Dana reviews Mad Lizard Mambo (The Kai Gracen Series, Book 2) by Rhys Ford (Published by DSP Publications, September 13, 2016, 240 pages) An advanced review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read the review for Black Dog Blues (The Kai Gracen Series, Book 1) click here.
Blurb: The Kai Gracen Series: Book Two
Kai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.
Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals… and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, and Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.
Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder’s—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.
The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder.
I wanted to post this review earlier, but the books in the Kai Gracen series are not the type of books you speed through. Rhys Ford has created such extensive world-building. It must be read and fully taken in. The land is full of danger and beauty in this story. I honestly don’t know if I would survive in Kai’s world. Not unless he took me under his wing, anyway. After “the Merge” that brought the world of the dark and light fae (unsidhe and sidhe) into the human world, dragons roam the less populated areas and all manner of trouble is happening in the larger cities.
I picture the landscape to have crystalline kingdoms alongside areas that resemble the pits of hell. Magic and science work together. The San Diego area is a mixture of nationalities and species. The language is Singlish, and combine words from the English language along with Gaelic, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Though the sidhe and unsidhe have their own dialects as well. I am in awe of this author and the setting she has created for this series. I am enchanted by it but would never want to live there.
Kai Gracen is as hard edged as ever and he’s under contract to serve Ryder, the sidhe lord that hired him for a job in book one. Despite his tough attitude and mixed heritage, he deeply cares for the people he knows. I would consider Ryder to be an all around nice guy. Or nice sidhe. His life experiences have taught him to care about others human and sidhe, but his main priority seems to be the continuation of his species. Ryder and Kai are attracted to each other more than ever in this book, but it’s not really a romance novel. Expect a slow, slow burn.
While I am typically a romance reader I respect that this story is about the hard world that they live in, the action when dealing with the mythical creatures inhabiting the land, and Kai’s family who are making things increasingly more difficult. The attraction that they fight does give me hope that the two of them can and will find happiness when things are more settled for them.
I like how Kai’s bisexuality is portrayed, and though Ryder makes his blood sing like no other, there is acknowledgement that Kai is attracted to both sexes. It adds more realism to the story and goes against the misconceptions that people have about bisexuality.
I feel like the characters in this book are explored further as they go on a journey to find help for the sidhe species in the ancient ruins that merged from the Elven kingdom. Kai’s origins are talked about more and we learn more about Ryder’s family.
I am not sure what will happen in the future for Kai and Ryder but after the last two books, I expect that Kai will meet with his maker in a manner of speaking. I hope that Ryder and Kai do give each other a chance to let their emotions take over in regards to romance, but I don’t think it will be the central plot of the story. Ryder’s grandmother and sister could also use a little bit of karma if I do say so myself. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book and I definitely recommend this series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Rhys Ford is a firm believer in love and let love, short walks to a coffee shop and having a spare cat or two. Most days she can be found swearing at her laptop and trying to come up with new ways to kill off perfectly good random characters.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawaii then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.