~*~* VERY SPOILER REVIEW ~*~*
3.75 stars rounded up
Kavon, Darren, and the FBI Talent Team is back. For the most part, I loved this book, but it wasn't a solid 4-stars read for me because of of a couple of reasons. Let me write down why I loved from this third installment of Gala's Aberrant Magic first.
I loved that Kavon and Darren were solid, both as couple and as partners. They seemed to have their working rhythm perfectly.
Kavon is the more stubborn, more demanding of the two. Sometimes his stubbornness frustrated the hell out of me. He seems unwilling to work with others. Kavon's principals are sometimes too rigid, even if it helps in situation where someone must shows authority and gets things done. In the meantime, Darren is the one that smooths everything else. When the situation needs a little negotiation or sympathy, Darren is your man. He can easily befriends others too. So this is a power couple that compliment each other.
And then there is Bennu. OMG how this bird rocks. I loved Bennu so much. I loved how he wants to help with the case, but still respects Kavon's order despite him being the more powerful ifrit compared to Kavon's bull. Bennu kicks ass. I couldn't get enough of him, honestly.
I also liked the new members of the Talent team ... Agent Ahtisham Boyd and Salma al-Ghamdi. I thought Lyn Gala included diversity here without feeling like she was trying too much, you know? We have black agent, devout Muslim agent, not-so-devout Muslim agent ... well, you get my point. Oh, and I liked how they finally got their feet back together after being shocked when they discovered a traitor within their team.
What stop this from being solid 4-stars are these:
For the past two books, O'Brien was the major villain. He tortured Kavon. He was the mastermind. O'Brien was able to slick his way out of capture. But when it came to the resolution of his story, I wasn't completely satisfied. Because instead of facing O'Brien face-to-face, Kavon and Darren fought him on spirit plane. Where Bennu obliterated O'Brien's stonefish spirit guide, which resulted him dying in the real world.
For me, that wasn't enough. Call me blood thirsty, but fighting spirit guide, and put a bullet in O'Brien's head in real life was not the same. I guess I want Kavon and Darren to face this man in real life, face-to-face, not spirit guide vs. spirit guide. I felt like I was robbed the satisfaction of reading O'Brien dead (rather than his spirit guide)
Also, the O'Brien arc ended around half-way of this book. Then it was switched into the human trafficking case, which had been in the background previously. I felt like Lyn Gala was introducing new arc and new couple (yep, we had new potential power couple, as Bennu's ifrit friend -- a hummingbird with anger-management issues (LOL) -- made an appearance and ready to become a spirit guide for another agent.
Does this mean the story will continue with a different couple, town, and team altogether? With new spirit guides as well? This feels like an open ending, and if there isn't any continuation, what is the point of this introduction?