Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: Wrong Side of Dead (Dreg City 4) - Kelly Meding

Monster hunter Evangeline Stone woke up on the wrong side of dead this morning—and now there’s hell to pay.

Barely recovered from her extended torture at the hands of mad scientist Walter Thackery, Evy can use a break. What she gets instead is a war, as the battered Triads that keep Dreg City safe find themselves under attack by half-Blood vampires who have somehow retained their reason, making them twice as lethal. Worse, the Halfies are joined by a breed of were-creature long believed extinct—back and more dangerous than ever. Meanwhile, Evy’s attempts at reconciliation with the man she loves take a hit after Wyatt is viciously assaulted—an attack traced to Thackery, who has not given up his quest to exterminate all vampires . . . even if he has to destroy Dreg City to do it. With Wyatt’s time running out, another threat emerges from the shadows and a staggering betrayal shatters the fragile alliance between the Triads, vampires, and shapeshifters, turning Evy’s world upside down forever.

Wrong Side of Dead, Kelly Meding's fourth Dreg City novel, takes place almost a month after Evy's rescue from the hands of the mad scientist, Walter Thackery.   We find out that Evy and Wyatt are on a break.  They had a huge argument and Evy feels like her relationship with Wyatt is broken due to her own doing.  Wyatt, Phin, Kismet, Tybalt and the remaining Triad members and handlers have reached a tentative agreement with the Therians (shifters) and vampires in Dreg City to protect humans from the Halfies (half-blooded vampires).  This affiliation of species makes their base at The Watchtower, the shopping mall that has appeared in previous books.  

As a rule, Halfies are deranged and violent.  What is turning up in Dreg City are lucid and almost sane Halfies.  At the beginning of the book, we learn that Aurora, Ava (Evy's shifter Goddaughter) and Joseph, all members of Clan Coni and Phin's only remaining brethren, are kidnapped and the race is on to find them before they are executed.  

Meding's storytelling improves with this fourth installment of the Dreg City series.  She masterfully uses flashback chapters to tell the story of Evy and Wyatt's breakup, the unfortunate event that happens to ex-triad member Felix, and of how the Watchtower came into existence.  These flashback chapters are sprinkled throughout the book.  Meding uses past tense when writing about the action occurring in the present, and present tense in the flashback chapters.  It is risky story-telling, but she pulls it off beautifully.

Although Evy and Wyatt are on uncertain terms, it is obvious that they love one another very much.  Evy and Wyatt continue to work together on official business, while Evy trains to get her body (okay, Chalice's body) back into fighting shape.  While out on assignment, Wyatt is injured and spends a good chunk of this book fighting for his life in a coma.  Now, while I would rather have more Wyatt in this story, this gives Evy a chance to come to terms with what she believes are her failures, and allows her to begin healing from the torturous events of her past.

Phin is present in this book, and I am SO happy that Kelly Meding didn't make him into a third of a love triangle.  I like it that Phin and Evy are very close friends.  There are no romantic notions between them, and I find it very refreshing.  Phin is very loyal to and supportive of Evy, and he helps her to understand that life is too short to push away people that she loves.   Evy has already traded in her life for Phin once, and I am sure that Phin would gladly return the favor.  It's a lovely friendship these two have.

The twist towards the end involving Wyatt was difficult for me to take.  I don't know what's going to happen with Wyatt, but I know it will be interesting to read.  This whole book was filled with action and only snippets of personal reflection.   There was a nice mix, and it kept the plot moving and intriguing.  There is much violence and bad-ass fighting in this book, and one explosion in particular that I won't forget anytime soon.

I believe that this is the best book to date in this series, and I look forward to the release of the next book.  Evy is quickly becoming one of my favorite, kick-ass heroines, and Wyatt had become a truly alpha-type hero.  But please, can Ms. Meding give this girl a break?  She needs  a little R&R time.

Favorite Quotes:

"I know what it's like to spend hour after hour, day after day, in agony, just praying the pain will stop.  But it doesn't.  It's always there, even when you're asleep.  You can't get away from it.  The goblins tortured me, Thackery tortured me, and both times, I'd have given anything for it to stop.  Even if it was just for a few minutes.  And all I had to look forward to was death."

"Most of my life, I thought love was just something people did in movies.  That in real life, people hurt each other and left and you just picked up the pieces for the next person who came along to hurt you."

"Love makes me stronger."  I laughed, choked and wiped my nose on my arm.  "That sounds like a fucking greeting card, I know."


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