Marie Treanor has a knack for creating heros I am smitten with. Drago from Gothic Dragon was the cream of the crop, but Rodion Kosar comes a close second (I keep thinking of Keyser Soze – somehow name and character remind me of him). The story was a bit too much action for me, but I did even the action parts quite a bit.
There is great chemistry between Rodion and Nell, but I had a few misgivings about the fact that throughout the book he was always going on in his head about there could not be a commitment. In the end there was one without anything having changed. From the start it was clear that either the mission would either fail or be successful, so what kept him from thinking that, if successful, he and Nell could not stay together? He could have easily said “Listen, if we get out of here alive and kicking, it’s a deal. If we fail, we (or I) will be dead anyway.” That was unnecessary tension, because it made no sense to me.
Nevertheless, I loved the couple together, as well as the secondary characters. The second book in this series (and obviously, so far, the last), Hearts and minds, is about Nikolai, which does not surprise me. He plays only a very minor part in the first book, but I can see some great potential here. Nell describes him as a “lecherous Jesus”, which was a misconception on her part, but gave a good visual description. Looking forward to it.
I don’t know who did the cover art for the two books, but I didn’t think it was fitting. The guy on Smoke and Mirrors looks nothing like I picture Rodion, he is way too soft looking. Fiery eyes don’t make him a badass, but I suppose one must be grateful that at least he is blond. And what about the stupid cloak? This is not a 19th century vampire story. Sometimes those cover artists don’t even seem to have read the descriptions. But, of course, that’s only me. If the cover guy floats your boat, even better.