Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review of Karin Harlow, Enemy Lover

Enemy LoverEnemy Lover by Karin Harlow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enemy Lover follows the evolving romance of covert agent Jax Cassidy and vampire operative Marcus Cross, who start out (as the title suggests!) on opposite sides of a conflict involving a U.S. Senator's reelection (that represents a huge oversimplification of the conflict, by the by!).  Jax Cassidy intrigued me from the start--the book starts with her story.  An ex-cop gone bad after being horribly assaulted and abandoned by her the other boys in blue, she is busted from prison by government agents who retrain her into a top secret operative. She was smart and sharp-tongued and full of fire, and I liked her right away.  Marcus Cross, only 7 years a vampire, was turned after a fatal combat injury by one of the world's oldest vampires, who wanted him as an operative in an ultra-patriotic organization bent on protecting U.S. interests (as defined by said ancient vamp, natch) at all costs. 

Their initials meetings in the book set the pages on fire, so full are they of unresolved sexual tension.  And while the remaining sexual encounters are good, they're not great.  Generally, the author doesn't use later sex scenes to continue to ratchet up sexual tension.  Instead, towards the end, she's more or less fading to black after the paragraph that gets them in bed. Now, there was so much going on in this book in terms of the warring organizations' plot line that she had no need for sex for sex's sake. But some of the initial acts were so hot that I expected that heat level to be maintained or increased throughout (the kissing in the cafe, for example, was molten).  She also took what seemed to be raw chemistry and lust between them and turned it emotional very fast, perhaps too fast, between the characters.  The first time they had sex, Marcus is promising and taunting that it's gonna be hard and fast and brutal and raw, but then he completely switches gears and is soft and gentle.  You understand why, in the context, but it was just too fast of changing gears to be fully satisfying.

The book is set up to have sequels that will make the vampires and their conflicts even more central to the future plot, and that will make the books even more interesting.  The most intriguing parts of Enemy Lover to me were when vampires were involved.  But it takes a while before the paranormal element is introduced in this book.  I think the book's hook would've been strengthened if she could've introduced it sooner.

Definitely enjoyed and recommend.

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Thanks for reading,

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