Diego by Angel Martinez
After defeating an evil wendigo, a man and his pooka lover deserve a little quiet, don’t they? Unfortunately, Diego and Finn’s hard-won peace is disturbed, their new life in Montana turned upside-down when Diego, in a jealous rage, unwittingly rips a hole in the impenetrable Veil to the Otherworld.
Separated, stuck on the other side of the Veil where Finn has to deal with old conflicts and Diego is the only human in a land of fae, the two of them are forced to navigate rocky waters between huge egos and ancient feuds. To make matters worse, some of the fae, in both the sidhe and Fomorian courts, are dying of a mysterious illness and everyone believes Diego is the key to a cure. Things can’t possibly get any worse, can they? Oh, yes–it can when the U.S. government gets involved.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Diego is the long awaited sequel to Finn (a book I totally adored). Unfortunately while the sequel has moments of entertainment, humor, and interest, it overall failed to deliver the same enjoyment and delight of the previous book. In fact my attention wandered frequently and several times I felt the book simply jumped the shark. I’m not sure why either since all the elements to a successful story are there, just jumbled, mashed, and distorted until the story didn’t delight me anywhere near the way the previous book did. Perhaps I had too high of expectations.
The sequel starts out with a ridiculous jealousy scene. I’m sorry but I found this extremely hard to fathom and buy into. Diego and Finn have declared their ever lasting love, promised to be true and faithful and while the situation is pretty damning, Diego storms off in a jealous huff while hurling horrible names at Finn. So all those declarations of love just disappear at the first hurdle? I get that Diego would be jealous, hurt, and even suspicious but his reaction is so over the top, I just couldn’t buy into it. I put that aside though as it’s clearly just a vehicle to get into the real story. Now Finn and Diego are in the Otherworld where the fae live and immediately become embroiled in court antics, a mysterious illness plaguing the fae, and a potential war between the courts.
This is unequivocally the best part of the story. The fae world is interesting and their dynamics, while familiar to most fantasy stories, remain fun to read. The various new characters introduced completely stole the story and any scenes they were in. Diego is set up as too good to be true in this part and he acts kind of horribly. He does and thinks much more damning things than the situation he found Finn in and is only vaguely aware of his hypocrisy. Diego comes across as some kind of supreme savior to the fae people while Finn, who consistently works hard to save them as well, is pretty much ignored and put down. For his part Diego does mourn Finn and wants to be together, but he lacks the intensity of emotion that Finn has. Finn is definitely needier but Diego seems more preoccupied by the color of trees than his relationship to Finn, which he pretty much takes for granted.
Once the court intrigue and illness are resolved, the story really could have ended there for me. Instead that’s only barely half way and the plot lines just keep coming. Up to now I had some issues but they were minor as the writing kept the story tight, interesting, and moving. Unfortunately once they’re back in the human world, the story just veers off key and never recovers. There is a new twist with Finn convinced he doesn’t deserve Diego while Diego constantly dismisses Finn’s feelings and worries. Anytime Finn tries to explain he’s jealous or upset or worried, Diego simply soothes him and dismisses any issue as if Diego’s mere word is enough. This really bothered me and had Diego coming across as arrogant and cold despite his verbal assertions that he really loves Finn.
At the same time there is the most ridiculous plotline where the government kidnaps everyone assuming the fae are aliens. They go to some secret underground instillation and everyone undergoes horrific experiments. All I can say is I rolled my eyes so much I thought they’d pop out of my head and really, really, really considered not finishing the book. I found this entire secondary story to be superfluous, unnecessary, distracting, and way over the top. Diego does nearly nothing to help the situation and honestly he’d not been much of a sympathetic character up to this point so I couldn’t really care about his pain. Instead I felt horrible for the fae and what they went through for no reason other than to keep the story going. Clearly I connected with the characters but just couldn’t buy into the plot.
Thankfully that ends eventually and there is another less ridiculous but still unnecessary plot about the fae going public so they can be their own sovereign nation. Now this is not as bad as the alien storyline but just feels unnecessary. This could have been its own book instead of tacked onto an already full one. Plus there are more issues between Finn and Diego that Diego brushes aside. Diego becomes more and more involved with the fae and their diplomatic status while Finn is clearly not doing well. Finn sulks for a long time and makes some really stupid decisions but with Diego’s arrogance and real lack of tangible concern for Finn, I couldn’t blame him. Whereas Diego was a favorite character of mine in the first book, I just found him very off putting here. I did like the epilogue though and hopefully these two can finally get a happy ending away from Diego’s high handed arrogance and Finn’s oversensitive emotions. Plus the dragon at the end is a touch of genius.
Overall this is a very mixed story that I enjoyed in some parts and really hated in others. It has all the elements that I liked of the first story – touches of humor, good characters, developed storylines, witty dialogue, fun sex scenes – but it also gets overshadowed by the sense of ridiculous as the story keeps going on and on and on. I think if this had been divided into 3 books – the fae court / government abduction / finn’s concerns, going public – each of these would have been more successful. But that’s just my opinion. Sadly I don’t recommend this and would say read Finn again instead.
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