Soulless at Sunset by Deanna Chase

Rating: (a very confused but strong) 4/5 stars Soulless at Sunset.jpg

Pages: 242 

Series: Last Witch Standing, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, ShapeShifters, Witches, Magic

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

 

Almost right away I felt as if there was a lot to this story that I was missing. The world was already created and the plot seemed to be referencing events in the past as of they were common knowledge. Well, they are common knowledge if you’ve read the series this is a spinoff of – Crescent City Fae. This is my warning to you not to do the same thing that I did. While it was an enjoyable read, I found some things quite confusing without having the full background of the characters and the world. 

Truth be told, I probably should have done my research before finishing this read and not after, so this review is from the perspective of someone who accidentally read the books out of order. Suffice it to say, a review on Influential Magic will be coming shortly.

 


Now, to get into the actual review…

 

Link, Willow’s wolf-shifting shih tzu, was in full-on agitated mode as he shoved his muzzle into my face and let out a low whine.

“Christ, you’re a pathetic wolf,” I said, gently patting the top of his head. (Ch. 5)

Right away, I was drawn in by Phoebe and her badass attitude. As the story progressed it became apparent that her attitude was warranted. I enjoyed seeing her prove time and time again that she was considered the top of her field for a reason.

I also enjoyed seeing the interactions between characters. These interactions are what really sold for me that this wasn’t the first book in a new world, but I can’t say I’m mad about that. Instead, I got to see the inner workings of a group of people that were already established. While it was confusing at times, it allowed the characters to pull me into their thoughts and lives faster than a developing character would have been able to. 

Another thing I enjoyed about this story was the way that the two main characters tackled the mystery they were trying to solve. I always enjoy a story that does multiple perspectives well. Chase did a fantastic job at making these switches as seamless as possible, making it extremely easy for me to slip into the narrative whenever I picked the book up.

If you’re looking for a quick and fun read about supernatural beings, I’d recommend giving this world a try – but you should probably start at the beginning, unlike me. 

 

*Spoilers ahead*

While I know now that this isn’t the first book with these characters, I have to admit that the relationship between Phoebe and Dax progressed a little too fast for my tastes. I understand that there was something between them previously, but for someone who was determined not to let her feelings get the best of her Phoebe didn’t try very hard to stay away. I was expecting this to be a slow burn relationship, for it to slowly build up throughout the series, not the raging inferno it turned out to be. I’m not saying that it was a bad relationship – far from it, I like them together – it’s more that I felt this relationship progressed very quickly.

Another relationship that changed drastically in this story was the one between Bandu and Dax. I expected Bandu to be a bad guy in the story, but I didn’t expect him to be outed in this novel. I thought that Dax was going to be converted to Bandu’s cause slowly until it was murky which side of the fight he was on. What I didn’t expect was for Bandu to actually be in love with a vampire and secretly playing the authorities behind the scenes to protect his lover. The vampire hater was so convincing in his beliefs that I was legitimately surprised to learn that he was in love with the vampire that started it all.

While I’m glad that Bandu is no longer able to brainwash the shifters in his pack, I really do wonder what’s going to happy now that their leader – and some of their leading members – has been charged with holding a ritual that goes against the beliefs that built the pack’s very foundation. Will Dax take over, making this a pack that’s actually focused on protecting the people? Or will the pack be disbanded now that they don’t have Bandu and his people leading the charge with false accusations about the vampires in New Orleans? 

I’m also interested to see how Phoebe and Allcot’s relationship will be after working together to save Pandora, Willow and Tilsen. Will they still be enemies or will their uneasy truce keep strong throughout the rest of the series? I found it interesting that Allcot continued to compare Phoebe to Pandora, telling her that if she were ever turned into a vampire they’d be practically the same. I also hope to see more of Pandora as even though we only briefly saw her, she’s definitely my kind of gal. 

Phoebe’s powers are something else that I’m intrigued by. I doubt that every witch is as powerful as she is – otherwise none of the other races would dare oppose them – so I can’t wait to see more of what she’s able to do. Heck, even being able to expel the curse from her leg when she was stabbed by her own knife was something else. Of course I’ve always adored reading about super powerful witches so I might be a little biased, but I can’t wait to see how Phoebe uses her powers in the future. 

While I know that a continuing thread in this story is going to be Phoebe’s disappearing brother, I honestly have no idea where the story is going to go. Willow and Talisen have been rescued; Bandu, Morena and Carter are dead; Dax and Phoebe are back together. Other than Seth’s role in this world, I can’t think of a thread in this story that’s strong enough to carry the plot forward. Maybe the corruption in the Void will be touched on more, but I doubt that’s going to be the entire running plot of the series. I look forward to seeing how this story continues in Bloodlust By Midnight