Pack of Lies (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #3) by Annie Bellet
Let sleeping dogs lie. Wolves, on the other hand…
Recovering from a broken heart and coming to terms with her family history, all sorceress Jade Crow wants is to resume running her comic book store and gaming with her friends. With a town full of strange wolf shifters, a hundred-and-fifty-year-old peace accord hanging in the balance, and the Justice who broke her heart back in her life, Jade’s plans go out the proverbial window.
Wolves are killing wolves, innocent human lives are caught in the crossfire, and not everyone in town is who they appear to be. As the bodies stack up and the doubts build, Jade and her friends race to find the true killer.
And then Jade’s evil ex-lover makes another move…
There's this huge thing that annoys me in Urban Fantasy books, especially PNR. What is it? When the lead and the love interest have more relationship happening off the pages. Such as Mercy and Adam from the Mercy Thompson series. They had ten years to know each other prior to the start of the series, so for me it meant I wasn't involved in their romance. Briggs had to bring it now, during the current timeline. Not just saying they had all this history. Well The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series is doing this. There's some time between books, while not a huge amount, it's still enough that we're missing parts of Jade and Alek's relationship. In the case of Murder of Crows and Pack of Lies I think we missed some key things. Especially since Alek leaves and the two kind of seem to be broken up.
So when the big heart on the sleeve moments happened, I was all “Ahhhhhhhh, so sweet.” But my heart wasn't in it. I'll need more time for them to become a real couple.
Now, my last true gripe. Editing. Editing. Editing. It's really clean for the most part. However, there is some awkward wording. No it was not slang. The biggest oopsie was a wrong word moment, that was kind of awkward. Ha-ha. I wish I would have highlighted it because it totally made my day. Yes, I know my reviews and posts have errors. Heck, I have a better time spotting errors on someone else's work all the time. Still, I think just beta readers would have been able to catch those. Overall though Annie Bellet has some of the cleanest self pub books for editing quality. So thank you.
“He said that the Punisher would kick Batman's ass in a fight”
. . .
“Then put you hand here and repeat after me,” I said indicating the slipcase. “I solemnly swear that Bruce Wayne is the bestest superhero ever and I will never profane his name or legacy by suggesting anyone could kick his ass. Because they can't. Because he is the fucking BATMAN.”
Ah, I do love the humor and whit behind these books. As I've said some of the nerd goes over my head, but a lot of it I get and I just love it!!! Ha-ha, the Spider-Man joke about a certain famous quote just tickles me. Everyone always talks about how quotable Ilona Andrews' works are. Well I'd say this series is just as much so.
“Yep. Definitely worth risking life, limb, and heart for.” - Jade
Even though my heart wasn't in the romance, Alek and Jade are a very cute couple and they balance each other out well. Not to mention that I love how they openly talk with each other and concede when they're wrong. So there is that.
“So much for hoping we were going to wreck some love tryst. Why couldn't my life be full of sex instead of violence?”
Pack of Lies was a great mystery! While it's kind of clear from the introduction who dunnit, it was an interesting concept and a better look into Justices. Maybe we'll get to meet a new one each book? That would be bad ass.
“You don't feel good because you are good.”
Pack of Lies was a great way to find out about Jade's moral ground and where she stood. After Murder of Crows a few things where up in the air for me at least.
“Magic for sorcerers is something we are, not just something we do. Unlike a witch or warlock or other human spell-user, we own the raw power—we are the raw power. Which meant if I could conceive of it and channel enough power into it, whatever it was, I could make it happen.
The mental game was the issue.”
Now, I've been iffy about a sorcerer's powers. Because of that whole “conceive” it part, then they can do it. But it doesn't seem like her power works that way. Because she can't just heal. No. In fact, she has to pull from the memories of the hearts she's ate to do the spells she wants. Her tracking spell and other things fine. So I'm thinking it's more of a short cut thing? She still has to use the bases to make spells, but can skip a few steps. Because if you conceive it and make it happen, why do you have to even do rituals or anything? Shouldn't you be able to draw a random symbol and believe that it will repel something? Or is it more that Jade can't do the mind over matter bit?
So I like that it's confirmed that Jade has some inner power which she's been instinctually afraid of. Though that's kind of annoying. It feels like almost every main character has some special thing locked away that they're not ready for. They suddenly awaken it and then “Got back to sleep” and we're teased for a while. Though I think whatever is up with Jade is going to be very cool. It would just be nice if Jade was a powerful sorceress who needed to grow with experience.
Overall another great entry into a super fun series! The characters, humor, and fun of each book just keeps getting better. Especially as we learn more about everyone. I love the introduction of the new characters and the end, and I'm very curious as to Tess's role in the whole thing! Samir feels like an epic build up of a villain, kind of like the Marvel Universes' ones. Let's just hope he doesn't pitter out, or get defeated, like those ones do.
Content Warning: Mild sex scene and sexual humor. Some murder and mayhem. Nothing super graphic though. (Oh, I guess I should mention that there are some homosexual characters, I like how realistic they are.)
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
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