February 24, 2011

Review: Etched in Bone by Adrian Phoenix

Etched in Bone
Author: Adrian Phoenix
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Series: Maker's Song, Book 4
ISBN: 1439137307
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher

For more information please visit Adrain Phoenix's website.



More beautiful and powerful than any creature the world has ever seen, Dante Baptiste has become the supreme target of the three worlds that spawned him. The mortal agents of the Shadow Branch have tried to control his mind through psychological torture. The vampire elders who guide nightkind society have plotted to use him in their bloodthirsty bid for power. And the Fallen have waited for millennia for Dante to claim his birthright as their Maker. But Dante belongs to no one—except the woman he loves. . . .


Determined to face the Fallen and the world on his own terms, Dante hopes to piece together his shattered past and claim his future, with FBI agent Heather Wallace at his side. But in Heather’s human family awaits an unexpected enemy. One who could rip Heather from Dante’s heart and fill the holes with bullets. One who could force Dante to choose his darkest destiny—as the Great Destroyer. . . .
Etched in Bone, Adrian Phoenix’s fourth installment in the popular Maker’s Song series, is a thrilling novel that once again picks up immediately following the events of the previous novel, Beneath the Skin. Edgy, fast paced and tantalizingly addictive this is without a doubt the best novel in this amazingly enjoyable series to date.

Again, the world created by Phoenix is broken open to reveal even more suspense laden action as the group find themselves back in New Orleans, forced to take refuge within the walls of Club Hell and once more denied the desperately needed rest that they deserve. Dante’s richly built New Orleans once again takes center stage and it’s hard not to say ‘it’s good to be home’ in the wake of all the on-the-road turmoil. However, if you think things would finally begin to settle down for the group of weary souls, think again. Picking up in Gehenna, Dante rescues Lucien and is given an unwanted introduction to the Fallen which does not exactly what you would expect; then again, perhaps it does given Dante’s usual brash manner. The atmospheres the celebratory chaos of Gehenna is aptly captured leaving the world feeling exceedingly vivid. While we don’t spend much time in the Fallens’ realm, it was still nice to get a feel for those who call it home, of course this isn’t exactly a good thing. We come to find that they are just as treacherous and covetous as any human monster eager to get their hands on Dante for their own gain. Back in the mortal realm, the area around St. Louis No. 3 is in chaos after the shock wave of Dante’s brute forced entrance into Gehenna. The scene is captured wonderfully and sets a nice tone of impending destruction for the novel.

The characters are once again wonderfully developed and even more brilliantly explored. Dante’s fracturing psyche becomes an even bigger point of contention within the novel, his grip on reality fleeting at best. There’s a great emotionality surrounding him including superbly expressed tones of grief and pain as well as contempt of not only himself, but of those that seek to use him. He retains his usual flair of insolence and defiance and yet in this novel we see him finally lowering his shields and listening to those around him. Imagine how shocked I was to see this! However, while some characters couldn’t pull of this off without looking disdainful, Dante’s acceptance while under grim circumstances is actually pretty graceful. It comes off as being organic expressing his growing character. Von and Heather are once again the sturdy protectors guarding not only Dante but trying to protect what little grip on his sanity that he holds. As always, their devotion towards Dante is unquestionable and I loved seeing them become more vocal on their thoughts about his actions. Finally, it seems like they are bucking his need to do things his way forcing him to accept not only their love and support, but their help and guidance. Annie, however, is still Annie making it very hard not to want to strangle her. But, with some interesting developments within this novel it makes me curious to see what her character will do in the future and how this will play out.

The plot is once again threaded with complex and lofty sub-plots, but as in the previous novels you can feel the loops tightening, but in this novel they seem to finally pull the noose taut around Dante and his friends. Sub-plots are finally getting more exposure, the agendas behind them becoming clearer as the characters behind them start enacting their nefarious plans. I enjoyed not seeing the Shadow Branch and the FBI as much, instead watching the key players who have gone rogue from the organizations. This leads to more imminent action and suspense as they circle closer and closer to their prey and Club Hell. This adds to a very claustrophobic feeling that mirrors the characters thoughts, ‘We’re running out of time.’ Never before has this been more evident as even more unanswered questions come to light.

Overall, this novel was the most enthralling of the lot with more action, suspense, drama and romance then ever before. Amazingly written with pitch perfect characterization, this is a must read for fans of the series! Of course, the thrilling and maddening ending that we’ve become familiar with is present leaving us once again screaming for more! I seriously can NOT wait for the next installment, On Midnight’s Wings!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Scars

Adivsory: Some sexual content

1 comment:

Adrian said...

Thanks so much for the incredible review! I'm so glad you enjoyed Etched in Bone and the series!