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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Review: Covet

Title: Covet
Author: J.R. Ward
Page Count: 474 pages
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Urban Fantasy

50 words or less: The ultimate showdown between good and evil is boiling down to one dude and his ability to sway people away from their self-destructive paths. Jim Heron is a fallen angel; Vin diPietro is a avaricious real estate mogul- can Vin be saved? More to the point, can Vin save himself?

I first heard about Covet from Amazon and have been excited about its release pretty much from day one. I confess myself a huge fan of Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series so the idea of a slightly related series set in sort of the same world was really appealing.

With that said, I have a rule when I'm reading books, a rule that I'm surely not the first person to come up with or use- the fifty page rule. This rule states that if a book isn't interesting to me or I'm not motivated to keep reading after fifty pages, I put that book aside and read something else. There's way too many books in the world to keep plugging through something that's just not ringing your proverbial bell.

I'm sad to say that that almost happened to me with Covet. Notice I said almost. The first fifty pages of the book epitomized to me the weaker points of other Ward books I've read- the overall story arc is kind of shoehorned into the prologue and expressed through a really, really drawn out sports metaphor and is then spelled out again and again thereafter. The characters are dark and dreary and in situations that seem hopeless, both to them and to the reader. The slang was so heavy and liberally used that it makes you wonder if there's a secret decoder ring out there that interprets the story. Case and point (oddly enough, this section comes from precisely page 50):
Thanks to being in the military, he'd learned that when you came to and didn't know where you were, it was better to possum it until you had some intel.

What? I'll admit, one of the things that I enjoy the most about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was the use of language and the way the characters talk to each other and express themselves, but the same technique that worked so well in that series is almost comical here.

I was inches away from setting the book aside when, as if by magic, someone gave the plot the Heimlich and the story really took off in a big way. The premise of the book really blossomed and became actualized when Jim, the government assassing turned fallen angel, met up with Vin diPietro, the first charge in Jim's quest to win the battle for the future of humanity. The back stories of the characters, which had seemed cumbersome before, were RIVETING now, and the backstory helped to drive the plot forward and explain why certain events were happening the way they were, why other plot points were set up the way that they were.

Easily my favorite character in the book, though, is Marie-Therese/Gretchen. Marie-Therese is the epitome of a J.R. Ward heroine- she's strong in the face of overpowering obstacles, honest, trustworthy, loving, caring, but not afraid to stand up for herself. She's working hard to overcome the mistakes of her past and has the courage to make new decisions when it becomes apparent that the old ones aren't working anymore. Her backstory is heartbreaking, riveted and detailed; Ward does an excellent job of making you care about Marie-Therese and wanting her to win and have her happily ever after.

Vin diPietro is an interesting guy; he's not a real likeable guy in the beginning, but the change that overtakes him throughout the book is interesting to watch, genuine, and easy to believe. The same can be said of Jim- he's mysterious and plays by his own rules, sure, but he also has a core of integrity that despite everything stays strong.

Also, can I just say that I LOVE Devina and the role she plays in the story? I won't say what that role is because that would be a huge spoiler, but suffice it to say that J.R. Ward's descriptions of the supernatural events in Covet absolutely made my skin crawl in just the way you'd want a book like this to do that.

There were also a bunch of cameos in the book from characters from the Black Dagger Brotherhood stories, so spotting them was fun indeed. It makes me wonder if some of the Fallen Angels characters will be making crossover appearances, since apparently you can't spit in Caldwell, NY without hitting one of the players in the battle of good versus evil.

Is this a perfect book? Nope. Is this a decent start to a new series? Sure. Despite a really rocky start I enjoyed the book overall and would be interested in reading the rest of the series.

Overall Grade: B
Blog With Bite Score: 3

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Great review Emily, I'm just going through your review list & adding links to my reviews for books we've both read - this one is the first :o)

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