Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: 'Waking the Serpent' by Jane Kindred

The concept is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, the plot is your typical megalomaniac who has gone off the deep-end causing mayhem and death, and a strong hero and heroine needs to save the day. It’s a very busy novel.
The plot is what drew me to read this book. The story was original in many aspects and certainly Rafe and Phoebe were attention grabbing and engaging as a couple. The plot seems straightforward in the beginning but as the tale goes on, it’s much bigger, darker and devious than anything I’ve ever encountered or expected. The author gets high marks for originality in that area.
I liked how the author wrote Phoebe and the twin’s relationship and that includes their dialogue, their actions and the obvious love the siblings have for each other. That rapport and bond is very important in the story.
Rafe was an enigma. The author tackled an extremely difficult subject and used it to good effect in the book. It was deftly handled and prevented a reader from the full harsh ick factor.
There was much to like, respect and enjoy in Waking the Serpent but there were some parts that fell flat for me as well. The yo-yo seesaw sexual dance between Rafe and Phoebe was dizzying and not always in a good way. I understood what was really happening, and how integral it was to the plot, but I didn’t always enjoy it. In fact, there were three times that I had to close the book and walk away because the plot twist made me uncomfortable. The good news is that the overall story and basic dynamics between the hero and heroine drew me back every time. As much as I needed to take a break from what was going on in the book at that moment, I had to return to the story to find out what happened next, how they got past it, and where it led.
Another thing I believed that should have had great potential but fell flat was the power of Quetzalcoatl. I wasn’t as impressed as I felt I could have been because I wasn’t shown any power that left me in awe. It’s like the villain had all the FAQs making it too easy to manipulate everyone, and all my favorite people in the novel were reactive instead of proactive. Eventually the heroine and her allies get with the program, figure things out and save the day, but it didn’t have the oomph that a plot dealing with any aspect of Quetzalcoatl should have had.
Even with those not so great aspects of the novel, Waking the Serpent did have a romance worth reading about. Again, the author surprised me with another type of happy ever after that tied in perfectly with Rafe and Phoebe’s HEA. It was a nice touch and at one point was highly sentimental and sniffle-worthy. Well, one of them was…the other might inspire the need for a cold shower. Both were welcomed, well done and satisfied my need for a solid, positive ending.
Waking the Serpent is a good read on many fronts. It does have a strong paranormal element that is intriguing and likeable at times, and at other junctures it’s dramatic and suspenseful. There is definitely some strong writing within its pages that are worth taking a look at and the book has a satisfying happy ending. For some paranormal romance fans, this book might even be more appealing than it was for me. I guess you’ll have to read it for yourself and find out.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.