My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is not the follow-up to The Becoming Anna Strong Chronicles 1 that I expected, it’s a lot better. Something struck me odd about the way Stein included the detail about our heroine’s dead brother in the first book, and I should’ve realized she was planting a seed.
The seed, no pun intended, is what just may be her brother’s heretofore unknown daughter. Her brother’s girlfriend at the time of his death appears, asking for Anna’s help tracking down her runaway daughter, claiming it’s Anna’s niece. Before Anna can start looking, the girl’s best friend turns up murdered in a grisly fashion with hints of the supernatural. While looking for the girl and trying to find the murderer, Anna deepens her understanding and awareness of the supernatural world that she’s now a part of, and is reminded that perhaps the greatest monsters are merely human.
Great pacing, taught writing, good action–and even though I knew the identity of the bad guy at least one hundred pages before Anna did, I was on the edge of my seat.
The big issue that Urban Fantasy writers have to deal with his how to treat vampires (at least those authors that deal with vampires). Some leave them as horrid monsters, most find some way of toning down the whole vicious, blood-drinking, killer aspect. Stein doesn’t do that, yet. If Anna ends up toning down the animalistic nature of her protagonist, it will be as a result of a lot of trial and error, and stubborn choices she makes. While I hope Anna never becomes someone that I want Ms. Summers and the Scooby gang to track down, I hope she doesn’t turn off that aspect of her nature like a light switch.
I’m more than a little bothered by the dynamics between Anna and her boyfriend, and Anna and her partner, if Stein doesn’t resolve or change them soon, it’s really going to drag the series down. But I’m inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t know why I keep comparing this series to the Rachel Morgan books as I read them, but I do. And, Anna Strong comes out looking better and better each time I do. I’m really looking forward to seeing where she takes this.