Thursday, August 27, 2009

Feature Review: "Servant: The Kindred," By LL Foster

By Amy Kennedy, RBTB Contributing Editor

Sometimes comparisons bother me. Like movie pitches: It’s Rocky meets Buffy, only set in the Renaissance!

Why can’t it be something completely different?

Yet sometimes comparisons are comforting: Try it, it tastes like chicken. And sometimes we're not talking so much a comparison as recognition – a hint or suggestion of something else.

When I first started reading L.L. Foster’s Servant series, I kept trying to think of whom I was reminded of by the heroine, Gabrielle Cody. Finally, with the third book in the series, I’ve had my revelation…

Like a punk-rock Joan of Arc, Gabrielle Cody, from L.L. Foster’s urban-edged, passionate romance, “Servant: The Kindred,” follows her calling – a wicked calling – to do battle against evil. If she doesn’t heed it, it hurts like hell, literally. And the pain lasts until she finds either victim or victimizer.

Gaby is reminiscent of Joan of Arc, maybe not in reality, for one thing, Gaby doesn’t plan on remaining a virgin, but absolutely in the idea of Joan – warrior maidens, both acting as God’s Paladins. Of course, Joan had an army at her back – Gaby, only a knife.

But lately Gaby’s had Detective Luther Cross at her back (and her front), an alpha protector whose faith is in the system, and, in Gaby. He doesn’t understand her “gift,” but he understands she has one, and doesn’t question how she gets her knowledge.

Now, Gaby and Luther are after someone who’s got a taste for blood. So far they’ve been too late to save any of the victims. The bad guy, Fabian, and his followers are pseudo vampires who drink their victims’ blood, thinking it makes them powerful.

Gaby senses who Fabian is, but with Luther at her side, she needs actual proof. What’s confounding her is this weird sense of recognition, she somehow knows Fabian, and it scares her.

As the chase heats-up so, too, does Gaby’s and Luther’s relationship. And when she and Luther finally do hook-up, (thank you) it’s just like you’d expect: hard, fast and up against a wall. But because Gaby sees herself as one of the monsters she hunts, she wonders when Luther will recognize this, and, inevitably, hate her for it. How can she drag the people she cares about – especially Luther – into this nightmare world of visions, pain, and callings? Luther is determined to convince her he not only wants her, but needs her too.

L.L. Foster has created a couple you can’t help but want to read more about, just to see what they’ll do next; a heroine made up of opposites: harsh and innocent, naïve and sensual; and a hero who might give-up his gun, but never his top-dog manliness. They are a reader’s dream couple. So, be like Gaby: Heed the calling, and --

Buy the book.

What are your feelings on long relationship arcs – having to wait a few books for the couple’s HEA, so to speak? And who’s your favorite fictional couple in books, tv, or movies?


amy kennedy said...

Hello everyone, I really do like a long relationship arc, sometimes I like to have to wait for it. Of course, I still like my hea tied up in one book too, I just really like having all these lovely options.

I have lots of fave couples...sometimes, they don't even know they're a couple -- like (oh, this should be good, I can't remember any names) Castle and the detecvive (help me) on the tv show Castle. Buffy and Spike. I love it when there's that spark of attraction, but it's tempered with irritation.

Eve Dallas and Rourke. Another long relationship arc.

I'm sure I'll think of at least 20 more -- can't seem to narrow it down.

Laurie G said...

Favorite couple in a movie:

Richard and Vivienne in Pretty Woman. Love her spunk!

Stacy~ said...

Hey Ames, great review here. I am definitely a fan of the drawn-out HEA, with my Sam & Alyssa as prime candidates. Now they're married with a child, and just as fascinating as the first time they hooked up, and chocolate syrup still plays a big role in their lives ;) Gotta love that.

(I also have to mention Colleen Gleason's series being another fave).

These same pairings on t.v. shows don't always work out so well when they finally hook up - Remington Steele and what's her name; David & Maddie from Moonlighting are 2 prime examples. But in a romance series, it works perfectly well for me, and always leaves me wanting a little bit more.

I could name more, but I'll stop...for now :)

amy kennedy said...

Laurie, I love them! Lots of fun banter, and the heat factor.

Stace, I thought of both those couples -- loved the anticipation...then it was so anti-climactic.

Sam & Alyssa -- man Brockmann made us wait for that one! And Collean Gleason, loved the 5 book arc. Sheesh, Stace, all good calls.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Bellas! Thanks, Amy, for this excellent feature! You know I'm miserable with the 'series' thing; hate to not have the HEA in one neat, shiny package/book. But I know I'm woefully in the minority on that one. I do, however, love to hear folks describe why they love these series, cause it gets me so turned on to the couples.

Remember that Brenda Joyce series that started a few years back that you liked, Amy? Do you think that was a little before it's time and that's why it wasn't finished?

And, really, Stacy, I had NO idea you liked this Sam and Alyssa of whom you speak... :)

Oh, they were a good one, Laurie! I always remember her giggling when she shoots the escargot across the restaurant...

The Reading Frenzy said...

Great article Amy, I also love several long relationship series. One is JD Robb's IN Death series with Eve Duncan and the lucius Roarke, the one that reminds me a little of this series is Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake where she also considers herself one of the monsters of course her choice in bed mates would be considered monsters by many, not me though.
My fav couple in novels of the long standing type are:
Deborah Crombie's Jemma James and Duncan Kincaid series
JD Robb - In Death Series
Laurell K Hamilton - Anita Blake series
Diana Gabaldon's - Outlander series

See y'all later

The Reading Frenzy said...

Oh and I forgot to tell you why I like these types of reads, well it's simple. When you meet characters that you really like you want to keep on knowing them, it makes you feel good to know that when the novel is finished you only have to wait a certain amount of time before you can get into them again. It's like catching up with old friends.

Okay now really bye!!

Myrin said...

You know I'm miserable with the 'series' thing ... But I know I'm woefully in the minority on that one.

Hey Michelle, you're not alone! I'm also not the biggest fan of those things, although spontaniously I can't think of any I've read apart from Eve and Roarke (and IMO they have a HEA in every single one of their books)- but the thought of it alone doesn't make them my favs.

I do know of Suzanne Enoch's "Rick Addison and Samantha Jellicoe"-series, though. Always wanted to pick them up, but somehow never got to it.

Favourite couples ... hmmmm ... there are so many to love. But the h/h from my all-time-favourite book Lady Sophia's Lover are definitely somewhere on the upper places ... Or Aidan Reagan and Tess Ciccotelli (da una famiglia italiana!) from Karen Rose's ... ahem ... can think of neither the German nor the English title at the moment ... her fourth book, will have to look this one up. Anyway, I LOVE them!!!

Lori Foster aka L. L. Foster said...

wow. Lovely review! I am sooooo flattered. Thank you 10 times over.



Becke Davis said...

Great post,Amy! Rocky meets Buffy? Love it!

Hi Lori - great to see you here, too!

I've been a fan of Lori's for a long time. When I find an author I like (even if she writes under more than one name), I'm always willing to check out anything new they might try.

It's fascinating how many authors have a darker side, and it's a little unsettling how much I like to read those darker books. Lisa mentioned Karen Rose, whose books often give me nightmares, but I still come back for more.

Since I'm a heavy duty romance lover, my preference is for books that have the complete romantic arc in a single book. But it paranormal and, especially, in urban fantasy, the trend seems to be for a three-book arc. I can deal with that because I've come to expect it.

To me, the three-book romance arcs only disappoint when I'm reading the first book and don't know it's the beginning of a trilogy. As long as I know there won't be a resolution at the end of the book, I can deal! And I do like those dark, dark stories.

amy kennedy said...

No, Lori, Thank you!

D'oh! I can't believe I forgot that couple Michelle...I do think it was ahead of its time. I wish the publisher would open that series back-up. I have to think of their names...

Debbie, yeah, love Laurell K Hamilton -- but Anita's had a few "boyfriends!"

Lisak -- I haven't read that series, the Susan Enoch one, tell me about it.

Becke Davis said...

By the way, from a strictly writing standpoint, I think it's a good thing when authors spread their wings and try different styles or genres. For one thing, it can get boring writing the same thing, day in and day out. I know I have a low boredom threshhold, and I always want to have something different going on to keep me on my toes.

And, since most of us read more than one type of book, what could be more natural than writing in more than one style? This must be a successful move for many authors, because look at all the ones who are doing this:

Lori Foster/L.L. Foster
Nora Robert/J.D. Robb
Lisa Kleypas/Lisa Kleypas :)
Elizabeth Hoyt/Julia Harper
Christina Dodd/Christina Dodd
Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick (etc.)
Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind
Jennifer Haymore/Dawn Halliday

Who else am I forgetting?

Myrin said...

Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor
Karen Hawkins/Karen Hawkins *g*

Amy, since I haven't read those Enoch books, either (but have you tried the "Notorious Gentlemen"? They're fabulous!), here's a link to the first one in the series:

Tiona said...

Hey, Bellas! QB, I am with you and can't stand for the HEA to take sooo long, hehe! I want it and i want it now! hmmm..that sounds bad, hehe. Teh only ones I can think of that work and only because they are hilarious and crazy, but the Stephanie Plum novels. The love triangle between her, Joe and Ranger keeps a girl on her toes!

As for fave couples, Royce and Jennifer in 'A Kingdom of Dreams" are the greatest!

Lori Foster aka L. L. Foster said...

:::WAVING::: to Becke, and everyone else. Very thoughful comments, everyone. I love seeing things from a reader's perspective.



Jill Kemerer said...

Wow! This book sounds like a goodie!

I read both stand alone books and series books. I especially like Tori Carrington's Sofie Metropolis series. About five years ago, I enjoyed a series set in the early 1900's--I think it was by Brenda Joyce.

amy kennedy said...

Thanks Lisak -- I'll check it out.

Becke, I think more and more authors are writing in multiple genres, I love it, the fact they can change their voice is astonishing to me. Case in point, Lori Foster, her LL Foster books are sooo different from her "Lori" books.

Eve Silver/Eve Kenin -- she goes from historical gothic romances to post-apocolyptic adventure romances

Jill Kemerer said...

Duh! I just read through the comments and saw the Brenda Joyce one above--that's the series I liked! The heroine WAS ahead of her time.

amy kennedy said...

Jill! we (I) was just talking about those -- her "Deadly" series, with Francesca and Calder. OOOh, I loved me some Calder Hart. Jill, I think you could read this Kindred book alone, but you might want to start with the first, Kindred: The Awakening.

Princess, nothing wrong with the three-way. Stephanie Plum, now there's a conundrum I wouldn't mind havin' -- which one, which one, Joe or Rnager...

So, Lori, who are some of your fave couples -- and no fair choosing any of yours, oh, all right, you can.

Becke Davis said...

Ranger is hot, but I'm going with Joe Morelli. Those Italians . . .

I've always had a soft spot for Lori's SAY NO TO JOE. And the Winston brothers -- Zane? Wasn't that one of them? My memory is awful. But I like those wrestlers, too. I've only read the first of Lori's L.L. Foster books -- I have some catching up to do!

amy kennedy said...

I gotta tell you Becke, they just get better and better, of course, I think they get better because, erm, they get hotter!

Gaby's so innocent about certain things, and at one point Luther tells her what he wants to do to her and how he wants to do it, and then he walks out the door -- leaving her with this image and she's practically a wreck, she's so turned-on. I've placed a special bookmark on that page.

Jackie said...

My favorite fictional couple in a movie is Scarlett and Rhett from Gone With The Wind.
JFWisherd (at)aol(dot)com

Becke Davis said...

Amy - Was that in this book? Sold!

EmilyBryan said...

I fell in love with Sherry Thomas's Leo and Bryony in NOT QUITE A HUSBAND. Talk about a couple who had to work at a relationship!

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm sold on this series, Amy, and I'm so glad you refreshed the "Deadly" series names for me. Calder was the bad boy, right? I loved me some Calder too! Why did she ever think she'd be with the cop? Hello! Uggh...that series needs to come back!

Lori Foster aka L. L. Foster said...

Amy, I would never ever choose my own couples. LOL

My memory isn't cooperating, so I'm sure there are oodles who aren't popping to mind, but...

I LOVED Jonas and Verity from JAK's Gift of Gold, Gift of Fire books. Two of my all-time faves!

Also, the characters (whose names escape me) from a Hunger Like No Other, written by Kresley Cole.

And the Mackenzies by Linda Howard, any of them really, but most especially Wolf and Mary!

Hugs to all,


Lori Foster aka L. L. Foster said...

Becke, thank you! The Winstons are one of my most popular series, alongside the Buckhorns, it seems. And yes, Zane was the first single title I did. :-)

Amy, I had to laugh!
...Gaby's so innocent about certain things, and at one point Luther tells her what he wants to do to her and how he wants to do it, and then he walks out the door -- leaving her with this image and she's practically a wreck, she's so turned-on. I've placed a special bookmark on that page....

Thank you!