Kendall Morgan is a human bloodhound. Spending her childhood hunting relics with her ambitious archeologist father, she knew the two of them shared a sixth sense for the history and location of objects—sometimes even people. What she didn’t know was that their paranormal gift could ultimately be their undoing.Series: Relic Seekers #1
After the tragic plane crash that killed her father as well as her childhood best friend, Kendall dedicated her life to finding and protecting relics. When mysterious, sexy billionaire Nathan Larraby hires her for his latest expedition—the search for four powerful relics —she’s thrown into a world of high-octane danger. He sends brooding mercenary Jake Stone to watch Kendall’s back, but he may have created danger of a different kind.
As the team chases down clues, a man called the Reaper makes a play for the artifacts and will stop at nothing to put them to his own sinister use. What’s worse is that Nathan hasn’t told the whole story, and the dark secrets he’s keeping could cost them the mission…and their lives.
Published by Montlake Romance on 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Speculative Fiction, Urban Fantasy
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I snagged a book from the Amazon Vine program, and when it arrived, I realized… it was book 2 in the Relic Seekers series. The premise sounded really cool (I like treasure hunter stories, and hey, adding in some supernatural elements is cool, too), so I picked up Guardians of Stone, book one.
The premise is interesting. I will give it that. But pretty much everything else in this book was just… meh. To be honest, the only reason I finished it was so I’d be up to date for book 2, which I have to review.
First things first: the characters are totally bland and beige. And these are treasure hunters, one of whom has psychic powers and all of whom have shady, mysterious pasts. These people should be really interesting, but there is absolutely nothing in the book that gives me any kind of feel for their thoughts or even personalities. The heroine, Kendall, says things and does things, but there’s nothing about her thoughts or feelings or anything to make her into a fully developed character. Jake, one of the two male leads, is a bit better developed, but he spends half the time acting like a chauvinist pig. Nathan is just mysterious. He’s mysterious and manly and has a British accent like Jason Statham (I confess, I laughed unpleasantly at that line).
And this lack of characterization leads straight into the next major problem I had: it felt more like I was reading a plot outline than an actual novel. The prose itself is stilted and full of choppy sentences, but much of it is devoted either to awkward dialogue or “He did this. She did that.” style action. It didn’t flow well at all, and it certainly didn’t make me more likely to forgive some of the more egregious plot problems.
Everything in this book happened too easily. Need to find a secret, hidden relic? No problem, just go hiking to a mysterious castle the hotel owner just happens to know about. Get trapped in the castle by a creepy guardian guy? No problem, just sneak out when a ghost conveniently appears and shows you the way. Nothing felt difficult, and I never felt like any of the characters were in mortal danger (not that I cared about any of them enough to actually feel worried).
It was boring and unpleasant, and I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes and hoping I’d get through this book without smashing my iPad in frustration at how disappointing it was. I wanted Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones or Uncharted with paranormal powers and a great heroine. Instead I got a book that really needed another round or five with an editor to whip the plot and characterization into shape. To be honest, I’m not even sure how a second book got published. And I know this sounds harsh, but this is the most disappointed I’ve been in a book in years. I’m not looking forward to reading book 2.