Review: Unbinding by Eileen Wilks (World of Lupi #11)


Unbinding by Eileen Wilks // VBC ReviewUnbinding (World of Lupi #11)
Eileen Wilks
Published: Oct. 4, 2014 (Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Book Depository or Unbinding
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series.

Eight of the books in the World of Lupi series have featured FBI agent Lily Yu and her Lupus (werewolf) now-husband Rule Turner as the primary narrators, though books four and five followed Lupus sorcerer Cullen and his wife Cynna to the Faery realms. During this eleventh book, Lily and Rule are away on their honeymoon, so the narrators are changing again. And I was surprised when I found out who they were.

Unbinding follows Kai Tallman Michalski, a human with the Gift of mindhealing, and her partner Nathan Hunter, a hellhound given human form. Kai and Nathan are introduced in the short story “Inhuman,” which originally appeared in the anthology On The Prowl. (That book is worth checking out since it also includes the prequels to Patricia Brigg’s Alpha and Omega series and Karen Chance’s Dorina Basarab series.) They appear in Night Season, book four, and then at the end of the last book, Ritual Magic, where Nathan helps Lily vanquish a god of chaos by destroying the artifact that allowed him to manifest on Earth.

It turns out that god of chaos Dyffaya was not destroyed, but trapped in his godhead and is now causing chaos in San Diego again. Kai and Nathan must work with Lily’s FBI unit to defeat the god for good. It’s an unusual investigation because they know who the villain is, as well as where he is from the beginning, so instead they’re looking for clues about how and why he’s attacking.

Kai gets help investigating from Arjenie, who is one of my favorite supporting characters. She’s a researcher for the FBI, has the Gift of cloaking and is a Wiccan—like a magical Felicity Smoak. She’s also mated to Rule’s brother Benedict, who ends up teamed with Nathan. I loved Kai and Arjenie together and I hope they get to team up again in the series.

One thing I enjoy about the World of Lupi series is the blending of cultures and mythologies. Lily’s family is Chinese, so her grandmother often brings in that tradition. Kai’s grandfather is a Navajo shaman and that culture serves an important purpose in this story. Dyffaya was once an elf, so his attacks often involve creatures from the Faery realms. The images are fanciful and beautiful, until the butterflies sprout teeth and start biting people.

But there are a lot of other times where the imagery might get confusing. It can be hard to follow actions that are all in someone’s head. Kai’s Gift lets her see people’s thoughts and feelings as colors. She’s able to heal by altering and adding to those different colored shapes. The godhead is also more an intellectual concept than an actual place, but I was so involved in the story by the time it came up that I just accepted it.

It took me a while to get in to this story, though. I think part of the problem is that what I remember most about the last book is not the part that was relevant to this one. If you’d asked me to summarize it, I would have told you they had to save Lily’s mother from a spell in time for Lily and Rule’s wedding. I wouldn’t have remembered that the Winter Queen sent Nathan to help. So while I had no trouble getting interested in Kai and Nathan as narrators, I felt a little frustrated at first. Everything does eventually get summarized, but I still wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this book.

Sexual content: Sex

2 Responses to “Review: Unbinding by Eileen Wilks (World of Lupi #11)”

  1. I’m picking this one up from the library today. Can’t wait to read it. Great review.

  2. Amy says:

    I forgot that this book was going to be about Kai and Nathan. I completely agree with you when you said what you remembered most about the previous book was saving Lily’s mother from a spell before Lily and Rule’s wedding. That’s the part I remember the most too!

    I liked your review. Since this book does deviate from Lily and Rule this time around, it’s nice to get that heads up before reading it.

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