Title: Taken by the Others
Author: Jess Haines
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: H & W Investigations (Book 2)
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 1420111884 (Kensington Books)
ISBN-13: 978-1420111880 (Kensington Books)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Haines draws readers deeper into the mesmerizing world of the Others–werewolves, vampires, and mages who live among humans–in the second extraordinary tale in her urban fantasy series featuring a private investigator with some out-of-this-world clients. Original.
Quick & Dirty: A human PI drawn into a struggle of “vampiric” proportions. Tensions within the story revolve around the fear of being too enamored into another’s life, at the loss of one’s own personality.
Opening Sentence: I don’t usually have people pointing guns in my face.
The second installment of H & W Investigations series, Taken by the Others, sheds light on Shiarra Waynest’s thoughts and fears relating to the Others, or supernaturals like Vampires, Weres, and Magi. Her world has accepted the Others and incorporated them into their society, but can Shiarra? Though she is far more enlightened than she was in the last book, circumstances arise that test her new, more relaxed and understanding, self. There is a new player in town, and whether she wants to or not, she is about to be involved in a struggle for dominance between two very powerful vampires, Max Carlyle and Alec Royce.
Shiarra has accepted the idea that the Others she has viewed as monsters for so long, may not all be that bad. After all, her boyfriend, Chaz, is a werewolf and she loves him. There are also magi, or magic users, that she considers as friends. So, why does she still avoid vampires like the plague? Mostly because Alec Royce, one of the nation’s oldest and most publicly known vampires, confuses her. She has feared him since their contract was signed, but he has never given her real reason to. When she is kidnapped for the sole purpose to cause Royce pain and anguish, all of Shiarra’s worst fears are realized. Her fear even leads her to accept the help of the White Hats: a group of anti-Other militants that have declared war against anything, or anyone, relating to those that are non-human.
Shiarra does a few new things in this book. She finds a way to include all the factions and besieges them to work together toward a common enemy. This is a much more mature character than we read about in the first book. She exhibits the ability to see past the prejudice, and judge a “person” as an individual instead of grouped into a stereo-type. It’s unfortunate that her fears of the monsters, both human and Other, turns out to be well founded. When she is shown the worse that the vampires can do, she can no longer stay rational about them as a whole. Even though Royce’s actions reflect his best intentions for keeping her safe, Shiarra cannot bring herself to acknowledge his efforts. All she is able to see when looking at him is her own trauma staring back at her. Can she ever find it in her heart to give Royce the opportunity she has allotted for everyone else in her life?
Even though her relationship with Chaz seems to be getting better, they still have their own problems to deal with. For instance, Chaz seems to have a hard time balancing his time and attention between his pack and Shiarra. No woman wants to think that her man is more involved with anything other than herself, pack alpha or not. They also must still deal with Royce and his romantic overtures toward Shiarra. Will Chaz’s insecurities with the vampire be the cause of pushing his girlfriend away? Will Shiarra decide that she would be better off with someone else, Royce or not? Can they work through both of their insecurities before it’s too late?
Shiarra’s involvement in the White Hats organization is brief. Though they continually look to recruit her to their ranks, they also refuse to let her join the “other” side. Though they helped her get away from Max’s clutches the first time, she doesn’t support their cause. When the time comes and she asks for their help in banding with weres and vampires to take down a larger foe, they refuse on the grounds that they will never work alongside the “monsters,” only kill them. But as long as Shiarra continues to be involved with Others, she will have to deal with the White Hats and their prejudices.
There is nothing too special about the bad guy in this book. Max Carlyle is an elder vampire that has been holding a grudge against Royce for centuries. Angry over the loss of the woman they both loved, Max has found the perfect revenge in Shiarra. His plans to “take” her away from Royce drive his every move. Even though he is a little clichéd, Max is an honest and consistent villain. There is never a moment when you believe that he will turn over a new leaf and join the good guys. There is no doubt that Shiarra is not his focus in this game. He uses her for his own ends and discards her when he no longer needs her.
I get the hint that Shiarra is done with the vampires for a while. I hope that, in some future book, she and Royce either battle it out or get together. Either way, I think that Chaz is dumb and I hope something happens that breaks them up. Between the two, I much prefer Royce because he has never denied his nature for the sake of Shiarra’s “delicate sensibilities”. Shiarra is a strong character, with or without the talking belt, and I hope to see more of that in the future.
I faltered, not wanting to talk about being bitten. The thought still frightened me, even with the haze of adoration I had for him.
“Come to me.”
As soon as John and the other vampire released me, I flung myself into Max’s open arms. He’d keep me safe. He’d make the others stay away and leave me alone. Tears of joy sprang to my eyes when he wrapped his arms around me. He wasn’t so mad at me after all. One hand lightly brushed through my hair, the other cradled me to his chest as he whispered so soft and endearing into my ear.
“You’re mine now.”
The H & W Investigations Series:
FTC Advisory: Kensington provided me with a copy of Taken by the Others. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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