Title: Styx's Storm
Author: Lora Leigh
Page Count: 304 pages
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me (sadly)
50 words or less: Storme Montague has a data chip that may contain information about Project Omega and the possibility of turning regular humans into Breeds. The Genetics Council wants it. The Breeds want it. The Breeds happened to kidnap Storme first.
If I had to pick one phrase to describe this book it would definitely be the following: hot mess. Even taking into consideration that this series is not for everyone and that the level of violence and/or sexual content in this book would be an immediate turnoff for some, I've enjoyed enough other books in this series to know that this one did not ring my bell on any level. The plot was recycled and boring, the characters were lifeless and annoying, the conflict was forced, the drama was nonexistent, the romance was offensive and gross, and then ending was extremely contrived. If there were somehow a way to return a Kindle book I would totally be exercising that option right now.
Let's address these points one at a time. I appreciate that after a series has a large number of installments like this one does, it's not crazy or unheard of for some elements to resurface from earlier books, but the story here was borrowed pretty much in its entirety from Tanner's Scheme (a really emotional tearjerker in this series and a way better book than this one) with only minor tweaking to address the fact that supposedly Storme is a terrible, awful person. The story manages to introduce a new element without ever really explaining it (all we know about Project Omega is that it's really depraved and awful and bad and should never be released upon the world, but beyond that we don't know what the hell it is or why we should care about it) and then the whole story revolves around finding out more about it, with none of those details ever being shared. Yawn.
The new characters in this book, namely, the hero and heroine, give forgettable a whole new definition. Storm Montague is defined by who her father and brother were and for her supposedly inexcusable hatred of the Breeds (which isn't all that inexcusable, but I'll get to that in a minute) and Styx is defined by being Scottish (complete with horrible, HORRIBLE phonetically-spelled accent- seriously folks, it was painful) and addicted to chocolate (the dude packs it away like nobody's business) but beyond that we never learn a thing about them, and I found that I wasn't invested enough to want to know more. Supposedly these two are disgusted by each other, but yet they manage to fall into bed together just fine. Styx is supposed to get the location of the data chip by any means necessary and therefore all of his interactions with Storme felt oily and gross. Storme feels like Styx is only sleeping with her to get the chip, and for the most part she's right, but she does it anyway. It was very frustrating. The characters are about as dynamic as cardboard cutouts, or maybe not even.
The forced conflict didn't help matters, either. Supposedly the information about Project Omega is key to understanding what's happening to Amber, adopted daughter of Jonas Wyatt (Director of the Bureau of Breed Affairs). I totally get that when you're concerned about your child there is nothing you won't do to ensure their health and well being, but Jonas along with the other familiar characters (Wolfe, Hope, Rachel, etc.) acted like a bag of assholes where Storme was concerned, threatened her and intimidated her, impugned her character, damaged her mental health, and then were shocked when she didn't want to help them! Unreal.
I've touched on the romance already, but this one was extra disappointing, especially from a series where the relationship between the hero and heroine is such a crown jewel like it used to be in this one. Storme was frightened, angry, abused, and traumatized through most of the book, often at the hands of the folks who were supposed to be the good guys! Apparently kidnapping a woman, holding her against her will, taking medical samples without her consent, trying to seduce information out of her, and then failing to keep all those promises you made to protect her is okay as long as you feel like you're doing it for a good reason. The interactions between the characters in this story made me want to get my tongue scraped. Blech.
Then there was the ending, which was supposed to address three things- one, that given the opportunity to betray the Breeds, Storme was noble and worked to get back to her mate (although why she would want to do that I frankly have no idea, for the reasons outlined above,) two, that Storme has decided to give the data chip to the Breeds because Styx is a Breed and is the only person who ever made her feel safe and that means she loves him (folks, this is not romance, this is Stockholm Syndrome) and three, to show how Storme changed her tune, became a fan of the Breeds, and lived happily ever after with her growly Scottish mate and new friends in the form of Anya, coya of the Coyote pack (and another woman who wasn't treated well by the Breeds) and her bodyguards. The ending felt like all these elements were stuck in a blender together, pulsed a few times, and spat back out on the final pages. By the end of the book, even though the major players have apologized for being douchebags to Storme in the beginning and for not rescuing her when she was abducted out from under them by the very guy who murdered her father and brother after they'd sworn all kinds of oaths to protect her, I found myself sickened by the way Storme was treated, even though she definitely had some maturity issues that needed to be addressed. Although, if I saw a guy tear out my brother's throat in front of me when I was fourteen and then had to go on the run to protect information that my dying father said was incredibly important and was then told by the same folks whose population included my family's murderer that I should quit being so selfish and check out their fabulous way of life and drink the Kool Aid and join them....JOIN THEM...then I would probably be snarky and defensive and hurtful with my words too.
Sigh. This post is long enough, but there were a ton of other reasons why this book didn't work for me and was a huge disappointment. I'm sad to say this, but I am officially breaking up with this series. After this book upset me on so many levels, I can't rationalize continuing at this point.
Overall Grade: F