Black and Blue

Main Characters:

Vika – Solo’s now wife.

Solo – one of the otherworlders.  He is looking for Michael, John and Blue.

Michael – Evie’s father and the man who trained the boys.  Blue thinks of him as a father too, not just his boss.

Evie Black – a former agent and a doctor.  Also, Michael’s daughter.  She quit being an agent when her sister was killed after a mission of hers.  She is prickly and Blue thinks she’s really obnoxious.  She loves to design custom poisons and bombs (a golf ball that releases poison gas, a rubix cub that when you align certain colors is actually a bomb).  She becomes Blue’s love interest.

Corbin Blue – an otherworlder.  He has all sorts of awesome powers.  He can make things levitate, he has super healing powers, he can send waves of energy out, etc.  He is on the hunt for John, Michael and Solo.  He falls for Evie.

Tyson Star, Gregory Star and  Tiffany Star – The terrorists behind the bomb and kidnapping.  Turn out Daddy Star is just an awful person, doing bad things for hire so people get can revenge and he was looking to take out Michael because Michael was a threat to him.  His kids are his pawns.

Pagan – Blue’s fiancee, at least at the beginning.  But after he breaks up with her, she tries to kill Blue by shooting him.

Dallas Gutierrez – an AIR agent looking for Star now that Kitten was found, since Star sold Kitten to the circus.

Locations: Seems to be Earth, but in some “New city” and in some future/alternate time.

Main Premise:  Blue, and his (sort of) brothers are assassins for some government black-ops team.  The world now includes humans and aliens of all sorts.  Blue is one of those aliens.  He and Solo and John are meeting with their boss Michael when at the end of the meeting, there is an explosion.  Blue is badly burned and the attackers think that he’s dead, but he isn’t.

Blue goes to Evie’s because he is terribly injured and she is the only one he can think of who he can trust.  She heals him, even though she really doesn’t like him.  But she agrees to work with him so that they can find her father.  They find him relatively early on and they then start the mission to find John.

Lots of attempts to find John, lots of failures, lots of Blue and/or Evie getting caught and almost killed.  Michael caves and is ok with Blue dating his daughter.  They all finally find John and all escape and kill Gregory Star.  Blue and Evie admit they are in love and live happily ever after.

Other important things to remember for later:

Not sure if there will be a book three.  But in these universes, John is the next likely subject for a book, should the author write one.  If she does, the trauma John goes through, being skinned alive so his golden skin can be used to make fashion, coupled with what ever childhood trauma he has in his past, will likely be the source of his pain and his “damage”.   Tyson survived and he isn’t nice.  He would probably want revenge for his father’s death.  Tiffany didn’t seem to want to follow in Daddy’s footsteps, but she was forced to do bad things for Gregory.  It looks like Tiffany was killed taking “the flames into her own body” when shielding he father from being shot with one of those pyre guns.

Review:

How funny, just last week I wrote a review about how much I missed the old Gena Showalter, and then last night I got to the first real juicy scene in the sequel to Last Kiss Goodnight, Black and Blue (#2 in the Otherworld Assassins series).  And, it was a nice surprise.  I am not sure that Black and Blue is still quite up to par (based on standards set by the first Lords of the Underworld books) but… it was a huge improvement over Last Kiss Goodnight.  So, maybe I need to eat my words.  At a minimum, I feel like I found Waldo!  And I am stoked.  I then realized that Showalter’s website says she’s not under contract for any more in this series and I admit to being disappointed.

First, the relationship between our two characters of Blue and Evie was great.  Finally, someone I would call a strong woman.  She’s smart, sarcastic, and totally deadly.  Yippeee!  I loved seeing the contents of her purse.  At first I didn’t get the seemingly random objects and when we find out what that’s all about, it was an awesome little treat.

I liked that while Blue was sort of a little damaged, he wasn’t the typical male with the  “oh no one can love me syndrome”, instead it was all about his respect for Evie’s father.  And while she had her issues too, and was super insecure at times (mostly about her looks), she wasn’t so super damaged that I was constantly reading the “nobody could ever love me” from her perspective either.   And I liked that there was a ton of action. While the action seemed a little repetitive it was still fun to read. The problem with books like this and it’s predecessor is that there are only so many times a reader can take seeing failed escape attempts, rescues where the rescuer ends up kidnapped, bad guys who get away for the sake of stretching the plot further than it should be stretched, and dialogue – in the characters head or out loud – where the same stuff is told to me over and over and over. Although that last point seems to be indicative of this genre, not just a failing of this book or author in particular.

I admit to being a little confused at times who was doing the speaking – and which point of view we were getting.  Again, that too seems to be a failure of this genre (or should I said bad editors in this genre) since I would sometimes need to read a conversation from the start a few times to know who was saying what – new paragraphs don’t always indicate the other person is now speaking and with the “he said” (or equivalent) sometimes it was tough.

There were little jewels throughout the book.  References and jokes about the rubick’s cube and the other stuff Evie carries in her purse were awesome.  The sarcasm between the characters was amusing.  And it was nice to see that things were occurring over time and that is how the relationship blossomed.  It was also nice to see that Evie’s dad didn’t just do a complete 180 on how he felt about Blue and Evie so that felt a little more real too.

And, while I still am not sure the steaminess is 100% back, it was an enormous improvement over Last Kiss.  It didn’t feel gratuitous but natural and didn’t leave me annoyed that what is a common key element of this genre was missing.

All things considered, Black and Blue was a much better book than the first in the series.  And leaves me a little bummed that I may not be able to see how John recovers.

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