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Review: A Time of Dying by Hailey Edwards

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A Time of Dying
Author: Hailey Edwards
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Samhain
Series: Araneae Nation #3
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Format(s): e-book
Book Source: Author
Reviewer: VampBard


About the Book:


They just might survive…if they don’t kill each other first.

Once the future Segestriidae maven, Kaidi lived a privileged life. Now she spends her nights haunting cities ravaged by the plague. Spade in hand, she stalks rows of freshly dug graves for corpses…and then she takes their heads.

Her new life is caked in blood and spattered with gore, but it’s hers. At least until—to her fury—she’s caught napping.

A plague survivor by the skin of his teeth, Murdoch risks his neck to solve the mysteries left in its wake. Bodies have gone missing. Guards have left their posts and never returned home.

When he rouses a female dozing among the dead, he’s unprepared for the violence of her response. Or his. Beneath the grime, she’s lovely. Too bad the blood under her fingernails belongs to his clansmen.

He has no choice but to follow this alluring creature deeper into her world of winged beasts and flesh-eating monsters. She holds the knowledge he craves, but the price is high—and they may both pay for it with their lives.


What I’m Talking About:


Once again, Hailey Edwards brings the world of the Araneae to life with her newest offering in the Araneae Nation series, A Time of Dying.  The third full-length title in the series pulls together silken threads from the prior stories, and weaves an intricate web of political jockeying. Revealed are nefarious (and some rather innocent) plots that threaten to unravel carefully crafted societies.

First, I’d like to note that I’ve been a fan of Ms. Edwards’s Araneae Nation series since A Hint of Frost released in April 2012.  I’ve really enjoyed seeing what’s up her sleeve for each new title she releases.  I highly recommend reading the titles in order.  The world-building has been woven expertly in each subsequent title, and if one book is missed, I believe the reader would lose out on several of the background details that make this series so much fun to read!  I am giddy when former lead heroes & heroines are referenced.  I adore getting that flashback from previous stories that makes me sit back and sigh, with that soft smile.

I really enjoy the way Ms. Edwards crafts her plot arcs.  The romantic tension builds and builds and builds until the last scene.  Oh. My. Gosh!  Once the couple finally gets together, it’s SUCH a relief for me, as a reader!  I keep shouting at the characters, in turn, ‘Get IN there!  You got this!  OMG, just do it, already…’  In reality, it’s definitely an exercise in patience and delayed gratification.  There were so many times during A Time of Dying that I suspected that Ms. Edwards would break from her pattern; things would ramp up, and then something would happen to interrupt.  **sigh**  Simply frustrating, but I was compelled to read until the end because I had to see how everything resolved and played out.  In one sitting.

One thing that keeps Ms. Edwards’s books from being 5 stars for me is probably a ‘just me’ thing.  It seems as though the reader is getting information overload in the beginning of the book.  This title follows that pattern.  It takes me a little longer to read the first half of the book versus the second half, because I’m reading carefully so I don’t miss details.  It does sometimes, however, bog me down.

Because I’m fascinated by the way characters were developed for this book, here’s a snapshot of the important characters and why I loved them:

  • Isolde, mother of Vaughn and former Maven.  She hasn’t given up her power within the nation at this point, but isn’t operating totally in-the-open, often skirting what’s Hoyle and what is beyond the realm of political correctness.  Totally fun character.  I strive to be Isolde when I grow up.  She reminds me of the crazy grandma that provides gems of whack wisdom that totally makes sense later in the TV sitcom episode.
  • Vaughn is the current Paladin of his clan, and is the reserved ruler.  Vaughn came upon his throne in the last novel, A Feast of Souls, although we do see some of the foundation for why Vaughn is the way he is – his father, Brynmor’s story – in the novella, A Cast of Shadows.  Vaughn is really complex, and I’m glad we got to see more of him in this book.  I understand him much better, and I feel as though some things are now more resolved for me.  He is still a reluctant ruler, but he is growing into his position.
  • Mana is the current Maven of her clan, and rules side-by-side with Vaughn.  Even though Isolde tries to usurp her position.  What I like about Mana is that she is front-and-center with her skills and talents, but allows others to shine when it’s their turn.  When they are better suited to accomplish a task.  She’s quiet and understated, happy to allow her ideas to be implemented as someone else’s, as long as everything works out in the end.  I feel as though I also got to know Mana better in this book.  Like some parts of her personality were finally revealed in this book.
  • Murdoch is the head of the guard for Vaughn & Mana.  He’s a lot of responsibility and loyalty to the ‘royal’ family because Vaughn’s dad, Brynmor, made sure his family was cared for when his father died.  Loyalty like this depicts a man of integrity and ethics.  Only when given an ultimatum does his loyalty divide him.  It was interesting watching Murdoch evolve and grow as a character.  I hope to see more of him in future Araneae Nation titles.
  • Kaidi is promised to the Paladin of her clan, but this plague and the psychotic moves her intended has made have driven her from her home in search of a cure for the illness.  She is tenacious.  She has guts, and … darn it … balls of steel.  I really like her.  A. Lot.  I think she’s one of the strongest females that Ms. Edwards has written to-date, and that’s saying something!  If we don’t see a novella about her and Murdoch in the future, I’m going to be **really** disappointed.

Favorite quote:  (Kaidi to Murdoch) “Tame as you are, I hope ever to drive you wild.”

Overall, I’d have to say that A Time of Dying was just one more excellent title in the Araneae Nation series.

4 Stars-w-letterEnjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)

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Purchase Info:
A Time of Dying (Book 3)

Reviews in the Series:
A Hint of Frost, Book One
A Feast of Souls, Book Two
A Cast of Shadows, An Araneae Nation Novella

 

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