Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Edged Blade (Colbana Files #4) by J.C. Daniels

Kit has come a long way since being kidnapped and tortured by Jude. Sure, she's still triggered sometimes but has found a way to barrel through it and has begun to resemble herself somewhat. When her best friend Justin comes to her looking for help because witches have gone missing, Kit is quick to agree to take the case.  What she doesn't realise is that the case is even larger than she ever could have imagined and that to work on it, she's going to have make some very unlikely allies.

I really do think that Edged Blade is the best Colbana Files book to date.  To be clear, the grammar is still a problem and at times, I had difficulty differentiating who was talking, particularly because Daniels seems to like to give her characters the same voice but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  I understand that this is a self pub but line editing would have gone a long way to clean up some of the sloppy mess.

One of the things that I like about this series is that though Kit has obviously been assaulted and tortured, J.C. Daniels didn't try to gloss it over as though it were nothing.  It's been a full on year since her attack and Kit is still trying to deal.  She's modified her body with tattoos to hide scars and she's trained to regain her strength.  I would really have liked to see Kit actually have some counselling considering what she has been through. Kit faces down her fear and even agrees to work with and for the vampires.  This is a huge leap given that in the last book, she could barely stand to be around one for a few short moments.

Much of Edged Blade focuses on the romance between Kit and Damon.  Damon is still in full possession mode and this is hardly a surprise given that he once walked away from her because she wouldn't answer his summons immediately.  I know that Daniels means us to be fired up about the relationship between Damon and Kit but it's far too dysfunctional for that. Damon is jealous of Kit's partner Jason because they used to be lovers.  Kit has to carefully monitor her interactions with Jason, lest she end up smelling like him thus driving Damon into a rage.  This is ridiculously abusive and puerile behaviour. If that were not enough, when Damon's former lover rejoins the pack, Kit becomes jealous and repeatedly taunts the woman. Kit is also insecure about how Damon feels about her even though he has been stalking her.  There's also the issue that Damon treats his former lover like a piece crap every time he sees her to calm Kit's nerves.  I really have begun to believe that these two deserve each other.

In between the emotional angst between Damon and Kit, Daniels managed to squeeze in a plot involving non humans being captured hospitalized and treated.  What could healthy non humans possibly be treated with? Well with aversion therapy of course, surgery and mutilation.  The goal of the kidnappers is to find a way to turn the world's supernatural citizens into humans.  Of course, Kit is quick to go down the born this way trope and quickly becomes analogy for the horrible aversion therapy treatments that LGBT people are forced into, even as the Colbana Files fails to have a current LGBT character.  The only LGBT character thus far was introduced in Blade Song.

In terms of race, we still only have Chang to speak of.  It's worth noting that in this book, he appeared more than any other to date.  It's clear that he and Damon have a very close relationship and are capable of communicating ideas with a simple look.  I like that Chang is essentially second in command of the cats but at the same time, I know so little about him.  At this point, I have no idea what kind of cat that Chang changes into.  I know very little about his family or how he came to work with Damon.  There's still so much that Daniels has to do to flesh out his character and move him beyond the enigmatic Asian trope who constantly has time to give advice to Kit.

At this point, I really think that Daniels needs to do some more world building and give us something to sink out teeth into. Daniels left Edged Blade on a cliffhanger and when this is added to other dangling plot lines, like Kit's grandmother for instance it makes me want to scream.  I feel as though the plot could move a lot faster than it does and perhaps if she would reduce the relationship drama between Kit and Damon it would.