Review: Wrath of the Goddess by Lauren Dane

Review: Wrath of the Goddess by Lauren DaneWrath of the Goddess by Lauren Dane
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: paranormal, urban fantasy
Series: Goddess with a Blade #5
Pages: 336
Published by Carina Press on June 10th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Rowan Summerwaite is back—and more than a little pissed off—in
Wrath of the Goddess
, the fifth installment in
New York Times
bestselling author Lauren Dane’s Goddess with a Blade series.

You can’t keep a vengeful woman down for long.

Rowan Summerwaite, elite hunter and human vessel to the goddess Brigid, has returned home to Las Vegas—and she’s mad as hell. It seems someone thought they could eliminate Rowan and everyone she holds dear.

That someone was dead wrong.

With tensions between paranormal factions at an all-time high, Rowan and her crew, along with her sexy Vampire Scion husband, Clive Stewart, have their work cut out for them. The Vampire Nation has at least one traitor in their midst, leaving them extremely vulnerable…but if it’s a war they want, Rowan’s prepared to bring the pain like never before.

Rowan knows her duty is to those she’s sworn to protect, but it seems the harder she fights, the more barriers she hits…and the more friends she loses.

With even her closest alliances in question, Rowan will have to accept that sometimes the path toward the greater good means making heartrending sacrifices along the way…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the
Carina Press Romance Promise
: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

And see how Rowan’s fight began in Goddess with a Blade, Blade to the Keep, Blade on the Hunt and At Blade’s Edge, available now!

This book is approximately 82,000 words

My Review:

I feel as if I’m in a pre-existing relationship with this book that I need to disclose – even though I only just finished it. I know that sounds a bit (possibly more than a bit) odd.

You see, the first book in this series, Goddess With a Blade, was one of the first books I ever got from NetGalley, eight long years ago. I still remember sitting down at my kitchen table to read it, and finished it in one sitting. (To be fair, it’s only 200 pages, for me that’s not a long book.) Goddess With a Blade was also one of my picks for “Best Ebook Romance” of 2011 in Library Journal.

A couple of years later, after we’d moved to Seattle – and after Blade to the Keep was published – I was riding the bus home from work and saw an ad for Goddess and Keep on the side of a city bus, and as it flashed by I realized that I was being quoted on the side of the bus! It was one of those total “squee” moments.

I mean, I was a fan of the series before – but WOW!

I do love this series. Very Much. And I would even without the side-of-the-bus squeeing.

But it’s been FOUR very long YEARS since the previous book in this series, At Blade’s Edge. A book that left series readers hanging over the edge of a nasty and brutally epic cliffhanger. A cliffy that feels like it has only just begun to be resolved by the end of Wrath of the Goddess.

That Goddess is plenty wrathful – and she has every right to be.

Wrath of the Goddess begins where At Blade’s Edge left us hanging – with Rowan Summerwaite, vessel of the Goddess Brigid, in Europe for her wedding to the Vampire Scion of North America, Clive Stewart. One of her friends back home in Las Vegas is sending her congratulations, live over the Internet, when seriously evil dudes break into her headquarters and kill the man – on camera – then taunt her with the information that they are coming for everyone she loves.

From that gruesome point, the story is off to the races. Rowan, with a little help from her friends and a lot of help from Clive, rushes home to Vegas to investigate the death of one of her family-of-choice – as well as the disappearance of another.

Only to discover that both her own organization, Hunter Corp., and Clive’s, the Vampire Nation, still have traitors at the very top who have betrayed them both to some nefarious someone who is out for his – or her – own evil ends.

It’s up to Rowan – and her Goddess – to stop them. Again. Because the evil that Rowan has battled before is a multi-headed beast and it’s her duty to lop off all the heads. In order to save her friends, her family, and perhaps humanity itself.

Escape Rating A-: I loved this, and found it a great read from beginning to end. But, and at this point it gets to be a bigger “but” all the time, this is no place to start this series. (Also not the end of this series, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)

The world created in this series has become intensely convoluted. There’s Rowan, and her Goddess. There’s the Vampire Nation, to which Rowan has multiple ties, and not just her new husband. Rowan’s foster-father Theo is “The First” of the Vampire Nation, the oldest, the most dangerous, and the most ruthless of them all. And he’s the one in charge.

Rowan works for Hunter Corp., an organization that defends humans without magic or paranormal abilities. That defense is wrapped around a Treaty between the Hunters and the Vampires. Preservation of that treaty is a big part of Rowan’s job. In spite of the number of times that Hunter Corp has misused and betrayed her. Repeatedly and often.

There are also witches – one of whom plays a big part in Wrath of the Goddess, and other paranormal beings. It’s a big world, as big as our own non-magical world, and it has layers within layers – layers that a newbie coming into the series at this point will probably drown in.

If this all sounds fascinating, start back at the beginning with Goddess With a Blade, because this is a series that is building on each book – they don’t stand alone.

If this is your jam, and you get to this point, this particular entry in the series adds more of those layers, both in the form of the witch who joins with Rowan and in the sense of Rowan’s character development.

Readers who are also fans of J.D. Robb’s In Death series will find a lot of similarities between Rowan Summerwaite and Eve Dallas. Both are blunt to the point of rudeness, have little patience with fools or bureaucrats, and hide their soft gooey centers under layers and layers (and layers) of epic snarkitude.

Back to Wrath of the Goddess – before she gets more wrathful. In spite of Rowan’s extreme distaste for bureaucracy, there’s a lot of, not exactly bureaucracy, but certainly a lot of “hurry up and wait” in this one. It makes sense for the story, as a huge piece of it necessarily follows the investigation into the murder that Rowan and Clive witnessed online.

That investigation turns out to be much bigger than merely “whodunnit” as Rowan discovers that someone staked out her headquarters for weeks before the hit, and timed it “just so”, to make it perfectly devastating for Rowan.

So there’s lots of magical forensics in this one, and lots of unraveling layers and unspooling of possibilities of suspects and traitors on all three sides – Hunter Corp, the Vampire Nation and the witches’ Senate, because there are traitors in the (high) ranks of all three.

In the end, there’s plenty of kickass action for everyone – along with the heartbreaking realization that the rot that Rowan thought she weeded out in At Blade’s Edge has already spread farther than she wanted to believe.

Her job is not over, and neither is this series. Book 6, Blood and Blade is scheduled for release in December. I have ALL my fingers crossed that we really won’t have to wait longer than that to see what happens next!

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