Diplomats, their families, and security personnel stream into town, among them Dalvin Adway, a Wolven agent. Dalvin is startled to find Rachel Washington in Luna Lake. The last time he saw her, they were children in Detroit. Then she was kidnapped and, he thought, murdered. But Rachel became an owl-shifter as a result of the attack and has avoided family and old friends ever since, knowing they would not understand her . She's stunned to see Dalvin and learn that he, too, is an owl-shifter.
Their wary friendship is on the brink of becoming something more when conspiracy and betrayal cause the peace talks to break down. The fight between the bear clans will be settled through a form of traditional challenge--a risky tactic that might lead to full-blown war. Rachel is determined to prevent that, even if it means taking up the challenge herself!
What I liked: I love the premise behind the Luna Lake series. This is kind of a two-part series. The original, The Tale of the Sazi, I recommended to all my urban fantasy/paranormal lover friends. With the last book in that series, Serpent Moon, I seriously didn’t know that was the ending until I read about it somewhere. Then the news circulated Ms Clamp was going to dip back into the Sazi world but the setting would be many years after Serpent Moon.
The first book in this newest series, Forbidden, was a good bridge builder and I enjoyed it. Illicit was a different kettle of beans. The plot is okay; the characters are different and the writing is good. The thing I enjoyed the most was seeing the characters from the original series and what they were up to.
This series and The Tale of the Sazi series are complicated books. The Sazi are not known to humans and they go to extreme lengths to ensure their secret. Rachel was part of a group of children (all over the world), who were kidnapped and then changed. When the children were rescued, it was a huge problem trying to decide what to do with them and keep them safe. They were to sent to foster families in Luna Lake. Rachel knew she could never go back to her family because she wasn’t alpha enough to hide her owl.
Rachel’s character is written very well. All the trauma she’s gone through since her abduction could have beaten down another individual but Rachel has a plan, well, maybe. She hasn’t ironed out all the wrinkles but she wants away from Luna Lake and to try to have a real chance at life.
What I didn’t like: Except for Rachel and the “older” Sazi, I had a very hard time connecting with the characters. They seemed a bit whiny and I do understand why but it’s almost childish in the scheme of things.
These new Sazi are not as appealing to me. I think that may be because they have an almost new adult feel rather than what I am used to with the previous works in this line. The characters didn’t seem as polished and there are a lot of characters. If you haven’t read the previous books in the original series, you might even have a hard time understanding the whole Sazi idea.
The mystery, romance and suspense didn't flow as smoothly and felt jumbled together. Then there is my favorite gripe of all....the e-book pricing. Illicit came out as a hardcover and thus the price of the e-book was inflated to $9.99.
Ms Clamp is a very talented author and I look forward to more books from her but I don’t know if I will continue this series. I will wait and see how the next book shakes out to see.