Publisher: Montlake Romance
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Challenges: Finishing the Series Reading Challenge |
NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
Faith Ansell could never be mistaken for an action hero. The scientist is content in her lab, working with her team on life-changing discoveries. But when a mysterious organization captures her colleagues, she’s forced to flee for her life with SEAL Team 7.
Lieutenant Seth “Rawls” Rawlings, ST7’s corpsman, hasn’t been himself since a near-death experience in the Sierra Nevadas. He’s tense and distracted, and the team caught him arguing with himself—loudly. Despite his erratic behavior, Rawls is the only one Faith feels comfortable confiding her life-threatening secret in.
But Rawls has a secret of his own: his wasn’t the only spirit to return to the physical plane when he was resuscitated. At first, Rawls assumed the “ghost” he saw and heard meant he was having a complete mental breakdown. But the apparition soon becomes convincingly real, and what’s more, he may be the key to the conspiracy looming over them. Rawls had better act quickly because ST7’s race to save their reputations—and Faith’s life—is on.
I enjoy this series - the people, the action, the over the top story lines. But this book and its predecessors share some flaws: over the top story lines (also a strength), cliches and stereotypes that pass for characterization, and plot holes. "Forged in Smoke" is the third book in the series, with apparently two more to come, yet there are still lots of loose ends and questions; the overall series story line is moving forward slowly, oh so slowly. You should really read the previous books as this doesn't work well as a stand-alone. We get some answers and if you love conspiracies, you'll love this story line. With each book, there are more answers and world building but it's doled out in dribs and drabs. Some of apparent plot holes do get resolved, at least somewhat, while others still gape.
Allies who were introduced in book two, a sort of special forces Native American team, reappear in this one and play a key role in the story. I have so many questions about them it's not even funny. This is also where McCallan relies heavily on cliches and stereotypes instead of characterization or world building. She mentioned on Facebook that these characters will be getting a spin-off series and I hope she uses that opportunity to more fully develop the characters and their world.
The SEAL team members play well off of each other and you can feel their frustration with Seth's behavior after his near-death experience. I was frustrated at times with Rawl's behavior; I felt like he should have trusted his teammates more. Still, McCallan did a good job showing his fear and frustration with his situation while also infusing some humor into it.
Faith is pleasant but bland. She doesn't do anything, stuff just happens to her; she's largely passive and reactive.
The two things she'd wanted most from life had been handed to her with absolutely no effort on her part: redacted due to spoiler and a man to share that life with.
Mostly, she's defined by her health issues. A lot of the action and development in this series actually revolves around or springs from characters injuries or health problems. While Faith was sweet and the romance between her and Rawls was sweet, Faith was a weak character and I didn't find her a good match for Rawls. She was too soft and meek.
" Forged in Smoke" has a happy romantic ending, though the overall story ending is somewhat abrupt, but various mystery related story lines are not tied up. It was a somewhat dissatisfying ending. I'm looking forward to book four, which should be Mac and Amy's story; that one's been brewing since book one.