I read Marjorie Liu’s first book, Tiger Eye, over a year ago when it first came out and I remember liking it quite a bit. I blogged earlier in the week that I recieved Shadow Touch last fall as part of a viral marketing campaign, but life interfered and I was unable to get to reading it at that time. Since I recently recieved the Red Heart of Jade, the third in the Dirk and Steele series, for another marketing campaign, and I feel guilty for not doing the first, I promised myself I’d read both this month.

This past weekend I read Shadow Touch. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t read it back during the marketing campaign because I found myself not really caring for it. The book never flowed well for me, didn’t have a cohesive feel to it. I’ve said in the past that I’m very much a character reader, it’s important to me that I’m able to connect with the characters–or at least feel that they’re well developed. For whatever reason, I found myself unable to connect to Artur or Elena, and even more importantly, unable to connect to their relationship.

What’s interesting to me, is that Marjorie Liu writes a hero who is, essentially damaged by his past. As a reader, it was important that I be able to believe that he can be redeemed, fixed…be able to have a healthy relationship. But that concept wasn’t sold to me. Though Ms. Liu does attempt to show how he is healed, it fell flat for me, lacking a depth. Part of this may be the time span during which the book takes place. It’s relatively short and events unfold quickly and the characters are almost always under extreme emotional stress. I needed more in the way of a developing relationship, more time to see the characters heal.

The reason I said it was interesting was because in contrast, JR Ward has written Zsadist in Lover Awakened, which I reviewed briefly yesterday. He too is damaged but she sold me–completely and utterly–on his journey to finding some amount of happiness. It’s difficult for me to put a finger on the difference, but it’s something to do with the depth of the journey, the time devoted to it…

In summary, I still recommend lovers of paranormal romance to pick up Tiger Eye if you haven’t read it, but Shadow Touch isn’t a must read, and I’m a little sad about that. I’ll be reading the next in the Dirk and Steele series later in the month.

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