Mortal Danger by Eileen Wilks

Mortal DangerMortal Danger by Eileen Wilks is the second book in the World of the Lupi series. I started reading this one right after I read and reviewed Tempting Danger. Should the series be read in order? Yes, because we follow the same set of characters throughout the whole series and it would be too confusing if the books aren’t read according to how they were published. For the benefit of those who haven’t read the first book, I won’t be going into specifics to avoid bringing up spoilers. Even just the premise of the second book already has spoilers for the first one so skip reading that if you’d rather not know too much before going into the series. Before I get into anything else, I just have to comment on Mortal Danger’s cover because I’m really not a fan of it – all blue background with a fuzzy picture of a scowling guy. I don’t think it represents the contents of the book well, I’m not even sure who that guy in the background is supposed to be – Rule? Cullen? So if you’re being discouraged to try the book because of its cover then you can go ahead and ignore it. In this case, you really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover.

As the title of the series suggests, Eileen Wilks’ urban fantasy world does have werewolves in it. They’re more politely referred to as lupi (singular: lupus). And they’re not the only magical beings in this world. What makes the setting interesting is everything is changing as the series starts – lupi have recently been recognized as citizens (with human rights) instead of being hunted down as they used to be. They’re a very secretive bunch, as a result of their persecution in the past, and I keep reading because I want to know more about them. We do learn a little more about the lupi in the second book but there’s still more to their culture and history that can be explored. With all the changes happening in their lives, the main characters – Lily and Rule – grow as people. As a result, their relationship also develops. What I like about their connection is even though the physical bond is there, they still have to work on the emotional side and all the baggage that comes with it. Both of them are also big on family so their relatives play a big part in their relationship. That’s something that I feel will continue with the rest of the series.

“She wasn’t entertainment for him. He didn’t need her to make him laugh or bolster his ego or to figure him out so he wouldn’t have to. A lot of men who said they were looking for a relationship really wanted a combination sex buddy, therapist, and mirror.”

The romance is an important aspect of the series but there’s more to the books than Lily and Rule’s love story. That comes with the territory, given that they lead complicated lives because of their roles in society. I felt that the first book had a slower pace that what I’d usually like in my urban fantasy reads and I guessed that it was because it served as introduction to the series. I was partially correct because the second book had more action than the first one. However, there’s still a lot of explanation and speculation going on – people trying to figure out the unusual and unexpected things happening in their world and trying to come up with ways to adapt to them. And also to solve the problems that pop up along the way. I didn’t have much of a problem with the pace, I’m currently in the middle of the third book and I feel like I’ve gotten used to the writing. It helps that all those explanations help us readers to understand the world better and there are many details to like in this world. Not the least of which is Lily’s Chinese heritage and how her background and her family give the series an Asian flavor. I was also surprised at the direction that Mortal Danger took and like I keep saying, it’s a good thing when the book that you’re reading manages to surprise you. Everything got resolved in a very satisfying way but still left me hungry for the next installment. I recommend this series to fans of adult urban fantasy. As my friend Estara pointed out: the World of the Lupi was published before Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson, the Alpha and Omega as well as the October Daye series. And yet it isn’t as well-known as all of those other novels. As I continue reading Eileen Wilks’ books, let’s see if I can try to convince more readers to pick them up too. They are definitely worth checking out.

Retro Friday: Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I have been meaning to read more urban fantasy because I want to find a series to follow aside from Kate Daniels. I’ve read the first three Mercy Thompson books and the first two October Daye novels but felt no need to continue with both series. I know so many friends love those two series and it makes me a bit sad that I wasn’t able to connect with them like I wanted. I might change my mind later on and give those two a try again but for now, I’m interested in discovering new-to-me series. The World of Lupi books by Eileen Wilks come highly recommended by Estara, she says it’s a must read for urban fantasy fans. It’s funny because I started the first book and immediate thought that it feels like a mix of both Mercy Thompson (werewolf hierarchy, culture and history) and October Daye (both MCs are investigating murders and they have special skills that come in handy for the situation).

Tempting DangerHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

Lily Yu is a San Diego police detective investigating a series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf. To hunt down the killer, she must infiltrate the clans. Only one man can help her – a were named Rule Turner, a prince of the lupi, whose charismatic presence disturbs Lily. Rule has his own reasons for helping the investigation – reasons he doesn’t want to share with Lily. Logic and honor demand she keep her distance, but the attraction between them is immediate and devastating-and beyond human reason. Now, in a race to fend off evil, Lily finds herself in uncharted territory, tested as never before, and at her back a man who she’s not sure she can trust.

Lily Yu is a third generation immigrant in the US and I think it’s awesome that this series has an Asian female protagonist. There are no lengthy introductions about the world at the start of the novel, readers are just thrown into it and we learn more details as we go along. I did find the pace a bit slow but first books tend to be like that, to serve as an introduction to the series. I felt like there was more speculation, more thinking on Lily’s part rather than action. It’s a minor quibble because I was still engaged and kept reading to find out more. I found myself curious about this world and how magic is structured in it. The lupi seem like they have a rich culture and history, that isn’t well-known to outsiders. I look forward to learning more about them. Of course, I was also interested in the attraction between Lily and Rule. I wanted to find out how both of them will react to this unexpected connection between them.

Both Lily and Rule are complicated people and we get to know them a little in this first installment. However, I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface and there’s a lot of room for more character development and worldbuilding. I like how the story isn’t just focused on the two MCs, we also get to know their friends and family. Families are very important to both of them. I’m a fan of Lily’s traditionally Chinese grandma, would love to know more about her. While Tempting Danger can stand well on its own, I am curious enough about the characters and the world to continue with the rest of the series. There’s obviously more in store for Lily and Rule. I just find it a bit surprising that there are already nine books that have been released with more in the pipeline. I’m not sure if one couple’s story arc that takes that long will be able to hold my attention. I haven’t read the summaries for the latter books because I don’t want to see spoilers. I know there can be a lot that can happen by also focusing on secondary characters, all those friends and family that are significant in Lily and Rule’s lives. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this series will work for me! I’ve already started the second book. I recommend Tempting Danger to urban fantasy fans, specifically the Mercy Thompson and October Daye series. I find it a bit surprising that Eileen Wilks isn’t more well-known.