From the BLURB:
Seven deadly sins. Seven souls that must be saved. One more no-holds- barred battle between a fallen angel with a hardened heart and a demon with everything to lose.
Isaac Rothe is a black ops soldier with a dark past and a grim future. The target of an assassin, he finds himself behind bars, his fate in the hands of his gorgeous public defender Grier Childe. His hot attraction to her can only lead to trouble-and that's before Jim Heron tells him his soul is in danger. Caught up in a wicked game with the demon who shadows Jim, Isaac must decide whether the soldier in him can believe that true love is the ultimate weapon against evil.
Here we go Again
‘Crave’ is the second book in JR Ward’s ‘Fallen Angels’ series.
Okay. So it’s no secret that I wasn’t thrilled with the first book ‘Covet’. I went into this second book with big trepidation, and actually put-off reading it for three months. But I finally got around to tackling this worrisome sequel and overall I've got to admit, it’s not bad. . . it’s not great, but it’s not bad either.
I really don’t know how to do this review without spoilers of both ‘Covet’ and ‘Crave’, so don’t read on if you’re not up-to-date with those pesky Fallen Angels. . .
In this second instalment dead soldier and newborn angel, Jim Herron, is assigned to one of his fellow XOps army buddies in a bid to save his soul and win the ultimate game of Good VS. Evil. Isaac Rothe is going to be a hard nut to crack – he’s on the run from his ex-XOps captain, Matthias, and living on the mean streets to do it. Isaac has been street-fighting to make a living. Unfortunately the evil demon she-bitch, Devina, is also after Isaac and determined to claim his soul for hell. . .
But before either Jim or Devina can make a play for Isaac, he is swept up by the Caldwell police department and assigned a state’s attorney to plead his attempted manslaughter charge. Isaac is assigned to the beautiful and leggy Grier Childe, a well-to-do lawyer with a killer closer and a ghostly brother haunting her.
Grier is reluctantly drawn to Isaac, despite his thug behaviour and lethality. But then Matthias realizes he can use Grier to threaten Isaac, and suddenly the bid for his soul becomes a 50/50 even-split between heaven and hell.
You had me at ‘Ma’am’
I wasn’t too thrilled with the hero of ‘Covet’, Vin DiPietro - I didn’t hate him, but I didn’t rate him either. Isaac Rothe is another story. . . he’s a Southern Gentleman dripping with country drawl and impeccable manners. But underneath Isaac’s swagger is a lean, mean, killing machine. I loved his duality and sheer toughness. Even more so because he was able to switch it off with Grier. The second he lays eyes on his leggy lawyer Isaac is enthralled, and he treats Grier with the utmost respect, gentleness and care. He was very much a (Black Dagger) brother in that way, and I loved him for it.
“Okay.” He tightened her first and drew her arm back over her shoulder. “Take it out on me.”“What - ”“Hit me. Tear my eyes out. Do anything you have to.”“Are you mad?”“Yes. Insane.” He dropped his hold on her and braced his weight, staying close. . . close enough so she could cork him a good one if she wanted to. “I’ll be your punching bag, your Kevlar vest, your bodyguard. . . I’ll do anything to help you get through this.”“You’re crazy,” she breathed.
Grier was the perfect match to Isaac. She’s ballsy and beautiful. She is initially wary of Isaac’s hardness, but quickly enraged by his seeming death-wish. I loved that she called him out for his stupidity and never backed down. These two were combustible and hot on the page. . . and it goes without saying that Grier kicked Marie-Terese’s hyphenated-ass!
I didn’t really care for the entire angel aspect of ‘Covet’. . . which is a sore point in a series called ‘Fallen Angels’. I’m still not a fan of the Warden’s interpretation of Heaven (an angel called Nigel and an ongoing croquet tournament. . . puh-leeze!). But I am warming to the Warden’s feathered friends. Jim Herron is assisted by his angel buddies Adrian Vogel and Eddie Blackhawk. I didn’t think a whole lot of these two in ‘Covet’, because I didn’t think they were given enough page-time for reader’s to get to know them. Well, that changes in ‘Crave’. . . not only do we get an idea of their tag-team efforts, but we are given insights into their ongoing twisted torment, courtesy of Devina. These two are growing on me, Adrian especially, and I look forward to reading their progression (especially since now I know how much emotional and mental baggage that are lugging around!)
Good girls go to Heaven,
Bad girls go Down
I actually like Devina as a ‘bad-guy’. She is the female BDB equivalent of Lash, in that she’s the continuous villain throughout the series (I assume?) and we read her interiority. I am not a big fan of the ‘Mr. X’ & ‘Mr. O’ villainous sub-plots of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, I tend to skip over those interiorities and get the gist of their plot from the Brother’s side of things. It wasn’t until Lash came on the scene that I actually started reading and investing in those sinister side-stories. Devina is similar to Lash, because we are getting a progression of her character. . . from her back-seat romp with Jim in ‘Covet’, to her increasing infatuation with him in ‘Crave’. I like reading that evil progression, mapping the villainous character-arc is more interesting than the usual throw-away side stories in BDB. And Devina is truly sinister. She is a mind-fuck female who will stop at nothing to degrade and derange her angel foe. And her torture technique is. . . horrible. That’s all I can say. . . horrible!
I also wasn’t a big fan of Jim Heron in ‘Covet’. . . another sore point since he’s the only mainstay character in the series. But Jim grew on me in ‘Crave’ – it was partly due to the fact that Devina puts him through the ringer and I felt awful for him. It was also the appearance of a character that I hope will be either a main in the third book, or an ongoing character in the series. Cecilia ‘Sissy’ Barten appeared briefly in ‘Covet’, as Devina’s virginal sacrifice. Jim stumbles across Sissy while he’s in the bowels of hell, and he is determined to save her. . . I was instantly intrigued by Sissy and her plight, and even more so by Jim’s reaction to her (calling her ‘his girl’ and being horrified when she sees his tortured body). I really hope that the Warden returns to Sissy’s story, because I was instantly captivated by her.
Second Act Downfall
I did like ‘Crave’ better than ‘Covet’. But the last 100 pages or so of the book went a little haywire for me. . . The action of the story is restricted to Grier’s house, and I found the claustrophobic setting a little tedious and boring. The action just sort of patters out, and the romance is set to fizzle instead of sizzle, with a hasty wrap-up that’s full of sickening schmaltz. It did feel like a very rushed ending, and there was no real cliff hanger to ensure that readers come back for number three (aside from my curiosity pique concerning Sissy).
All in all, the finale was not JR Ward’s greatest, but overall the ‘Fallen Angels’ series is growing on me (slowly). I would have given this book a 4/5, or even a 5/5 if the romance had maintained the spark and the ending hadn’t been such a dud. As it is. . .