I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Demon Hunters #3
Published by Lyrical Press on December 8, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance
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In service to His Majesty, one must be prepared for Hell.
To survive as a scullery maid requires hard work, discipline, and a stiff upper lip. To survive as a Demon Hunter is something else entirely. Elizabeth Smythe learned this after she was captured by Demons and rescued by Hunters. Now a Hunter herself, Elizabeth’s first task in this new and strange world is to aid the recently wounded Lord Reece Foxjohn, and get him back into Demon-slaying shape…
Reece Foxjohn is used to defying convention. He enraged his family by becoming a Demon Hunter, and prefers eviscerating the spawn of Satan to mixing with the ton. He is a man who doesn’t hesitate when he knows what he wants, and what he wants is Miss Elizabeth Smythe. From the moment he set eyes on the fiery Hunter, he’s wanted to claim her for his own. To watch her behead the progeny of Evil is to behold a thing of beauty.
I always feel like authors must be under immense pressure when they write series; not only do they have to worry about how their work holds up to that of other writers within their genre as well as other work they’ve done as I imagine authors do, but they also have to worry about how their work compares to the previous volumes within the same series, as each book sets a pattern and a standard for the next. I mean, as a reader, I feel the pressure of expectations I’m placing on an author with every new installment to each series I follow, and I can only imagine how the authors feel it.
That being said, I was very conscious of that pressure as I was reading Betrayal, which is Book 3 in A.S. Fenichel’s Demon Hunters paranormal Regency series, because I found myself enjoying it—but enjoying it more when I didn’t think about how much I’d built it up in my head thanks to how much I’d enjoyed the previous books, each of which the hero was a strong supporting character in.
I’ve been intrigued by Reece Foxjohn from the very first book. He was the suave hunter, and the injury he suffered as he fulfilled his duties dealt him a huge blow that even in this book he’s still struggling to come back from, both mentally and physically. I thought this added so many more layers to his character, and I wish that we had seen more of this struggle in the parts where the author let us look into his headspace.
Elizabeth Smythe is a newly trained hunter who has vowed to destroy the demons who almost took her life, and she has been assigned to partner with Reece, with her first priority being getting him fighting fit—literally. She does exhibit some hero worship and gratitude, since he is one of the hunters who saved her, but her feelings grow deeper as she gets to know the man he is. And as these develop, she also becomes more and more confident as her own person (having left a life in service as a scullery made) and as a hunter.
It took me a while to figure out why I wasn’t as happy with this book as I was with the other two. Even after reading the novel, I found myself flipping back several pages and rereading certain parts of it to try to understand what felt just a little bit off to me. Eventually I realized it was that so much of their emotional growth as a couple is a foregone conclusion because they did half their falling in love in the previous book and in the exposition of this one. Their love, from the beginning of this novel, seemed a foregone conclusion. And while that’s something that’s a given for romance novels, I nevertheless felt like I wanted to see them struggle with their feelings for each other a little more.
Meanwhile, the mystery of what the demons (and their master) have planned and how to defeat them only deepens in this book. And while we’re seeing some hints as to some of the things that can help the hunters in the battles ahead, I feel very much like the best—the true badassery—is yet to come. But it’s also going to have to come with terrible costs for our heroes. So while I wasn’t as enthusiastic about this book as I was about the previous ones, I’m still very invested in seeing this series through.
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