Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Title:     Serpent's Kiss [The Beauchamp Family, book 2]
Author:  Melissa de la Cruz
Rating:  ★★★

My head is still aching from reading Serpent's Kiss, the second book in The Beauchamp Family series, by Melissa de la Cruz. I feel like my brain just ran a marathon, and not in a good way. I truly enjoyed first book, Witches of the East End, so I was eager to read the sequel, but oh wow, I feel so lost after reading it.

Just as things have settled down in the off-the-map Long Island town of North Hampton for the magical Beauchamp family, everything gets turned upside down once more when Freya's twin brother Fryr, or "Freddie" as he's called now, returns from Limbo with shocking news - that it was none other than Freya's fiancé, Killian Gardiner, who set up his downfall.

He begs Freya to keep his presence a secret, even from their own family, but somehow the irascible Freddie is still able to conduct many affairs with the town's young lovelies from his self-imposed exile. Until he falls for the wrong girl.

While Freya tries to keep her brother from exacting revenge on the man she loves, Ingrid has her own problems. Her human boyfriend, Matt Noble, becomes entangled in a complicated investigation, and when the magical creatures at the center of it come to Ingrid for help, she has a difficult choice to make.

To top it off, a dead spirit is trying to make contact with Joanna - but does it mean to harm or warn the witches? All hell breaks loose at the family reunion over Thanksgiving, and much mayhem ensues, but when the culprit behind Freddie's imprisonment is finally revealed, it may already be too late to staunch the poison that's been released by the serpent's kiss.

Witches of the East End finished on a pretty interesting note, especially with the appearance of Freddie. I thought Serpent's Kiss would pretty much be off to a good start, that it would be all about Freya getting to the bottom of things. Well, okay, so that happened but the way to get there was so confusing. Each character, from Joanna to Freya, to Ingrid, and Freddie, had their own story arc, and each one was pretty developed. Each person had their own story going on, and then in the end it just comes together. Well, it was supposed to, but I'm not satisfied but how the story arcs were resolved.

At the end of the story, Freddie remembers bits about his past and why he didn't end up with Hilly (which was supposed to be his forever unrequited love), but then looks at Gert and falls for her. If this was supposed to be the punishment for Joanna's interference in Hilde's turf, then why does it not seem like a punishment but a blessing for Freddie? I didn't like Freddie - he made me think of a spoiled, selfish brat. They've had years to grow up but he seemed too immature.

Ingrid is this super old woman (she's immortal, after all) but she acts like a teenager who can't get a grip on herself. She's an adult, for crying out loud. Matt Noble, on the other hand, is acting like a teenager as well, hot one minute then cold the next. If they keep breaking up with every fight of theirs, I wonder how they'll make it through. Also, Matt's acceptance of Ingrid's powers were too rushed, seeing as he is portrayed to be closed off to the idea of magic.

Freya was the only one I understood - her story was clear: she was to find out if Killian truly framed Freddie. But I'm confused because she kept saying that Killian seemed to have that deadly look in his eyes at one point. Is that just really her imagination or is Killian really hiding something? Lastly, how did the Valkyries even find Killian? Aren't they supposed to be looking for Freddie?

The ending is mildly interesting so I'm still deciding if I'm going to read the third book, Winds of Salem, which will be out this month. I'm hoping it's better; I still have to decide if  I'll check it out, but Serpent's Kiss hasn't got me convinced. What about you, have you read the book/series? Let me know what you think.