I enjoyed the first two books in S.L. Huang’s Cas Russell series. I enjoyed this one too, but here the enjoyment is spread thinner, and the seams are starting to show. For one thing, it feels a lot like the previous book. Same sardonic tone, same super-math skill, same love of guns and violence. The difference is that here, Cas whines a lot more about how she’s a bad person – but never does anything about it. There is a kind of resolution of this theme toward the end, but it was too thin and too late for my taste.
The other flaw is that the action now feels much more made-for-TV. It’s an action series, sure, but it’s a book, not a film. Not everything has to have great camera angles and non-stop banter. That’s a little unfair, but that’s how the book felt. I learned only today that Ms. Huang is in fact a professional stuntwoman, so perhaps she came by this angle honestly. I, however, found it tiring. I still liked the book, but I’m no longer entirely confident I’ll like the next one. I do still want to know how it all ends, and what the mysteries are, but I feel like this title is much more filler-like than I hoped it would be. I can’t help but wonder whether the original, self-published sequence worked better.
NB: I receive this book for free in exchange for an objective review.