But, quite satisfying, nonetheless.
As soon as I set down Jade Lee's 'Wicked Surrender', I had to know what happened to Kit. I mean, all of the central characters believed him to be dead and there was a big funeral scene and then you get an epilogue that tells you that Kit is actually on a ship at sea somewhere. Say what? And Kit was not exactly the most mature and self-reliant of fellows and there was no way in Hell that he was going to survive and, yet, he's set up to be the hero of the next book. I had no idea how, or if, Lee could make this work.
And, you know, she kinda didn't. I mean, the book works quite well on its own, but I had a really hard time believing that the Kit from the first book, no matter what he had gone through in the intervening seven years, would become the Kit from this book. The spoiled, privileged child of the first book just never seemed to have it in him to become the mature, tortured man of this one. The Kit of 'Surrender' was more likely to have given up and, consciously or not, allowed himself to be killed.
But, as I said, this novel works well on its own, especially if the reader can view this Kit as an entirely separate being than the Kit of 'Surrender'. Maddy is an engaging heroine with a lot of crap going on in her life, but she still finds bits and pieces of happiness where she can. She serves as companion to her younger cousin, Rose, who is the most flighty, silly, and possibly intellectually challenged flibbertigibbet ever put to paper. Honestly, she was the most unrealistic character in the book and was almost enough to ruin the whole story for me. And, naturally, her stupidity almost ruined everything for everyone. There was lots of villainous behavior by several different secondary characters, but no big ominous threat hanging over anyone's head. The villainy was, instead, of a fairly everyday variety and stemmed from selfishness and not deep-seated evil, which was fairly refreshing. There was lots of drama and darkness and angst, but also lots of humor and healing and, in the end, happiness.
I really, really hope that Ms. Lee doesn't decide to write a book with Rose as the heroine. She's just too annoying and idiotic to ever make a respectable heroine.