THE RIPPLE EFFECT
Rhiannon's Law #3
Adult Urban Fantasy
Received from author for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
There is always a price to pay…
Murphy visited the future, witnessed hell on earth and made choices to
change things for the greater good. Unfortunately there are consequences
for her actions, the penalties for her interference possibly more than
she can bear. Determined to sever her debt with a fallen angel, she
pushes everything aside, focusing on locating Marigold Vesta’s resting
Until death comes knocking at her door.
Disco’s maker arrives in New York, he resents Rhiannon on a level she
can’t begin to comprehend. Yet Marius isn’t her most dangerous
adversary, not by a long shot. Marius’s sire -- a half-demon -- is
determined to see the necromancer who stunned the vampire world on her
knees. If she won’t bend, he’ll do everything in his power to make her
break. No price is too high, meaning no one is safe -- including Disco
Dealt a blow from which she can never recover,
Rhiannon turns to the only person who can help her: the fallen angel who
is relying on Rhiannon to save her soul. Bartering with a creature from
Heaven is probably just as dangerous as starting a war with a demon
from Hell, but with nothing to lose it’s no longer about life or death.
It’s about getting even.
The Ripple Effect is one of those stories that sends a shudder of unease through us from the opening chapter, a sense of foreboding entering through our fingertips where they touch the pages and traveling like liquid lightening through our bloodstream until our entire bodies feel a darkly anticipatory weight settle in. It's with nerves on edge that we continue Rhiannon's story, subtle and not-so subtle hints of bad things to come causing us to shift uncomfortably in our seats, waiting with breath held for the pain we know is waiting for us around a not-too distant bend. Rhiannon's world is brutal and unforgiving, and Ms. Saare never wastes an opportunity to detail just how cutthroat it can be, but we know that while she'll let us ride the razor's edge and bloody ourselves again and again, she'll never let us completely fall off, providing us the comfort of a helping hand just as we start to precariously teeter.
Rhiannon has always been a highlight of this series, her no-nonsense attitude and abundance of sarcasm combining with a violent past and innate vulnerability to give us a stunningly chaotic young woman with a jumble of traits and faults that add up to one exquisitely human whole. In this latest installment, Rhiannon's imperfections are thrust into the spotlight, a past history of looking out only for herself and being the sole bearer of the repercussions of her actions proving to have created in her a fatal flaw given her initiation into a large vampire family. For most of this story she's unable to fully grasp what having a family means, and she continues on her lonely road with eyes straight ahead as she has every day before, all the while failing to expand her line of sight to see how her footsteps affect those on the periphery.
By the time her tunnel vision clears, unstoppable events are set in motion, ones that painfully and heart-wrenchingly school Rhiannon in the ways of the vampire world. Each book in this series has Rhiannon learning a hard lesson in the hardest way possible, her soft spots not just poked, but punched again and again until she's battered and bloody, though never beaten. One of the things we can't help but love most about Rhiannon is her ability to own her mistakes and take the fallback unflinchingly, recognizing the decisions that led her to her current predicament and stepping up to receive the blow physically, emotionally, or in the case of this third installment, both.
Overall, The Ripple Effect is a challenging read in that it tests our boundaries as readers, forcing us to evaluate whether we're strong enough to traverse this world with Rhiannon or if it's simply more than we can bear. The first half suggests the latter, the darkness looming on the horizon like a poisonous snake coiling in our guts ready to strike at any moment, but the second half, after a red haze of pain clears, gives us strength in the form of a Rhiannon with renewed purpose. Her determination to see her mistakes remedied and her debts paid in full fills us with hope that the end of her journey, whenever that may be, will see her with wounds healed and happiness etched in every one of her features.