My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was so hard to rate that I almost didn’t. The first half was a solid four stars but I started getting annoyed once they went across the pond. On top of the annoyance was the whole feeling of ‘wow, this is so Buffy Summers.’ I think it’s very well written and I do very much like Cas, Thomas and Caramel but I can’t escape the Buffy comparisons. Granted, I felt that in the first book but it was so much more prevalent in book two.
Cas has spent the last six months mourning the loss of Anna while Thomas has been working more on his voodoo ways. Caramel, on the other hand is distancing herself from them. Who can blame her since it’s such dangerous work killing rogue ghosts? (okay apparently I can since it bothered me). He hates the idea of the Obeahman dragging Anna into hell since the curse made her spirit into a killer. Thomas agrees. Caramel is less sure as is Gideon, Cas’s father’s friend and advisor.
Then he starts seeing Anna being tortured again and again and vows to bring her out of hell. His mother isn’t thrilled. Gideon tells him no. Morfan, Thomas’s voodoo practicing grandfather reluctantly helps. Once Cas gets the idea that it can happen he heads to England to make it happen only to find out that the Order of the Black Dagger, the creators of his ghost-killing athame, want it back from him since he’s not killing all ghosts, just dangerous ones. He finds himself half-pitted against, half befriending Jestine, Gideon’s ‘niece’ who was raised by the Order. They want her to have the athame and agree to help Cas open the gate to hell figuring he’ll die and Jestine can have his athame.
Overall, I did like the story and it is well written. I did have a bit of an issue believing someone selling Wiccan items online could afford plane tickets to London for Cas and Thomas (mostly because I know people making a living this way…). Jestine never really took off for me either and that was a problem. It dragged down the second half of the book. In fact, I was pretty well bored with the whole Order of the Dagger stuff. Also whoever decided to use that purplish ink needs to be drop kicked. It’s so hard to read.
But as for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer thing, hear me out. Even in book one it was very obvious Cas is Buffy, Thomas is Willow and Caramel is Cordelia but nicer (more like Season 2 of Angel Cordelia). Gideon is the older English mentor so obviously Giles and Cas’s mom is a bit more with it ghost-slaying wise than Joyce was. Buffy kills vampires with a stake. Cas kills ghosts with an athame. But once you get to book two the comparison is much more blatant. Anna is Angel. They’re both cursed only his curse makes him good, hers makes her bad. They’re both trying to redeem themselves, they both end up in hell when they shouldn’t. Buffy and Cas want their supernatural lovers back out of hell and are willing to die to do it.
Then along comes Jestine, who is the Kendra of the group. She’s been raised by the Order like Kendra was raised by the Watchers (and obviously the Order and the Watchers are more or less the same thing). They both tell the protagonist that they’re too soft, only going after the ‘bad’ ones and trying to save their ‘redeemed’ love interest. After a while, the similarities got uncomfortable. Then I realized, Buffy has been off the air for a decade. The target audience for this book would have been very young children when the show was on. They might not even know Buffy. I still enjoyed the story but I’ll be honest, this bugged me.
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