Eye of Heaven by Marjorie M. Liu (Dirk and Steele #4)

Like every member of the Dirk & Steele Agency, Blue Perrineau is far from “normal”—and he believes in the organization’s creed: Protect the innocent in secrecy. Now an obligation to the family that rejected him is leading Blue into the light and shadow of Sin City . . . and to a remarkable woman, beautiful, desirable, and untamed.

Iris is a headliner in Vegas, dazzling crowds with her feral sensuality and her uncanny affinity for dangerous beasts. But there is a darkness in her world that she never knew existed, and a champion has appeared to protect her—a man charged with electricity, who guards a secret as strange and powerful as her own. And every secret is a liability when darkest evil exists that follows no rule under heaven. Yet with passion and love sustaining them, together Blue and Iris might yet live to see the dawn.

SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1-3 AND THIS BOOK

Almost this entire ramble is going to be negative and filled with me complaining about things. Just fyi. It could be I was having an “off” reading day, but it was as though I was determined to find everything unacceptable and have it bug me.

I wasn’t as into the location this time around – the main location being Las Vegas. Part of it’s probably from an unfair prejudice towards Las Vegas (it sounds like such an uncomfortable place to stay, let alone live in) and also I liked how in the previous books, most of the action occurred in a country outside of the U.S. The characters here spend a bit of time in Jakarta, Indonesia, but not enough that the location has a particular impact on the plot (as it did in the other books).

By all accounts, I should have liked Blue, but he felt the flattest of all of the heroes so far in this series. Compared to the others, he felt lacking in the personality department. Or maybe, since Blue’s story came after Artur’s and Dean’s, there was no way he could measure up. It’s a tall order, after all. I did think his psychic ability of manipulating electricity was the coolest of all the psychic abilities introduced so far, and also the first that demonstrated considerable danger to people aside from the psychic person. Unlike his comrades, Blue has the ability to kill using his psychic ability, therefore whenever he uses it, he risks hurting other people as opposed to hurting himself. Though I don’t know why Blue didn’t heal Elena after using his psychic ability to restart Iris’ heart. Maybe he could only do it because he was in love with her? You’d think if he figured out he could restart hearts, he’d restart Elena’s so Artur wouldn’t beat the shit out of him. Whatever.

In terms of mirrored relationship obstacles, the one between Blue and Iris was set up really well. Iris too fights with her natural ability to shapeshift and her subsequent loss of control in her animal form. Both Blue and Iris have hurt people they’ve cared for and, as a result, both are worried about hurting the other or not receiving the acceptance for who they are they desperately desire from each other.

On the other hand, their relationship was set up in the form of an “insta-attraction” vibe, something I do not like when it comes to relationships of any kind, and romantic relationships in particular. Blue saves Iris from a sniper bullet, they look into each other’s eyes, and then both of them pretty much go “I… FEEL SOMETHING.” And then Iris, who’s had an aversion to touch for practically her entire life, suddenly wishes Blue would touch her again. I didn’t buy it. The author has written believable romances developing extremely quickly before, but the poor set-up left me unable to accept the short time span, which then left me cold to the entire romance.

Also, something about Iris bugged me the wrong way. I think it’s because she gave off this aura of “special, lonely girl” that somehow made everyone she knew want to take care of her and be her friend. Not that she wasn’t capable of taking care of herself or committing violence when there wasn’t any alternative, but the fact that that everyone felt drawn to her because she’s “special, lonely girl” made me not want to like her, because if everyone likes her, why should I? If that makes any sense.

In terms of overall series plot and conflict, a couple little things are introduced, but nothing else is revealed or even shown to have a meaningful connection to something else, like how Blue’s father’s connection to the Consortium doesn’t lead to any new connections or revelations. I’m getting uncertain about this, because I would like to have at least the possibility of eventually getting answers, but right now, that doesn’t appear likely anytime soon.

There’s a possibility I’m being too harsh with this book, but if I am, it’s because I’ve enjoyed all three of her previous books that to not enjoy this one makes it a bigger disappointment. Hopefully this is the only dud.

Disclosure – library

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