Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Blood on the Bayou

I am one of those people who judges a story based on how I feel when it's over.  Yes, I value the journey, but if I'm not satisfied with the destination, the whole thing is damn near ruined.  This book is a perfect example of a story destroyed by an unsatisfactory conclusion.  I really enjoyed it. I was invested 100% in the characters and the outcome.  And then the last chapter happened, prompting me to curse out loud and then stalk Twitter for someone to listen to me vent.

I'll start at the beginning.  The book picks up precisely where Dead on the Delta left off.  Annabelle is on suspension from her job with the Fairy policing agency and she has agreed to help her ex-boyfriend Hutch solve the murder of an FBI agent.  She is on a break from her relationship with Cane. And she is trying to get a grip on her new-found powers.

As the story progresses, we learn that there is a lot more to Hutch's case than he first revealed.  He has his own reasons for the investigation, but they're honorable.  Working together, Hutch and Annabelle grow closer.  Especially once he learns how badly he misjudged her when they first broke up.  Just like in the first book, I found myself torn between Hutch and Cane.  Annabelle clearly loves them both, but in different ways she can't even admit to herself.  And they both love her. The complications are compounded by Hutch's pregnant fiancee and Cane's secrets and ultimatums.  But regardless, I waited patiently to see where Annabelle's heart would eventually land her.

In the meantime, the danger is growing and so are Anabelle's new gifts.  Suddenly, she can communicate with the fairies and their message is deadly. Add that to the constant threat from the Big Man and Hutch's undercover mission, and I was on the edge of my seat. For the first 3/4's of the book, I didn't want to put it down.

But things started to go awry toward the end.  And I swear to you that someone else came along and wrote the last chapter, because: It. Makes. No. Sense.  Annabelle makes bizarre choices.  This quasi-epilogue thumbs its nose at everything we've been building towards.  It doesn't make sense for Hutch, given what he learns during the climax. And it doesn't make sense for Annabelle, who can barely keep a cat alive, to take on a responsibility she has no business accepting. The answer to her love life... is insulting.  Insulting to anyone who has given a damn throughout the course of the past two books.  Not to mention, it makes our heroine look like a completely selfish horn-dog.

I think I'd be less upset if I didn't enjoy the early parts so much. It had so far to fall and it crashed and burned spectacularly.  I don't know how to rate it.  The first half was a B+. The last chapter was an F.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

Click to purchase: Amazon
Blood on the Bayou
by Caridad Pineiro
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

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At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:44:00 AM CDT , Blogger Julie said...

I don't ever use this word but I must after reading this review: DUDE! I have not read this series but I understand how disappointing it is when you are, as you said, totally invested in everything and the author takes an odd turn at the end and makes it all sh*t. I hate wondering what an author was thinking and you can't help but ask that when you finish a book like that. I am sorry you didn't get happy fuzzies when you reached the end of this book. Great review though! :)

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:49:00 AM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

(**sigh**) Thank you. I'm lucky I had Tori from Smexy to talk me through it on Twitter. It helps to get it off your chest!

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 9:00:00 AM CDT , Blogger Millionmph said...

I read this when it first came out, many books ago, so I don't quite remember everything, but I do remember not liking Cane at all. Ever. Even in the first book. He was just blah, to me. I liked Hutch a bit better, but not by much since he always seemed to think about himself, how he was feeling, and not Annabelle. And I *really* did not like him after the "pregnant girlfriend but let’s still fool around" aspect.
Now Guy#3 has been around since the first book as well. Thing is, I have been wanting more of him ever since Dead on the Delta, so he has my vote 100%.
However, I agree with you that the ending was just kind of off. I was confused a little and we didn't get any real details, just thrown together facts of the matter flung at us.
However, a bad fairy possessed the cat, so she cannot be blamed for that. Plus, I see her other "acquisition" as her growing up some and making a change for the better in her life.

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...


I was definitely intrigued by Guy #3 and perhaps if the author had spent any amount of time building a relationship between them, I could understand it. But she didn't. It went from --he's attractive-- to flirty words --to weeks of dirty off-page sex-- in the blink of an eye. After two books of emotional upheaval over two men she loves, she goes with the booty call.

I'm not saying Cane or Hutch was the end-all, be-all. But there were real feelings there. And then... nothing.

As for the "acquisition," Annabelle may love her, but she is not equipped in any fashion to take that on. She can't even take care of herself.

And this isn't even going into the bizarre Marcy twist or the fact that Stephanie's possible villainy was completely swept under the rug.

Total fail for me.

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 11:06:00 AM CDT , Blogger Tracy said...

When I saw your review for the first book, I smiled to myself and settled back to wait for your review of the second. I was curious what you'd think of that last chapter, but because of what I've gleaned of your preferences through your reviews, I had a sneaking suspicion about your reaction.

And yes, you had the exact same problems, complaints, and horror that I did with it (though I was a Tucker fan from his introduction, that doesn't mean the end made sense).

I read this as an ARC before it came out and heard after I read it that there may not be a third book. That might have changed at this point, I don't know. What I DO know is if THAT'S the end we have to live with for Annabelle, it makes the whole series pointless for me. Shame, that, because I enjoyed almost all of it. Until that damn last chapter.

You have my sympathies, Jen. I was right where you are, and I definitely felt your pain.

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 11:13:00 AM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

Ahhhhh. Validation!!! (Clearly, you know me well.)

I can see why people like Tucker. I like Tucker too. But like you said, that doesn't make the end make sense.

I have also heard rumblings about the series ending, which is sad because it really had some great things going for it. But, again, like you said the ending made it all feel pointless. My sentiments EXACTLY.

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 3:54:00 PM CDT , Blogger BookaholicCat said...

I completely understand your point. Now, after this review I'm not so sure about reading a 2 book series to have a big disappointment at the end of second and last book. I'll have to think about this.

At Friday, May 11, 2012 at 4:49:00 PM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

I understand your hesitation. It had so much potential. I really liked the first book and most of this one. But the ending... Ugh.

At Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 6:52:00 AM CDT , Blogger Jennifer @ The Book Nympho said...

You're review makes me want to skip to the last chapter. LOL But I'll be strong and not do it.

At Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 8:30:00 AM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

No. I doubt it would seem awful if you haven't read the book leading up to it. I hated it because it lacked continuity, which you wouldn't realize if you skipped ahead. Come back when you're done, lady.


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