Monday, 9 May 2011

Book Review: Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean

Title: Something Secret This Way Comes
Author: Sierra Dean
Release Date: 10 May 2011
Publisher: Samhain
Series: Book #1 in the Secret McQueen series
Source: e-ARC provided by author for an honest review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon

Grade: 5 stars

Novellus perfectus!

2011 Top Read 
Goodreads appetizer:

Some secrets are dangerous. This Secret is deadly.

Secret McQueen, Book 1

For Secret McQueen, her life feels like the punch line for a terrible joke. Abandoned at birth by her werewolf mother, hired as a teen by the vampire council of New York City to kill rogues, Secret is a part of both worlds, but belongs to neither. At twenty-two, she has carved out as close to a normal life as a bounty hunter can.

When an enemy from her past returns with her death on his mind, she is forced to call on every ounce of her mixed heritage to save herself-and everyone else in the city she calls home. As if the fate of the world wasn't enough to deal with, there's Lucas Rain, King of the East Coast werewolves, who seems to believe he and Secret are fated to be together. Too bad Secret also feels a connection with Desmond, Lucas's second-in-command...

Warning: This book contains a sarcastic, kick-ass bounty hunter; a metaphysical love triangle with two sexy werewolves; a demanding vampire council; and a spicy seasoning of sex and violence

My Thoughts: You know the feeling when you have read only the very first couple of paragraphs/pages of a book and know that you are in for an amazing story? That's what I knew righat on the 2nd page of Something Secret This Way Comes, and boy was I proven right!

Sierra Dean spellbinds the reader in her debut urban fantasy novel by introducing an exciting universe where  werewolves exist and vampires have a strictly organized hierarchy, and in the middle is Secret McQueen an extraordinary young woman, a halfbreed: due to her werewolf mother having been attacked by a vampire when she was pregnant.

Secret is just the perfect UF heroine: she is feisty, she is snarky and she is decidedly kickass! But besides being strong and independent she has a fragile vulnerability to herself, which renders her human and makes her a character the reader can identify with and understand. She is quite young but has experienced more than her share of horrors and it has left her disenchanted. She is cynical and snarky, but her dry sarcastic humour is one of the highlights of the novel! I loved reading the story told through Secret's narrative as her voice was fresh with just the right amount of acerbic tone to make it entertaining.

“Look, Lucas. Mr. Rain. Your Furry Highness, or whatever it is I’m supposed to call you—”
“For you, Lucas will be more than acceptable.”

This had gone from precoital intensity to feeling like after-school detention in the span of seconds.

The characterization is very well done, Something Secret This Way Comes has a dozen of wonderful and interesting characters, all of whom I cannot wait to see again in later books!  Secret is canvassed in depth with many nuances and subtlety and I can't wait to see both Lucas and Desmond explored in more detail in the next book(s). I'm sure every reader will find a favourite among the entertaining and memorable array of supporting characters: there is Sig a cheeky ancient, one of the leaders of the vampire society who still manages to act like an impertinent schoolboy when teasing the fairy goddess; then there is Holden the mostly quiet yet intriguing vampire warden, Secret's contact to the vampire organisation I cannot wait to discover more about and of course there is Keaty, Secret's business partner and one of her best friends, just to name a few.

Besides the intriguing characters one of the things I loved most about Something Secret This Way Comes was how Sierra Dean was not afraid to take the usual and well-established UF conventions and add her own twist to them (e.g. vampires cannot turn humans at a whim, the bond between destined mates is not restricted to just couples but best friends can also share it). It made me feel like nothing was a given and made me excited to explore her UF universe and discover how the usual things in other UF novels would end up here.

The romantic storyline in Something Secret This Way Comes was scorchingly hot and confusing! Confusing because Secret is not only bonded to one irresistibly charismatic werewolf, but two! And now time for me to talk about the "soul bonding". Soul bonding is what you would first call the usual "destined mates" line in other UF novels, however soul bonding in Something Secret This Way Comes is not a conscious decision, it develops between people who have some connection and is not strictly reserved to couples: Lucas and his second in command Desmond share a bond, and because of this Secret is also bonded to both of them. And here comes another big break Sierra does with conventional UF rules: though both heroes are alphas in every possible sense of the word, they are neither possessive nor jealous! Imagine a calm and rational werewolf being fine with sharing his love? I found it intriguing and a bit confusing how come neither of the men was concerned by the double bonding, and this raised many questions I kept pondering long after I have gobbled up the book: can the 3 of them live happily ever after together? Or were the men so chill about this because they take a step back to let Secret decide and will respect her decision? So many questions that only Sierra can answer, but I hope she'll do it soon!

It is a credit to Sierra Dean's fantastic writing that despite the fact that as soon Lucas was introduced in the novel I fell under his charm and was rooting for him, but then as the novel progressed my certainty wavered. Though Lucas is the ideal man: strong, exuding confidence and responsibility (and of course being easy on the eyes doesn't hurt either), as the reader gets to know Desmond we can see what an amazing man he is also. So Secret's choice is certainly not an easy one... In the 1st book the question of Secret's relationship with Lucas and/or Desmond did not get resolved and I would rather say wasn't even explored in depth yet, as Desmond was more present than Lucas. But besides the very hot and sensual love scenes Sierra Dean also brings out the heartsqueezing moments (which are my favourite!):

“You asked me what the negative is for me? When you went limp, I saw every chance I had for happiness die with you. I could stand ten feet away from you for the rest of my life and nothing, not sex or money or power, could match how that feels. Do you get that?” He gave me a shake for emphasis.

... His face was so intimate my heart tripped. There was a peacefulness to him I’d never seen before, like all the pain he’d been carrying around since we’d met had vanished. I could have stayed like that forever to watch him smile at me, because everything about his sweet, dreamy look made me believe I was completely wanted. I touched his cheek and drew him close, feeling him slide inside me with an aching slowness.

Both men's charisma shines through the pages and I dare you to remain unaffected: the chemistry between these three is so palpable, sparks were flying off my ereader! I cannot wait to see how their relationship will develop later!

The mystery was complex and I liked the different layers of the diabolical plan, there was only one aspect I'm still a bit befuddled about: why did Secret's mother have such boundless hatred towards her child? But I'm sure Sierra will be back to explain more about this to us.

(Just a warning: prepare yourself for a breathtaking cliffhanger at the end which will end the story with a BANG!)

My only complaint? It ended way too soon! :-p

Verdict: This novel was such an exhilarating ride for me I don't even know where to start. Let's start by saying that after I devoured Something Secret This Way Comes, debut novel and first book in Sierra Dean's urban fantasy series I knew that I had discovered a new favourite author to go on my must buy list just next to Kelley Armstrong! Something Secret This Way Comes is a fast paced, original story with a fantastic heroine and a fresh take on UF, it is one of the best books I have read this year and I cannot wait to read more!

If you are looking for another action packed, well written, dark yet humourous UF novel with a snarky heroine, Something Secret This Way Comes is just the book for you!

Step aside Kate Daniels, Secret McQueen is here now to take over!

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Cover: 10/10 - Cover perfection! Love how kick ass and tough the cover model is, and she looks a lot like I would picture Secret, love the vibrant colours and the UF atmosphere of it, wonderful! I could just stare at it for minutes!

Buy it:

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