Ever pick up a book, not knowing it was part of a series, read a few chapters in and thought to yourself “hmm, feels like I’m missing some pieces and I *must* know because I may have missed out on something fabulous”? Well, that is how Death’s Daughter by Kathleen Collins began for me. So, I had to stop, find book 1, read it and then come back. I devoured both books within the same night. I simply could not put them down. Uh, I may have found a new fave on the UF list *G*.
Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she’s forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can’t solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.
Her gift—the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast—is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can’t remember, is anyone’s guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.
She can’t afford such distractions, and she definitely can’t afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn’t spoken to her since she saved him from a demon—maybe it’s because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed.
Holy egads, I adored Death’s Daughter. From the moment I picked it up, stopped and went back to read the first book, Realm Walker, finished it and came back, I could not put this down. Juliana is badass and determined…almost to a fault (as in she’ll run herself ragged trying to solve the puzzle and get the bad guy). The pacing of Death’s Daughter is spot on for me–high action and well woven world building and a dash of super hot romantic subplot equals how I like my UF novels–and Collins delivered it perfectly. I also really like that some mystery/RS components are a part of this series. I started out, well before I ever picked up a romance, reading mysteries/legal thrillers back in the day, (think Grisham and Jonathan Kellerman) but after law school I put those aside and began my romance and UF journey. I still love that thrilling aspect of those novels and really enjoy when I find those plots interwoven into my UF–giving me a great blend of dark and gritty and mystery/thriller. As you can tell from the blurb, Death’s Daughter is a kind of “who did it” and weaves a dark and gritty trail of murder and mayhem in a world full of vampires and other magical/mythical creatures known as “Altered”. So, Death’s Daughter was right up my alley.
I will say that Death’s Daughter feels more RS than UF/PNR as the main focus of the plot is on this investigation. However, it has paranormal elements (the “Altered” as well as fae and other supernaturals) and is sent in modern day. It is an open world, in that humans know supernaturals exist.
There likely will be more romantic undertones in future novels. Juliana and Thomas were “estranged”, for lack of any better term, for several years and really are still getting used to one another. There is some sexual tension, and I know I’m hoping for more tension that will in turn lead to some good smexy times. Thomas can be a bit overprotective in nature, but he does let Juliana do her own thing, for the most part. There is even a part, in Death’s Daughter, where he has to leave Juliana to take care of some business. He hated to leave but trusted her enough to take care of herself and things with the investigation. I like that even though he wants to shelter her and not let anything bad happen to her…again…he recognizes such attempts would be futile and lets her be herself and trusts her to take care of herself. That isn’t to say she always does the smart thing or does great self-care ;).
I can’t really find any negatives with Death’s Daughter. In a matter of about 6 hours I finished both books in this series, causing myself to stay up waaaay later than planned–and making the next morning a several cup of Joe type of day. So, yeah, you know when this happens, there isn’t anything bad to say…other than it ended!
If you haven’t yet picked up this series, I highly suggest that you do. Collins is a great (new to me at least) author and I’ve fallen for a new UF series. Don’t worry, if you haven’t read Realm Walker, chances are you’ll want to go back and buy it, too, but you won’t feel lost if ya don’t read it. If you like UF or even a mystery/thriller, run (do not walk or pass go) to your nearest bookstore or favorite online vendor and buy Death’s Daughter.