While I did think both of these books were good, I just don’t have enough to say about either of them to do full reviews. I certainly do recommend either of these depending on what you are looking on.
Steelstriker (Skyhunter #2) by Marie Lu
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Summary from Goodreads:
As a Striker, Talin was taught loyalty is life. Loyalty to the Shield who watches your back, to the Strikers who risk their lives on the battlefield, and most of all, to Mara, which was once the last nation free from the Karensa Federation’s tyranny.
But Mara has fallen. And its destruction has unleashed Talin’s worst nightmare.
With her friends scattered by combat and her mother held captive by the Premier, Talin is forced to betray her fellow Strikers and her adopted homeland. She has no choice but to become the Federation’s most deadly war machine as their newest Skyhunter.
Red is no stranger to the cruelty of the Federation or the torture within its Skyhunter labs, but he knows this isn’t the end for Mara – or Talin. The link between them may be weak, but it could be Talin and Red’s only hope to salvage their past and safeguard their future.
While the fate of a broken world hangs in the balance, Talin and Red must reunite the Strikers and find their way back to each other in this smoldering sequel to Marie Lu’s Skyhunter.
I think my biggest issue with this second book was the pacing. It just seemed to move so slowly and there were a few things that felt repetitive. But the great characters outweighed those issues. I loved that we got part of the story from Red’s point of view! Also we get more about Constantine through his connection with Talin. Constantine certainly gets what he deserved although it was interesting to learn a little bit about his childhood and upbringing. He did earn a little bit of sympathy, but not much.
There were some good plot points as well. The rebel alliance had some interesting characters that you wouldn’t expect and there were some plot twists that were well down. The fight scenes were also well written although the ending battle seemed a bit rushed and somewhat predictable.
Red and Talin spend most of the book apart, but there were some very sweet scenes between them when they do see each other. I would have liked more between Jaran and Aramin but they two have their moments. The nice thing was that the romance never overshadows the plot and doesn’t get in the way when they are in difficult situations.
This was a satisfying ending to this duology, although it does have its issues. I would still recommend you give it a chance especially if you like the first book.
Hyde by Craig Russell
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Summary from Goodreads:
Edward Hyde has a strange gift-or a curse-he keeps secret from all but his physician. He experiences two realities, one real, the other a dreamworld state brought on by a neurological condition.
When murders in Victorian Edinburgh echo the ancient Celtic threefold death ritual, Captain Edward Hyde hunts for those responsible. In the process he becomes entangled in a web of Celticist occultism and dark scheming by powerful figures. The answers are there to be found, not just in the real world but in the sinister symbolism of Edward Hyde’s otherworld.
He must find the killer, or lose his mind.
A dark tale. One that inspires Hyde’s friend . . . Robert Louis Stevenson.
This one got off to a bit of a rocky start with me. The writing style was similar to novels from the late 1800’s and it took a bit getting used to. Also, not really being familiar with the Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story didn’t hurt, but didn’t totally help either. But once I got about 50 pages in I really started to get into it and enjoy myself.
Edward Hyde was a good police detective and a good guy. His looks apparently could be off putting to some and that was mentioned many times. The story is mostly told from his point of view although there are quite a few others who help to tell the tale throughout the book. Elsbeth Lockwood is the next character with the most page time. She was a really interesting one to follow. I initially liked her, a woman who is determined to push the boundaries of the societal norms forced on her, but she has issues as well.
The mystery and the plot were really well done, with lots of twists to keep you guessing and engaged in the book. The last 100 pages were exceptionally well done with lots of action and excitement. This is a rather dark book with some rather violent deaths, that mostly take place off screen, but the bodies are described vividly.
If you are into historical mysteries, especially ones that are quite dark, this is one you should consider taking a chance on. Familiarity with the Jekyll and Hyde story is not necessary to enjoy this reimagining of a classic.
I hope you enjoyed these two mini reviews. I do recommend them both, even though there were some issues with either writing or pacing.