Review: Once Bitten, Twice Burned by Cynthia Eden

oncebittenOnce Bitten, Twice Burned by Cynthia Eden (Phoenix #2)
Paranormal Romance
May 6, 2014

Reviewed by Helyce

Ryder Duncan is starving! He’s been held for months at the Genesis Labs-a facility where paranormals are being studied-read: tortured and dissected.  It’s getting harder and harder for him to stop himself from revealing exactly who he is and how truly powerful he is. So when the guards finally bring him a woman to feed on, his control slips and he drinks her dry.

Sabine Acadia was kidnapped and brought to the labs at Genesis.  Confused and scared out of her mind, she is no match against the power of the vampire she is tossed into a cell with.  Though she begs with everything she has, she can’t escape his bite.

But as the life is leaving her body, she senses him trying to help her.  She can feel his concern and guilt as he tries to give her some of his blood, but it’s too late.  And then she feels the burn, as flames consume her body.

Once Bitten, Twice Burned is book two in Ms. Eden’s new Phoenix Fire series. I loved the first book, Burn For Me.  I thought the introduction of a new type of paranormal character, a Phoenix, was unique and fresh.  At the same time, I thought the author did a great job of humanizing the paranormals, giving them emotional qualities that were believable.  Unfortunately, this second book, did not work as well for me.

The first part of this book runs concurrent to book 1 and is detailed in a way that I found too repetitive having read book 1.  While we learn some details about Sabine, I didn’t feel it was anything new that I had not already surmised from book one.  I already knew what Sabine was and that Ryder was obsessed with her.

Once Ryder and Sabine escape the facility and are on the run, there is a lot going on.  A. Lot.  Neither of them know who to trust and Sabine isn’t even sure she can trust Ryder.  They have this unmistakable chemistry between them, but Sabine fights it.  There is a lot of focus on blood, specifically the blood exchanged between Ryder and Sabine and what exactly that means.  I don’t want to spoil-but you can infer that both our main characters develop new and interesting and somewhat unique qualities.

I loved Ryder in book one.  I was excited for his story, knowing he was paired with a Phoenix.  I knew that this author could explore some very interesting avenues here.  And she does, but the romance was flat, nonexistent. There is attraction, but it doesn’t feel like it has an emotional quality, only a chemical one.  This seemed really odd for me, especially for Sabine who had thought herself human all her life until her first change.

The author introduces a new character, another Phoenix named Dante.  He flits in and out throughout the book.  He is extremely powerful, even more so than Cain from book one.  He seems out to get Sabine-which is expected I guess. We learn in book 1 that the Phoenixes pretty much died out because of their need to kill other Phoenixes. Ryder and Sabine continue to evade him, but he shows up at the end in a pivotal scene that sets up the next book.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Cain and Eve from book one, other than the very beginning of this book where the set up occurs.  I was also disappointed that we didn’t get anything on Trace, a werewolf introduced in book one who had also been kidnapped by Genesis.  He escapes with everyone else in book one, but the tests performed on him had changed him in a way that made him extremely dangerous to everyone.

Lastly, I struggled a lot with the dialogue in this book.  The author goes back and forth between spoken words in quotes and thoughts in italics throughout this whole book. I sometimes found it difficult to follow along.  Because Ryder is a vamp, I thought perhaps he was speaking via thought so only Sabine could hear him-but no, that was not the case. It pulled me out of the story several times and I had to go back and re-read it so I knew who was talking to who and what was just a ‘thought’.

This book did not work for me on many levels. The spin at the end where a man from Ryder’s past is brought forward seemed to come out of left field and since the character is killed off within the same scene it had no purpose at all and I wonder why the author felt it necessary.  Other than the fact that Ryder and Sabine become a couple, I really didn’t feel that this book moved the story arc forward in any way except to confirm one secret thing about the Phoenix (which was suspected in book 1) and to introduce Dante and Cassie who are the featured couple of the next book.

I am still intrigued by the premise and the uniqueness of the Phoenix as a paranormal character, so I may give book 3 a try, we’ll see.

Rating: D

Review of Book One, Burn for Me.

Goodreads l Author Website

Kindle l Nook


  1. says

    Nice review, but WOW! did we have complete opposite reactions to the book and characters! I felt the second book was much stronger than the first, and the characters are much more likable. I felt their attraction and romance was sizzling, whereas, I didn’t care for Eve at all. I will agree that the opening was a bit slow/repetitive having read the first book, but other than that, seems like we read two different books! LOL

    • Helyce says

      Oh Jen, I know! I told Mandi I would definitely be in the minority here with this book. For me this felt all over the place and the last straw was the thing with the brother. I will agree the sex scenes were hot, but I did not feel their chemistry on a personal or emotional level. I will admit that I did like the way their species intermingled and enhanced them both!

  2. Vicki Casso says

    I didn’t like the first book. I felt the writing was stilted and I got bored. Not sure if I want to spend my money reading more books from this author. I think I will wait until there are more books out from this series. I really appreciate my bloggers because you all do the work for us readers :)

  3. Helyce says

    Hi Vicki! I really liked the first book. I’ve always enjoyed paranormals with a genetics twist (like Lora Leigh’s Breeds). And I liked Ryder a lot in book 1.

    My reaction seems to be in the minority here though. A lot of reviewers/readers liked it!

    • Helyce says

      I’ve read a few of her other paranormal series (Midnight and Night Watch) and really enjoyed. I liked the first book a lot, but this one didn’t work for me.

  4. says

    That pretty well summed up my feelings, though I’ll admit I seem to have still enjoyed it a bit more than you. It was fluff, so while I typically expect more from Cynthia Eden, I just scaled back my expectations about a quarter of the way through and enjoyed the ride.

  5. Norma says

    How disappointing! I love her romantic suspense books so I tried the first in this series and it really did NOT work for me. I won’t be trying this one. I’ll just patiently wait for another RS from her. :)

  6. Suzy says

    Gah, this was a DNF for me. It was all over the place and just difficult to read so I gave up…. and I’ve finished some pretty crappy books lol :P

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