Winter Halo by Keri Arthur (Review)


Title: Winter Halo by Keri Arthur
Published: December 6th 2016 by Signet
Page Count: 339
Where’d I Get It: Purchase

When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between worlds, they allowed entry to the Others. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay….

The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way.

The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force.

Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself…

With as much as I loved the first Outcast novel, City of Light, I’m sad to say that I was only so-so on its sequel. There were a lot of contributing factors to this cause, and that’s super disappointing because the concept for this series is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before, a seamless blend of dystopian, science fiction, urban fantasy, and a little bit of paranormal romance.

The beginning of this book is really slow. A lot of the same as the last book, investigating rifts, talking about saving children, feeling sad about saving children, talking to ghosts. There’s a bit of new plot involved, but not an awful lot. Despite the action involved, the first part is pretty dull.

When Tig finally gets into Winter Halo, the book gets slightly more interesting. At this point, the book itself feels like there’s simultaneously not enough happening and too much happening at the same time. Tig is basically balancing two plots at once. She’s infiltrating Winter Halo as a regular employee, but at the same time boning Winter Halo’s accountant as a completely different individual. At least with the last book, the romance and the investigation were all basically one thread to follow. This separation makes the book disjointed and disorderly. Yes, I know that, technically, her sexual life is also an investigation into the same organization, but it doesn’t FEEL like it’s on the same wavelength. Her relationship with the mark will obviously continue into the next installment, though I’m not sure how useful he will be at that point, having been fired from his job that she wanted information about.

There’s also some awful, what feels like, inconsistencies with the ghosts this time around.  In the last book, they had limited power, limited access to poltergeist activities, without significant numbers or rest. In this book, it just seems like they’re picking up weapons and bashing everyone over the head without any consequences at all. Yeah, it makes for a significantly easy way to move the plot forward when the heroine is stuck, but what about the already established world rules? *grumble, grumble*

There’s a lot of revelations in this book, some more interesting than others. The dynamic between Jonas and Tig being one of the more interesting ones. They’re finally expressing their feelings for each other, even if it, ultimately, doesn’t go physical. At least they’re not beating around the bush about it. Yeah, they’ve got some prejudices to get through, but at least they’re doing the thing and being adults about it. I mean, yeah, they did almost die together and possibly mixed DNA and powers, but at least that spurred them through their feelings.

Cat and Bear, despite the earlier indication where I was bashing on them for doing more stuff, are absolutely way more fleshed out in this book. They have more personality and are more independent, and help Tiger out a lot more than in the previous book (and they helped a lot). It was nice seeing them as individuals and not just ‘the ghosts’ that always hung around.

All right, so we’ve established that this book didn’t really do it for me this time around. I’m goign to just log this under sequel syndrome and hope that the next one is better. They found no children in this one, and they’re still out there and Tig is still looking for them, so hopefully that means that the series will be continuing soonish rather than later or never. Here’s hoping it only gets better here on out. I’m not giving up on it.


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