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.
Review of Book One, Burn for Me.