And the internet is back and the first thing I’ve decided to do is get these blog post going! I have a couple things already planned and scheduled for the coming days. There’s a couple blog tours but my priority right now is to read as many books as I can in my requested pile. And this post is the first one of the bunch.
I received both of these books from Pegasus Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. They had sent me their monthly list of new releases and I thought the summary for Secret Kingdom was interesting but was listed as book 2. I asked to see if I could also get the first book and then they showed up in the mail!
The Secret Society is a paranormal romance book about different creatures living in the same town, specifically one Blaise Pryde, a shapeshifter who has had a rough life because she’s a female Alpha. Losing her parents when she was just a child, being shunned by them, and then being doubted by the council and other magical beings because of her heritage has made her jaded. She doesn’t trust easily and isn’t afraid to show off how capable she is, but even with all the tough skin, the truth is she loves her pack and just wants to keep them safe. Of course, it’s a little hard to do when the council will do anything to get rid of her and the neighboring Black Pack is all too eager to help dethrone her.
Blaise is a character that’s hard to like. She has the sob story nearly every character out there has and she’s had to grow up and take care of herself. As a female Alpha, she’s had opposition from every person she’s met and only those who decide to look over that technicality will truly see how caring she is. But Blaise seems like she hasn’t truly grown from her past. It’s always at the forefront of her mind and part of me wanted to scream, I get it already! Which sounds like something terrible to say to someone who is traumatized but that’s how I felt. As a character, Blaise is also a little too perfect. Early on we learn that she’s pretty and that she turns heads, which I don’t have much of a problem with. But then you add that she’s an Alpha, a wolf and a shapeshifter, and that she can read minds and even control people and I start to get skeptical. In fact, her only flaw seems to be that she will get into all the sticky situations imaginable.
Aside from just Blaise, the world in this book is a bit hard to grasp. I really enjoyed that this isn’t just limited to werewolves and vampires like other books I’ve read. Here we have witches, shapeshifters, pyros, fallen angels, mermaids, werewolf and vampire hybrids, demons, ghosts, and dragon shifters (and possibly others that just weren’t introduced). While not all of them are important to the story, it’s nice to see that they all exist and can sort of coexist with each other. But I also wasn’t 100% sure what Blaise was when she’d mentioned she was a shapeshifter until she transformed into a bird. So then I got curious, how did that happen? Is it something passed down from her parents or something a bit more random. I was also really curious about the other powers she displayed and their limits.
Out of all the characters, I have to say I had a soft spot for Vlad. He wasn’t anything special but he’d saved Blaise a couple times when they’d just met and while he was initially portrayed as a possible badass, he was also endearing at times (like when he tried to cross the river). Half the time I was convinced he was going to be the third side to the possible love triangle, but it was refreshing to see Blaise so enamored with Kayle. While Vlad did seem to like her, he also had his own drama going on.
As for the romance. Well. I’ve always been picky about that and here I just have to say that I felt the chemistry was lacking. Yes, we did have an indisputable couple, but they didn’t communicate well and I would even say their relationship was problematic. It reminds me of the older YA relationships that were the norm back some ten years ago. And to give a hint, it wasn’t really Blaise I had an issue with, but Kayle and his double standard actions.
Overall, there were just too many things going on that didn’t impress me. Blaise still felt like she needed to grow while I was just screaming at Kayle. Vlad…well, I still prefer him over Kayle but he did some things I took issue towards the end. And speaking of the end, the war that was going on was rather anticlimactic. Like, I am seriously wondering if it borders on lower than the war that happened in Breaking Dawn and the only reason I didn’t like that war was because it was a vision. I ended up rating this book a 2/5 because, while it did have a couple interesting concepts (one that would work perfectly for fanfiction) and something that made me want to keep reading, it just had a lot of things against it.
It’s been a month since the events of “Secret Society” and Blaise’s pack and allies are still recuperating. While things seem to be at peace, the reality is that everyone is just waiting for an excuse to fight. Blaise and Vlad are both trying to rear their packs but things get a bit tricky when Blaise finds out she’s pregnant. With an overprotective fallen angel as her mate, her wolf pack on edge, and the council still running loose, Blaise just wants a quiet day with Kayle. It seems like she might get her wish when he invites her to Paris, but it all goes downhill when Kayle’s demented brother Damillias shows up with the intent to kill and Eazara insists on a family visit.
I really thought this book would be better than the first one.
At this point, I’ve pretty much abandoned any ideas of this being a fantasy action story. If the romance in book one was heavy, it’s really saturated in this book. There are a lot of things going on that had so much potential but the author seemed to prefer focusing on the romance first. We have the council still out there somewhere, something I thought the author had forgotten in book one. We don’t get to meet any of the members anymore but there was one point where it’s mentioned they’re plotting. We also have Vlad, who seems just shy of turning feral, which can be really bad for Blaise in more than one way. Not only can she end up losing a friend, but with Vlad gone feral, there’s nobody who could really reign in his new vampire pack from attacking her home. And then we have Damillias, Kayle’s brother who wants to get revenge and places a curse on their unborn child. With Blaise pregnant and all of this happening, I was expecting some sort of overprotective mama ripping people’s throats out.
Instead, Blaise seems to lose those Alpha traits she held in book one. She’s content having people fight for her and everything emotional that she goes through, she blames on the pregnancy. And remember how I said that Blaise seemed a bit OP? Well, get ready for more of that…
The setting also changes. Since Blaise is pregnant and being targeted by Damillias, Kayle had thought it prudent to go to his home, which is how we end up meeting his father Eazara. I think that out of everyone new we met, I was the most disappointed with Eazara. At the end of book one and even sprinkled around, it was implied that Eazara was a cruel man. Then we meet him and I had to wonder if this was the right guy. While Blaise did mention there were moments where she could see the cruel King he was rumored to be, he never did anything terrible or even just bad.
There isn’t much I can really talk about without spoiling the plot but I will say that there was a lot of things that I felt were so twisted I couldn’t make sense of them. The biggest example being Kayle’s family. I could have sworn they mentioned his sister had died and then not a page later, his sister is right there.
Overall, I ended up rating this book a 2/5 and as a whole series, it still falls in the 2 range. I was hoping that some of the flaws that were in book one would be fixed but they’re still consistent here. I don’t feel like Blaise is ready to have a child. I’m not a mother but I feel like certain decisions should be made once you are one and Blaise is clearly still too focused on Kayle (and vice versa) and not being rejected. We do end up with an interesting cliffhanger though, since most of the events that were started in this book weren’t resolved.
If you’re looking for something interesting and exciting to read, this isn’t the right book for you. I don’t really recommend it but I also don’t not recommend it if that makes sense. Even with all these flaws and my annoyances, there’s just something almost endearing about this series, which I think is the thing that makes me want to keep reading.
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Thanks for reading! Have you read these books before? LMK what you thought about them! If you have read them, are you going to check out the third book? I’m not sure if it’s out yet but with that cliffhanger there’s definately a sequel ^^