Marc and Dana review Infected: Prey (Infected series, book 2) by Andrea Speed. (Published by DSP Publications, October 14, 2014, 224 pages)
To read the review for Infected: Prey click here.
Sequel to Infected: Prey
Infected: Book Two
In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.
The newly married Roan is struggling to balance his work with his home life as he grows increasingly distracted by his husband Paris’s declining health. One case with strong emotions attached takes up most of his time: finding the murderer of a missing little rich girl. It’s a family with secrets so toxic they’d rather no one investigate, and there’s no shortage of suspects. But despite the dangers and obstructions involved, Roan won’t stop… until he loses something infinitely precious as well.
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2010\
Marc – ‘Infected: Bloodlines’ is book two in Andrea Speed’s amazing ‘Infected’ series. It is more fast-paced and action-filled than ‘Infected: Prey’, shorter and packs a heavy emotional punch.
If you have already read book one in this series and read the blurb and title for book two, you might have a good idea about what is going to happen. It’s the kind of thing most people sort of realize and expect, but don’t want to believe.
The world of the ‘Infected’ series is gritty and realistic and every reader knows the stakes are high. It is not just empty ‘promises’, though. Characters are human in more ways than just being flawed. They are also mortal, can be in danger, can bleed, can die. Andrea Speed proves that anything can happen in her world and she is ready to do whatever feels right for the story.
In my review of “Infected: Prey” I summed up book two with one word: HEARTBREAK. I think anyone who read the book can agree that it fits pretty well. Your heart will be ripped out of your chest, crushed and atomized.
As I said before, there is a strong and intriguing romance storyline between Roan and Paris. They are a very interesting couple with a unique dynamic. Each one of them has seen many bad things and dealt with them in very different ways. They are very charismatic and would be able to use that for evil as well as good (and to some extend they have done that), but they are good people and have decided to try to help others.
Roan is the main character in the ‘Infected’ series, but Paris is and will always be very important to him. Paris keeps him sane, in a world full of injustice. As a former police officer, Private investigator and orphan, who was bounced from one abusive foster home to the next, Roan has seen the worst of humanity.
Still, even though Roan’s life is dark and his view of the world seems sarcastic and rather fatalistic, he uses his intelligence and gifts to help people in need. He is fed up with the people who preach that the deadly virus that turns people into big cats and shortens their lives, is some kind of divine gift. He hates the people who discriminate against and hurt people who have been infected by that virus. He hates injustice and the hatred some people foster for others.
Paris helps him to still see the good in the world and enjoy his life. He is the anchor that keeps him safe against the outside world and his own anger. This story is very much about the balance between Roan’s dark and light side and how far he is willing to go.
Like many readers, Roan may think he is prepared for what must ultimately happen and may brace himself for it, but can never be ready for the loss and heartbreak that this book will bring for him. Losing the most important person is shocking and devastating, even if you expect it. It is the end of the world, but the world keeps turning and people continue with their lives as if they couldn’t sense that everything just changed forever.
Andrea Speed handles the arguably most important part in her series in a very beautiful and bittersweet way. This story touched me deeply and I hope you will read this story, even though it will hurt, because even with the pain it needs to be read and it is not just painful, but beautiful as well.
Every ending is also a new beginning and that couldn’t be more true as with this book. It brings one very important romantic story arch to its necessary, devastatingly beautiful and heartbreaking conclusion, but there is so much more in store for Roan.
In the next book, new love will slowly blossom into something equally beautiful, if very different and there are many incredible and increasingly important secondary characters readers have yet to meet. The loss that happens in this book will never be forgotten (it’s a big part of subsequent stories) and is not easy to handle for either Roan or the readers.
In my opinion, though it may be hard to digest, what happens in this book had to happen. We have been introduced to a dark and realistic world with blood and death. We know a bit about how the virus works, how high the stakes are and what has happened to others. Consequently, the same rules need to apply to everyone else as well, unless they are significantly different like Roan. What happens makes sense, even if some readers are in denial until it happens and it is so important and necessary to get the storyline where it needs to be for the rest of this amazing series.
Having said that, I must admit that I read this story in summer 2013 and it took me two years to properly digest it and continue with the rest of the series (I read the rest of the 8-book series is 2015 back-to-back). When I say this story takes an emotional punch, I mean it. Still, it is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and the way it affected me is powerful and rare. I will forever be bound to Roan and his world through shared pain and joy.
10/ 10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Star
Dana – Infected: Bloodlines is the shortest of the eight books that make up the series (not including novellas and shorts). It also has only one part. We discover more about Roan’s past in this book. We had already learned that he was abused as a child passed around from foster home to foster home. Now we learn about his past relationship with a man named Connor.
Roan has really only had two significant loves in his life, Connor and Paris. Connor’s alcoholism drove him away and Roan’s guilt over Connor’s eventual suicide kept him from wanting a relationship with anyone until Paris made it past his barriers. As I mentioned in my review for Infected: Prey, Roan is snarky. He hides behind sarcasm and indifference so people won’t try to get to know him. He is frustrated with society, with the groups that want to be infected which is a death sentence. He is also tired of the haters, who want to brand them and treat them as inhuman. Then there’s the child and spouse abusers, murderers, and kidnappers that are just horrible people anyway.
Matt, a secondary character in book one returns in this book. He hires Roan to find a missing girl he met in rehab. The case really becomes a mess as two people end up dead and a rich guy with an influential father is responsible. We first see Roan start walking the fine line between vigilantism and working alongside the law. But I honestly couldn’t blame him in this scenario.
The secondary characters of this series are becoming more flushed out and they’re looking to become permanent parts of the story. Gordo and Seb are two police officers who call Roan with cat emergencies and also kind of slip him information on the side regarding his cases. That is also true of another detective he calls Dropkick Murphy. Matt, who hired him, is definitely interested in Roan and not just professionally. And Dee, an ex of Roan’s who managed to stay friends with him and also looks after him through many situations.
As this is more gay fiction than a m/m romance, I tend to think of Roan as a solitary main character and the rest of the characters revolve around him. Including Paris, his tiger-infected lover. I mentioned before that becoming infected is pretty much a death sentence. Roan is an exception as a born lion infected. The tiger strain is actually the most deadly virus. Many of those infected with it die very early on. Paris beat the odds to live a few years with Roan but in Infected: Bloodlines he is getting weaker. I predicted heartbreak to come in my previous review, I just didn’t expect it so soon.
If you’ve read the blurbs, or heard talk of this book in Facebook groups or Goodreads, you’re probably aware that there have been lots of tears shed over it. I cried a lot over it. I cried when I skimmed over it to refresh my memories for the review. Dammit, I’m crying as I write this review. Some readers might not want the kind of hurt you’ll feel when reading this book, but I find it cathartic. An emotional release. Also, the love between Paris and Roan is so breathtaking during the last chapter, I don’t think it can be missed. Roan shows so much strength staying with a man who’s dying, and loving him to the final moment. Paris is stronger, accepting his own death, and comforting Roan as he accepts the inevitable. He even rallies friends and acquaintances to watch over Roan when he’s gone.
It’s horribly sad, but so well written. There is beauty in the time they spend together near the end. Each moment is precious. Not only did I feel along with the characters, but it nudged me to remember to cherish the moments with the ones I love, I hope that just the idea of sadness doesn’t keep anyone from reading this book. It’s very important to the story line of the series and must be read. Especially as it’s the set up for what will come in the next books. Look for Roan and the many side characters to play even bigger roles in each book. They’re definitely memorable characters who will be a part of me even after the series is done. For the amount of emotion I felt reading this book, I have to rate Infected: Bloodlines…
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – compares to 5/5 stars.
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men.
Viva la revolution!