Review: Covet

Rating: 3 / 5


Covet is the first book in the new Fallen Angels series by JR Ward.

Jim Heron is a loner and drifter. After being discharged from the military he has been wandering around picking up odd jobs to make a living. One of these has landed him in Caldwell, NY, as part of the construction crew on Vincent diPietro's house.

Hanging out with his construction buddies in the Iron Mask, Caldwell's new night club, Jim has an odd encounter with the vulnerable Devina. The oddness is ratcheted up to shock the next day, when she gets out of Vin's car at the construction site- apparently he hooked up with his boss's girlfriend. Startled, Jim loses balance, electrocuting himself and ends up with a new job description.

Because, the Earth is a game board, with the angels and demons playing for people's souls. But, the Creator is now tired of the constant fighting between good and evil and has issued an ultimatum, the final deciding factor will be 7 souls. And the player who will manipulate them is Jim, who is the perfect balance between good and evil and thus acceptable to both teams.

In the afterlife 4 angels approach Jim and charge him with the task of saving 7 souls- if he succeeds evil will be vanquished from the world forever and if he does not, the world ceases to exist passing under the dominion of the demons. On this gameboard, the angels and demons play to win, and are not above putting little bit players to help or hinder Jim as the case maybe.

And as it turns out the first soul he has to save is Vin's, embedded in avarice. Vin comes from a poor background and has a relentless drive towards earning money and surrounding himself with the material trappings of success- cars, furniture, art, complete with the stunningly beautiful model girlfriend, Devina. He doesnt believe in donating his money, wanting some service or return with every dollar he spends. He believes he is happy, but is shocked out of his inertia when he cannot bring himself to propose to Devina.

The revelation comes about when he meets Marie-Terese, a prostitute (with the proverbial heart of gold) at the Iron Mask. Marie-Terese is a single mother who is running from a criminal husband who tried to kidnap her son, is living under an assumed name and doing the only job she thinks she can to pay off the debts she has accumulated. With the demons trying to take over Vin's soul, Vin must look to Marie-Terese, the woman who quietens the greedy beast within him, and Jim for salvation against the evil that threatens to consume him.

Let's get this out of the way- Covet is marketed as a new series and it isnt part of Ward's other series, the Black Dagger Brotherhood. However, to muddy things up a bit, it takes place in the same location as the latter and Trez, Officer de la Cruz and Phury from the BDB have cameos here. Additionally, the style is similar to the BDB, even though the mythology is completely different.

I'm not sure how new readers will relate to this book since there are a few bits that might come across unexplained (the cops carrying out only a rudimentary investigation, for instance) but for me, I was happy enough to return to a much-loved world. And I quite liked the story and the whole angel-demon mythology setup.

As with the other books, there are multiple story-lines. We have Vin and Marie-Terese, the primary romance. A stalker-type fixated on MT (unfortunately this is the track which doesnt work, I had no clue behind his motivation). Four British, croquet loving angels and dog, in an over-the-top, silly track . Jim, and his fallen angel helpers, riding Harleys and wearing leathers :) and Dog (the dogs really, really confuse me). And the demon who has its hooks into Vin.

Interestingly we never see a portion of the climax between the fallen angels and the demons, maybe it's left for the sequel. Only Jim's character really worked for me though, when he's first introduced he's a blank slate, and we pick up bits and pieces of his background as we go along. All the rest are stock Ward characters.

I know it sounds like a lukewarm review, but I did enjoy the book while reading it. I know I'll keep reading since this series has a promising arc and I am still hoping for a read as compelling as the BDB (ummm, ok, gun to my head, like the first 3 books). I do think some of the stories are going to have the demons winning so those should make for some interesting reads. If you are looking for a fun paranormal read, pick this one up . But, if you want to start reading JR Ward, you cannot go wrong with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

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I received my copy thanks to a giveaway at Reading, Writing and Ranting.

CymLowell

8 comments:

Smita said...

Not my kind of book at all!!!!

:) Nice review but do I really need to say that???

BTW am half way thru Her Fearful Symmetry and planning to finish it by next week!

avdi said...

wow ! I am not hooked to paranormal, but you sure sound like you enjoy every bit of the bite.

couchpapaya said...

smita - thanks anyway :) will you review? i'm trying not to read any reviews because i'm looking forward to it so much. just tell me how u found it :)

avdi - yeah :) i got stuck on them after i got a tired of reading the historicals.

Angel's Flight said...

Oooh paranormal....that will freak me out!...babe u got a knack for reviewing books....u must know that by now :)

couchpapaya said...

angel - these are not horror, those freak me out too!! and i can read anything whcih has elements of romance in it :D

Cym Lowell said...

Thanks for joining the party! Great review and addition to the group.

-CYM

* I am now a follower *

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Hi, Couchpapaya. =)

I think this is an excellent review because it gave me a clear idea of what to expect from the book and convinced me not to read it. That may sound like a contradiction, but I appreciate "positive," "negative" and "balanced" reviews equally for the service they provide, and this one definitely delivered.

PS--I also agree that there isn't much overlap between the Scribe Virgin mythology of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and the more overtly Manichaean world building in this new series. Ward has a great imagination (obviously!) and is just having fun here, I guess, but I do long for a mainstream writer who takes the construction of a fantasy world, theological implications and all, much more seriously than this.

couchpapaya said...

Cym - Thanks for dropping in! I love your idea and that there are so many review links all in one place.

Enbrethiliel - I'm glad it was helpful!! You know I'm not overly interested in theology so whatever Ward set out here worked for me. Certainly it all seems very tongue-in-cheek, especially the angels in cricket whites and pastels. But, maybe Anne Rice will work for you? I have not read them but I know some of her works have strong Catholic influences.

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