Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crimson City

Crimson City by Liz Maverick

Once, this was the City of Angels. The angels are no longer in charge. From the extravagant vampire world above to the gritty defiance of the werewolves below, the specter of darkness lives around every corner, the hope of paradise in every heart. The city knows a tentative peace, but to live in Los Angeles is to balance on the edge of a knife. One woman knows better than most. She’s about to be tested, to taste true thirst. Fleur Dumont is about to meet the one man who may understand her: a tormented protector who’s lost all he loved. Theirs is one tale of many. This is Crimson City, where desire meets danger and more than just the stars come out at night.
--Crimson City by Liz Maverick, Copyright ©2005 by Elizabeth A. Edelstein, published by Dorchester Publishing

My Review
Welcome to Crimson City, where the vampires and werewolves are not just the stuff of film and books. They’re real, and they share the city with the handful of humans brave enough to share the city with them. There’s a definite caste system, with the vampires occupying the upper strata of the city, the humans on the street level, and the werewolves living in the underground. Though the three species don’t get along, there is a tentative peace that exists over the city.

Fleur Dumont is a member of the ruling family of the vampires. She should be ruling, period, but that job was taken over by two of her half brothers, Christian and Ryan because she was not ready to rule. Because she had made a mistake, one that destroyed any respect she had among the Council members. She ready to redeem herself, but is unsure of how to approach her brothers for that opportunity. When her brothers are killed before her very eyes by a mech—a human converted to a machine—she seizes the opportunity and takes over. But is she really ready?

It takes a brave human to not only live in Crimson City, but to interact with both species. Dain Reston is just such an individual. A member of “Battlefield” Operations, it’s his job to ensure the tentative peace between the species stays. But when he and his partner, Cyd, come across the mech—something that shouldn’t exist—they know something bad is going down.

Now Dain must ally himself with the vampires, and with Fleur specifically, if he is to figure out who sent the mech after the Dumonts and what exactly that person hoped to accomplish. At the same time, he has to deal with his wild, barely-in-control partner, an overeager tabloid reporter, a boss who seems more intent on hampering than helping his mission, and his own growing attraction for Fleur Dumont.

Crimson City is the first in a series of novels. The first five were written by different authors, but numbers six and seven were written by Liz Maverick.

Being the first in a series, there’s a lot of background to present, causing the story to suffer from “too-much-information-itis.” The information is necessary to understand the world of Crimson City, but it just felt like too much of an info-dump for me. I could almost draw lines around sections and label them: here’s background on the city, now background on a character, here’s an action scene, now more information, a bit of dialogue—oops, interrupted by more information—and the rest of the dialogue and finally the end of the scene. Plus, each character had a lot of internal dialogue going. A lot. A lot a lot.

Having never ready anything else by Liz Maverick, I can’t say if this is her usual style or just the style she adopted for this series, but it makes me reluctant to read anything else by her. I will read the other novels that I have in this series (A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie M. Liu is next), but I don’t know right now if I’ll read Liz Maverick’s other entries in this series.

I give this story TWO STARS.

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