The Cimmerian Duology is a boxed set of Rae Lori’s CIMMERIAN CITY revised and updated and her follow-up A FEAST OF SHADOWS. It is a combination of SF, Fantasy, Thriller, and some Romance (particularly in the second book)
Summary: Raven Blackheart is an art student with a devoted boyfriend (Jack) just making ends meet. She was found unconscious in the desert one night though she has no memory of the attack. While trying to piece together what happened to her, Jack gets killed and Raven Blackheart is taken. Fast forward to 2015. Raven is awakened to discover a changed world. Humans and Dracins ( vampire- like race) have been fighting it out. Raven is now a half-human/ half dracin. Deamond, the president of a corporation (Tech Corp) has been working to breed a way to fight the Dracin, or so he says.
Without giving too much away, Raven tracks down the Dracins who originally attacked her; discovers the truth about Deamond’s goals which are not as benevolent as he presented them; finds other Dracins, works with a man named Russell Li (later love interest) to save humanity and fight Tech Corp.
There is a lot going on in both books. The focus seems to be on corporations and there takeover of everyday life. By book two, there are two corporations to battle rather than one, and the conspiracies are ramped up. Plus, the added bonus of space colonization.
Like I said, there is a lot going on.
The strengths of these books are Raven Blackheart. There are other characters- Russell Li, her later love interest has and intricate subplot-, but my feeling was that both books remained Raven’s story. She is a tough character, action hero style, and both books are heavy on the action sequences. The scientific explanations for Dracin,and Dracin hybrids are intriguing and unique. An additional storyline about an off-world colony effort ties in nicely. Also, I appreciate that the author took pains to describe LA/California with its true multi-ethnic diversity. Raven Blackheart herself is Egyptian-First Nations; and her First Nations family member play a role in the story.
The second book is the stronger of the two. It is obvious the writer was more comfortable with the characters, so the plot is stronger and more streamlined. At this point we get a chance to see how Raven is dealing with her transition; ie. coming to terms with her vampire side and its side effects (not always pleasant). I think these scenes were the strongest. The love story between Raven and Russell is sweet; giving a pleasant aside without detracting from the main story of Raven.
There were times I felt as if there was too much background stated rather than weaved into the story. I am not a fan of prologues, in general, and for this book I thought the prologue of the second book unnecessary. It slowed the novel down a bit. Although there were some interesting facts about her family, it wasn’t really relevant to the current narrative. I would have like to have seen more of Russell recovering from his personal tragedies- I think it would have strengthened the characterization a bit.
In general, it was an entertaining read. There were some passages of infodump given that this a rather complex world the author has built. It’s definitely heavy on the action/adventure rather than the interpersonal drama; so it you’re a fan of the character driven style, this may not be your cup of tea. But if you like your action, then Raven definitely has that going for her.
Length: Two books in one
Genre: SF, Fantasy
Primary Book Format: e-book
Publisher/Imprint: RavenFire Media
Blush Quotient: Pink, but like a light pink
Smart Girls Rating: 3 Star
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(Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author for an honest review.)