I’ll say first that I haven’t read the first book of this series. I didn’t actually realize it was a series until I started reading and oops, yea book two. You certainly can read this one without reading the first book, as I did, but there is so much missing information that I wouldn’t suggest it. There is no independent character development – I assume it all takes place in the previous book – and the plot is incredibly complicated for no real reason. The end result after a madcap of heists, escapes, death threats, gun fights, and a ton of magic is a little girl helped when there had to be an easier solution. At least there is a lot of action.
The plot is pretty convoluted, partly because there is no background on the main characters, their abilities, their actions, and the reasoning behind all of it. Luke and Alex are a couple and Alex has some magical abilities. He was a thief but now seems to be returning the items he stole to be a good guy for Luke. Again, this is just what I glean without having read the first book. Chris and Griff are a couple (I think) and help Alex with his escapades. I’ve no clue where the connection is between the four men but they seem to be friends of a sort. An old rival of Alex’s, Dragan, appears and blackmails Alex into doing a job for him. The reason is that Dragan needs to save his dying daughter and only Alex, and Luke, can help.
The basis of the entire story is magical, something I assume the first book described and clarified. Alex’s powers and his abilities are very vague and never fully clarified. He seems to regain them at some point, leading me to think he lost them in the previous book, but this time they’re unstable. Without reading the first book there are whole parts of the characters and their backgrounds that are sorely missed. There is no development and no real connection made between the characters, much to my frustration. Yet the book spends more than ample time explaining in great detail every single through Luke has about Alex. The two men share an empathic and telepathic connection so the story makes sure to explain every detail whenever Luke feels one of Alex’s emotions. I would rather have had more time and space devoted to developing the characters or giving some background from the first book.
Likewise the plot seems overly complicated. On the surface it’s not a bad concept. Alex the thief has to do a couple sneaky type things, throw in some ancient lore, and a sick child and you have a fun, action filled story. Unfortunately the path from beginning to end is needlessly complex in some areas and hopelessly simplistic in others. There is Alex’s thieving, which is a great element I was really looking forward to but is actually so simplistic it’s boring. He turns invisible and walks through everything without a blink. Then Luke translating a mythical text for no real purpose other than curiosity and the end result is everything is fine with a little bit of magic.
It’s not that the story is bad per se, though it is choppy and tries overly hard, but the balance is really off. The plot is complicated in unnecessary ways while simplifying other details that could really sing and appreciate that complexity. I like the concept a lot and I’m thinking I’d probably appreciate the first book with all the details and development this book is missing but the overly reaching plot and tendency to go on and on within Luke’s thoughts really killed it for me.