Lizzie is going to Greece to have a holiday with her Gryphon boyfriend in his ancestral home - while Dimitri can finally look to a future with his family and clan now the curse has been lifted
But peace is quickly menaced by an ominous prediction of Lizzie’s death. Oh and Dimitri’ ex who raises some disturbing questions about where Lizzie actually fits in his world.
This is one of this books that surprises me. The first two books of this series have… not been my favourite series, been often quite simplistic and sidelining just about everything that made this book so fascinating - like the biker witches
And a fair bit of that continues - the biker witches are still just a vague background group who don’t serve a great deal of purpose except to be the world’s worst house guests just so Lizzie can feel super super worried.
But it does equally feed quite interestingly into Lizzie’s conflict over just how much Dimitri has done for her, sacrificed for her et al. Which is an interesting element of self-reflection especially from a character who has spent most of her story so far being understandably self-absorbed. I mean this isn’t a character flaw on Lizzie’s part because she’s obviously gone through a lot, being a little self-focused makes sense. I don’t begrudge her a second of this because that’s natural, nor do I think her resisting further revelations or her objecting to anything stopping her having a break, just a brief break. This is a reasonable, human reaction. And it’s equally reasonable for her to, when she has a bit of break, to reflect on that and think that maybe the people around her have done a lot for her. I kind of think that the Witches deserve more of this reflection and realisation than Dimitri. But the whole conflict and internal debate is really well done.
I think that the book kind of misses what Lizzie did for them - saving the witches and releasing Dmitri’s family from a curse that was killing his sisters and destroying his family and future. I mean this whole narrative kind of misses that every side character would actually be dead if it weren’t for Lizzie. The balance isn’t all one way- and I think that this is pushed at least in part because they wanted Lizzie to have break up angst with Dmitri. Which I don’t get the need for, we don’t need a relationship drama as well as everything else and I think the relationship was already super shaky because of how very very.
But I did like the interaction between Lizzie and Dmitri’s sisters - the instant connection, the support, Lizzie backing them without trying to overrule them. And I liked Amara. I’m skating round spoiler territory here - but I liked her developed story and the revelations that came with her especially since she began as such a “AAARGH EVIL LOVE RIVAL! RAWR!”
Really, Lizzie’s interactions with other women in this book were excellent - even when it looked like something stereotypical or dubious was raising it’s ugly head it was subverted. I also liked the crafty biplay of Dimitri and the Biker witches. While Lizzie is, frankly, being ultra snobby and generally thinking that her low class family is going to embarrass her in front of her super classy boyfriend, Dmitri himself is fully respectful of the witches skills and willing to let them have free reign. It’s a nice touch and a gentle subversion of Lizzie’s own, well, shame at her biker family.
I also really liked her instructor - quirky, not aggressive, forms a good rapport: there’s no unnecessary antagonism at all. On top of that we have an interesting plot with some nice forboding and hefty stakes and some really powerful hooks for future books
I didn’t like Dmitri and Lizzie’s relationship - not just because the break up tension but because I think he is super super super condescending towards her. And yes, maybe he has “confidence” in her by not being bothered by the death omens, but still being indifferent to something mystically predicting your beloved’s death is a bit of a dick move. Treating her own consternation as silly is doubly so
I think the world building is still lacking - even as more plot is unfolding, demon slayers basically having a whole “I believe it and it’s so” approach to powers is annoying. And I don’t even know why they chose Greek gryphons for Dmitri et al since neither Greece not, really, Gryphon-ness touch what they are and why even if we did have some development of the Gryphon clans
And while I’m not against fun talking animals, with every passing book I want something to eat Pirate.
It is also really lacking in any kind of minority characters. Like, at all, ever.