Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
No matter how dark the subject matter, Cherie Priest always manages to make me laugh. Her Cheshire Red heroine Raylene continues to kick ass and take names, all the while saying the disdainful things we think about those surrounding her — especially hipsters. (Really, karaoke to Coldplay? *shudders*)
Raylene had planned to take a break after all the drama in Bloodshot. She’s settled into a new warehouse along with Ian and her two “pet humans.” Ex-Navy SEAL Adrian (sometimes known as drag queen Sister Rose) lives nearby, and she’s continued to vow to help him find his sister. She kind of owes him after the mess that happened at the end of the last book, no?
But big money and assurances that it’s an easy job, put Raylene back in thieving mode. The prize this time? Penis bones. No, I’m not joking. Bacula, or penis bones, from supernatural beings magnify power for witches and fetch serious money. The person who has them is both brilliant — we’re talking rocket scientist — and mentally ill. And she has no qualms about using those bones to take down buildings.
In addition to the hired gig, Raylene is also intervening on Ian’s behalf with his old house. Political posturing, vampire anagram fun and dealings with the heinous Atlanta House ensue. Oddly, it’s this part that was my favorite in the book and what made me pull down the star rating. I loved the madcap action in Atlanta. There’s fighting and serious ingenuity on Raylene’s part. Loved that. However, when I finished Bloodshot I expected we’d continue on the thread of seeking out Adrian’s sister and those who hurt Ian in Hellbent. We get a smidge of that, but really the events surrounding this core part of the last story lacked the depth I found in the rest of Hellbent.
So, I’m conflicted. I had a blast reading Hellbent. I adored spending another novel with Raylene and found myself liking Adrian even more, the plot was twisty enough to keep me wondering and the new characters were full of win. But don’t expect to get any real answer on the whole supernatural experimentation thing.