Friday, May 10, 2013

REVIEW: Rogue Descendant by Jenna Black

Rogue Descendant (Nikki Glass #3) Rogue Descendant by Jenna Black
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

With book 3, the series continues to disappoint me. Characters showed little growth, especially the heroine, Nikki Glass. Despite a steady pace, the plot never rose beyond the level of mildly interesting. Excitement was very few and far and fleeting.

The Characters

+ Nikki

I liked how Nikki was aware of herself. She recognized she was a “bleeding heart,” had abandonment issues, and who she loved (in spite of what she may say to her sister) to name a few examples. What I didn’t like is how she never made an attempt to improve herself, or at the very least her abilities as a descendant, and it’s book fucking 3.

Nikki continued to remain a victim, never the kickass heroine of a huntress I had hoped for since book 1. She continued to depend on the Liberi to protect her and her family and the words of the Olympians to do no harm against her or, in proxy, her family. Unlike in other Urban Fantasies where promises hold weight, in Nikki’s world, in this particular book, Nikki learned the hard way how empty those promises were. I would have pitied her but she had many opportunities to learn the lesson in book 1 through 2.

Nikki should have already learned that these immortals were not humans and didn’t subscribe to things like compassion, honor, morals, and whatnot. I was astounded by how Nikki continued to be astounded at how callously and cruelly descendants acted. I would have thought her job as a private investigator would have taught her how cruel people can be, and when you give them immortality and magic and shits, they can be much, much crueler. Plus, no matter if that person is human or a descendant, when they have previously deceived you, experience dictates that you should never trust them or their words again. Guess what Nikki did?

In regard to Nikki’s abilities, she continued to rely on luck and chance for them to work. Presently, the only thing she seems to have mastered is her shooting accuracy. You would think she would carry a gun at all times, including her home at the Liberi manor where she can’t even be safe because of a tiger named Sita, but no. *facepalm* As a huntress and a descendant overall, Nikki remained an amateur. If she wasn’t the star of the series but instead a supporting character, she would be near the top of my list of characters that would eventually get permanently killed.

Two fucking books; Nikki had the time span of two fucking books to learn her lessons. She also had been warned by Anderson immediately in chapter 1. I felt sorry for her family, but I didn’t feel sorry for Nikki herself, not even when she got assaulted and died another death in a violent scene in the middle of the book. This is how far my unsympathy for Nikki extends.

+ the Liberi

As for the Liberi, Nikki’s supposed allies, they sucked. Anderson was an outright bully, and I literally said “ew” when I learned in the middle the story that he was potential love interest... to Nikki, that badshit crazy Emma, Anderson’s wife, was not completely delusional and wrong in her accusation. Ew. Ew. Ew.

Then there was Jamal, the only love interest Nikki cared about. The progress they made in their relationship from book 2 disappeared in book 3. While not as bad as he was in book 1, Jamal remained emo and self-tortuous. Jamal may have not been as bad as Anderson, I still wanted the dude to die a perma-death already. I hated how Nikki persisted trying to connect with Jamal because he told her many times he didn’t want to, that he didn’t need fixing, he didn’t need anyone, etc.

I was tired of Nikki’s personal issues getting in the way of her forming healthy relationships. She kept interacting mostly with hostile Liberi instead of the friendly ones.

+ the Olympians

They were easy to hate. Their evil machination was admirable, yet instead of leading to me believe how evil smart they were, it led me to believe how incompetent our good guys were. I don’t expect our good guys to get things right every time, but I do expect them to think things through, PLAN, and proceed with the PLAN. Compared to book 2, the good guys regressed to fools in book 3.

The Plot

The only good thing the plot had going for it was that it managed to keep my undivided attention. I felt only a couple steps higher than boredom, which is not really a compliment. I liked the red herrings at first, but at the end I hated them because the good guys didn’t learn about them till it was too late. Fortunately, only because Anderson and his secret and Nikki and her convenient luck did they manage to survive. However, I was disappointed that they didn’t kill this one hateful bad guy and be done with him already.

The cliffhanger of an epilogue didn’t surprise me because, unlike our witless good guys, the bad guys had contingencies in place. I hope book 4 will be a game changer as the cliffhanger led me to believe.

I also hope everyone will reconsider the fact that Blake’s power as a descendant of Eros, god of love, may not be limited to women, specifically the ability where whoever he sleeps with will always be left desiring him forever because no one will ever sexually satisfy them like Blake does. What happened with Cyrus at the end was extreme and out of character.

The World Building

The world building didn’t bother me as much as the aforementioned issues, but it still need to be said. I was disappointed by how unimaginative and limiting the world building stayed since book 1. There’s so much from mythology the series could use yet it restricts itself to a few banal things.

For example, as a descendant of Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, Nikki can shoot and throw things with magical accuracy, hunt with a magical instinct (think spider sense from Spiderman), and get ambiguously (and unreliably) stronger when the moon blazes the sky. I was disappointed by how that is all Nikki could do when the series could allow her to do so much more. Artemis was also a goddess of wild animals; thus, Nikki could have communicated with Sita, Jamal’s tiger. Artemis could bring diseases and sudden death, if only to females, which meant she, and Nikki by extension, had the making of a death deity. It would have allowed Nikki to connect with Jamal as a descendant of a death god to another.

For a series based on an epic premise, the world described in book 3 felt quite provincial. It lost its mystique.

In Conclusion

I rate Rogue Descendant 2-stars for it was okay. I’m not sure if book 2 or book 3 was the worst, but either way, this series has been a letdown.

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