Dana and Marc review Shaker of Earth (SPECTR Series 2 Book 5) by Jordan L.Hawk. (Published September 14, 2018, 117 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read the audiobook review of SPECTR Series 1 click here.
To read the audiobook review of SPECTR Series 2 Books 1-3 click here.
To read the ebook review of Breaker of Chains (SPECTR Series 2 Book 4) click here.
Charleston is reeling beneath the onslaught of demons unleashed by the vampire spirit Drugoy and his human host Yuri. Alone and drained almost to the point of death, Gray and Caleb must make their way across a city gone mad in hopes of putting an end to Yuri and Dru. But the other drakul isn’t the only enemy they have to worry about.
After the death of a rogue agent at Gray’s teeth, John’s faith in his lovers has been badly shaken. But when SPECTR Chief Barillo orders the vampire destroyed by any means possible, John and his allies find themselves in a race to find Gray and Caleb before their fellow SPECTR agents.
Because their only hope of stopping Yuri and Dru is by working together. And if they fail to unite, the streets of Charleston will run red with blood.
The cover – I don’t always talk about covers, but the author just created new ones for the series and they are worth mentioning. I liked the previous covers, but there is something cleaner about the new images. I feel like I get a better idea of what the characters are supposed to look like. The stories are what matters, but I do believe the new covers are more pleasing to the eye.
The story – When I finished reading the previous book, Breaker of Chains, I was out of my mind with the need to know how Gray, Caleb, and John would handle the situation they found themselves in. I needed this book as soon as possible, and Jordan L. Hawk didn’t make us wait too long. Thank goodness!!
At the end of Breaker of Chains, I didn’t know what would become of Caleb and Gray. Their situation was dire! I was so keyed up inside that the ease in which they escaped death was a little bit of a let down. It’s hard to say that because I don’t want in any way to make this book sound like it’s not good. It was great. And not one moment that could be considered boring. Though Gray and Caleb were rescued fairly easy, they still had to deal with a crazed, powerful drakul they used to think was their friend, SPECTR was against them, and they had no reason to hope their relationship with John could be worked out.
This story is a non stop action scene. Every time that I thought Gray and Caleb were in prime condition, something would knock them back down. Whether it was Yuri/Drugoy, or a non-human entity (NHE) that possessed some random bystander, or a corrupt SPECTR agent who would rather see them die than reveal his mistakes. It seemed like Gray and Caleb couldn’t get a break. While Yuri and his counterpart, Drugo, were damaged in some fights, they seemed like they would come out the winner at times, so needless to say, I was freaking out a bit while reading the book. Even to the end, there was some uncertainty.
I haven’t mentioned John much, so let me remedy that. John is a wonderful character. He loves both Caleb and Gray, which is good because they share a body. And up until the last book he has taken their side and backed them up at ever turn. Yuri and Drugoy did more damage than just physical to John, Caleb, and Gray. Their machinations did damage to the trust between the three main characters. John’s desire to keep the peace at his job played a part in the problems between all three of them too. He was willing to sacrifice Caleb and Gray’s happiness and (without knowing) their safety at risk in order to not make waves. John does realize his faults, though. A very mean spirited part of me wanted even more guilt from him, but ultimately I had to forgive him because he is just one of those truly good characters.
A few side characters were also important in this story. I liked Karl, an empath that helped John out. Zahira, the SPECTR agent that worked with John, Gray, and Caleb in the past is in this book and she is always a great character. I feel like her ethnicity adds more depth to the story. And she is one of the few women shown to work for the agency. And a surprise return from a character that was a supporter of Gray and Caleb, who luckily shows up just in time to help save the day. This author’s works are not only great because of the main characters, but also the ones that she surrounds them with. I always wish I could be one of them.
The end of this story has new paths and jobs in store for the group. It is calm and quiet for the most part, but I know that the author has plans for more series inside this larger series. I will miss some of the other secondary characters that made series 2 what it was, but I absolutely can’t wait to find out where Gray, Caleb, and John will go in the next book(s). For all that things seem like a happy for now, I know that this author will entertain us with a lot more action and suspense to come. I definitely can’t recommend this book or series enough.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
Like Dana, I have to mention the new covers. The old covers had something foreign and exotic about them and I know quite a few readers loved them, but for me they were one reason why it took me a bit to start the series. The covers looked interesting, but did not draw me to the books. These new covers, including the gorgeous cover of ‘Shaker of Earth’ are much more to my taste. While the old covers were more bold and different, the new covers look pretty to me with beautiful colors, a drawn quality and characters, who look more relatable to me.
Unlike Dana, I did not really worry too much about Caleb and Grey after the last book. They were in a pretty bad situation, but Grey is a Drakul and seems almost invincible with god-like powers of the storm. And he and Caleb are main characters, so I assumed they would get out of their bad situation rather quickly. For me the major cliffhanger that kept me up after reading the previous book and made me need the sequel right then, was the emotional cliffhanger.
John and Caleb/Grey did not really part on the best of terms. I was not sure how they would find their way back together and if they would be able to forgive each other. Well, I KNEW that in a romance, it was very likely that they would find a way, both really screwed up and everything blew up in their faces. Their situation was not great and there were forces at work that quietly conspired against them, but they could have avoided a lot of what happened, if they had relied more on each other and their friends.
The last book was at times pretty hard to read as the MCs were seperated and isolated. They are very strong as a team, when they communicate and trust in the people who care about them. However, too many things were kept secret and instead of trying to change the terrible situation they found themselves in, they tried to accept an unacceptable situation that could not end well. And obviously didn’t.
For me this new book is almost two stories. First the phsyical and a bit later the emotional cliffhangers are resolved and then, with a different and more hoopeful outlook, the characters have to face their most powerful enemy yet. I loved how the previous book raised the stakes (even if it was hard to read how our beloved MCs had to suffer), but I felt the high tension that had readers at the edge of the seat was really earned. It shifted the tone and mood of the story a bit, though, and I felt that might be why the author tried to resolve the cliffhangers rather quickly.
However, while the story seemed to be broken up in two parts and did not feel quite as smooth as usual, it was still an amazing story, with a lot of action and tension and I enjoyed it a lot. The MCs all realize the mistakes they have made and have learned from them and I could definitly see some character development, especially with Caleb/Grey. I think John and his lovers have a lot to talk about and figure out, but I was glad they found their way back to each other. This book will leave readers way happier. There’s not a big new cliffhanger, but rather an interesting new beginning.
I love the diversity and depth of the secondary characters – they add a lot to the story. It was great to see them again and they have important parts to play. There even was the return of a character from the past I have missed a lot – finally! I wish we had gotten to know the players of the opposite side of the conflict better as well. They had a very important story to play and emotional story arc that would have been way more effective, if I had connected to them in any way before. I hope we will get to know them better, even if we may never trust them.
For me, the big battle that we have been waiting for was suitably action-packed and I loved that the characters had good ideas and executed them perfectly with team work, but still not everything worked the way it should and the fight got difficult and tense. I knew they had to win logically, but I was still – again – at the edge of my seat. I really care for the characters and I am glad they come out on top, but with an enemy as overpowered as this one, I am also glad they had to earn their victory.
If you are a fan of this series, expect another wonderful book and get it ASAP on eBook/print or audiobook. You will not regret it and the ending will leave you more satisfied and happy than the previous book’s major cliffhanger, even if Breaker of Chains is still my favorite book of Season 2.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.