I had some reservations about this series after reading Unshapely Things (Connor Grey, Book 1) (in particular the Fey politics) that made me unsure of whether I would continue the series. When I started Unquiet Dreams, I thought I'd stop here since those same issues are suddenly the focus of the plot. However, Del Franco is an excellent writer. I was pleasantly surprised that I got caught up in the story, and blown away by yet another superb ending.
Instead of roiling in the background, Fey politics take center stage. Connor is called in on the murder of a sixteen-year old human boy. The scene indicates he was dropped in the center of a field by something with wings. Meanwhile, across town, a high-ranking elf and guild director is brutally murdered. Connor is sure the cases are connected, but the Guild refuses consider it. The annoying jurisdictional fighting between police and Guild from book one is now a plot tool that will shake the Guild to its foundations. In another twist, Connor is summoned to the Guild Master and asked to investigate another guild director. He's knee-deep in political maneuvering, and being treated as nothing more than a lowly pawn. Pawn is right on the mark, as a careful game of chess quickly ensues and draws the reader in. The surface similarities of fey politics to today's world are still there, but we get a deeper look at the divisions between the Fey and within the Guild itself. Yet, Connor never forgets the dead boy who deserves justice. In addition to a clever plot, several character developments made for great reading.
I loved the budding romance between Connor and Meryl. In addition to spicing up the book with witty dialog and flirting, Connor also gains another ally. His relationship with Murdock is strengthening, and the powering of Murdock's essence after the final battle of book one is a great new twist to the character. What does it mean and could it answer questions about Connor's own disability? Joe has solidly taken on the role of side-kick, adding a lot of humor, without weakening the character and some new players are introduced. The ending was fantastic. All the threads came together cleanly; I love a good battle and Connor's sharp comments about the Fey being blinded by their own power and arrogance were right on. Pawn takes king. The ending hints that maybe Connor is finally getting some grudging respect from those he used to hobnob with, which is a welcome development.
Though the ending of book one was excellent, the story was resolved by temporarily giving Connor his powers back which I thought was a bit of a cop out. Here, Connor comes out on top through strength and intelligence, despite his lack of power. But, the aftermath leaves his world changed. This book was excellent, but one thing kept it from being five stars. I really want to see some progress on Connor's power block. It's getting old that no one understands it, but yet it figures prominently in the plot. Connor's learned how the other side lives, he's learned some humility - it's about time he got his power back to truly shake up the Fey. Highly recommended series.
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