[Review] SILVER-TONGUED DEVIL by Jaye Wells

Cover Copy: Now that the threat of war has passed, Sabina Kane is ready to focus on the future. Her relationship with Adam Lazarus is getting stronger and she’s helping her sister, Maisie, overcome the trauma of her captivity in New Orleans. Even Giguhl is managing to stay out of trouble. Sabina wants to feel hopeful about the future, but part of her doesn’t believe that peace is possible.

Her suspicions are confirmed when a string of sadistic murders threatens to stall treaty negotiations between the mages and the vampires. Sabina pitches in to find the killer, but her investigation soon leads her down dark paths that have her questioning everyone she thought she could trust. And the closer she gets to the killer, the more Sabina begins to suspect this is one foe she may not be able to kill.

My Thoughts: SILVER TONGUED-DEVIL is the fourth book in the Sabina Kane series, in this celebration of Jaye Wells’s exciting debut series.

Sabina Kane, half-mage half-vampire, has returned to New York, home of the mages, with her entourage, including Adam her hot mage boyfriend, Giguhl the demon side-kick and a few others.

The story opens with a wonderful intriguing scene of a crime scene in Central Park. Sabina sticks around as a rubber-necker, but then realizes the killer has to be a vampire. Soon, she and Adam are working together to find the killer.

Unfortunately this plot line ends with the culmination of the first act. I was disappointed when all the leads dried up and Adam and Sabina are called off the case. I also thought it strange they would just go along with it, unconcerned the killer was still out there. I think this decision was supposed to be more intriguing than I found it.

From here, the story kind of falls apart with distractions: the werewolf and vampire lesbians who have to come out to the werewolf Alpha; the appearance of an over-indulgent mage rocker; the dark races roller derby; and a bad reaction on the part of Adam to learning about Sabina’s one-night stand with Slade. I mean, it happened before Sabina and Adam were a couple. What’s his problem?

I have to say I’m disappointed with Sabina as a character. I’d hoped by this book to see her in action as an assissin, but she’s anything but. When I think of assissins, I picture someone sneaky, calculating, observent, and goal-oriented. Sabina is a reluctant assissin at best. She doesn’t want to get involved, she lets other people make all the decisions, and she never seems to be working towards a goal. These traits in her frustrate me. I’m finding the other characters around her to be more colourful and interesting. (I mean, really, roller derby as a subplot when there’s a killer on the loose?)

Minor characters being more interesting than the main character is generally a bad sign for a book and especially for a series, however, there are a few things here that save the series from being tossed at a wall: the writing itself is excellent, the world-building is fresh, and the fight scenes are great.

Sabina needs to be in the driver’s seat.  The decisions need to be her own; she shouldn’t be pushed into doing things, and when she’s pushed she needs to make bad choices that have consequences. For example, when it’s time to drug her sister Maisie because she hasn’t been sleeping, Sabina is told by the mage Rhea that she needs to accompany Maisie into the land of dreams. Sabina refuses because it’s dangerous. Instead, she chooses to bind herself to a god. (Um, like that’s *less* dangerous?) I think this scene would have been a hell of a lot better if Sabina had wanted to go the dream land, but was told not to because it’s dangerous. Then she should have stubbornly did it anyway. Once there, she should have run into trouble, and needed to barter her way out of the dream land by binding herself to the god. Same events, just rearranged for higher stakes and putting Sabina in a place where she has to make some tougher decisions.

Despite all this, I am looking forward to BLUE-BLOODED VAMP, the last in the series, and I have to say, I will miss these characters. Despite the problems, these characters are funny, charming and fun to “hang” with.

Rating: C+
Series: Sabina Kane
Publisher: Orbit Books
Acquired: Purchase

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