoiled child. I’ve been doing grown folks’ business since I was 16-17, and it’s not that hard when you make a decision, stick to it and accept the consequences. For Dru, none of that has to happen. She never chooses Christophe’s help, the Order’s interference (or protection), the vendetta against Sergei, NOTHING! (view spoiler) Once again, Dru is spared the difficult decisions that would actually be very mature and adult of her to make.
My last and biggest complaint centers around the character of Dru herself. This young lady and I obviously need to sit down in a roomful of Southern belles and explain to her that she needs to conduct herself in a better manner if she wishes to represent us in such a disproportionate way. I mean, the girl thinks she’s justified in saying she’s better than everyone else who isn’t from the South.
“You’re above the Mason-Dixon, boy. That automatically makes you Yank.”
That was to Graves, mind you.
EXCUSE ME. *raises hand* I’m from the South, okay? And I grew up around Yanks. Real Yanks. Like, New York Yankees. And I grew up around Old South, too. I got no grudge against either. It’s no secret I’m not fond of Northerners, their weird accents and ways of sayin’ things, but HOLY RABIES it’s not like I think I’m better than everyone “above” the Mason-Dixon. And “Southern” ain’t somethin you can just claim because you’re grandmother raised you in some backwoods shack for a short few of your formative years. It’s a way you got about yourself, and it’s nothing Dru’s got goin’ for her. Take her around where my family stays, and she’d be a duck outta water in her so-called “Southern ways.” She needs a swift attitude adjustment if she thinks she’s gonna get away with that attitude for the rest of her life.
And, by God, being above the Mason-Dixon “automatically” makes you “Yank”? West-coasters, east-coasters, midwesterners, ALASKANS & HAWAIIANS &c., golly you’re all Yanks now, according to Ms. Anderson. Gosh.
Yeah, fuck that.
Anyway, she has a shit-ton of other problems about herself, but in the end she escapes barefaced and remorseless.
I will say one thing for the progression of the story: boy, was I in it to win it. Other than Defiance, which was stunted in length and therefore doesn’t count, this is the fastest I’ve ever read (listened to) a Strange Angels (audio)book. That’s sayin’ somethin’! What else is sayin’ somethin’? I still wanna buy these books in print.
So there you go, St. Crow. You got your $$$ offa me!
But I do gotta say, I was perusing the (rather desolate and abandoned-looking) Strange Angels website and stumbled across a video of St. Crow being interviewed about the series, and in the video she mentioned writing this series because she wanted to write a book she’d wanna read… I really respect that. It was, for the most part, a book I enjoyed reading, as well. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but somewhere between the first half of this book and all of Defiance, it seems to me like St. Crow might’ve lost that vision and just played some crap by ear… In either case, I think she found sight of that with the ending of the series, and I approve.