Second Grave on the Left  - Darynda Jones, Lorelei King

Second book into the series and I'm not really sure how I feel about them thus far. There are elements I like, but then I feel like all of this was done much better in the Night Huntress series across the board. The snarky, kickass heroine. The primary love interest. There's been no real relationship building between Charlie and Reyes whereas I really got into Cat and Bones's love story. I feel there is a love triangle coming in this series, but we'll have to see how it presents itself for me to judge between the two.


Still, the Charlie Davidson series is entertaining enough. I do love that there has been very little sex. There wasn't even a whole scene in this second book! Maybe that's because there were too many plots to have time for that nonsense. I counted at least four separate plots going on throughout the book. It got a little difficult to keep up with them all.


There are two major negative aspects that have had me on the verge of flouncing out of listening to the rest of the series.


First, Charlie's family. Her family is terrible. She seems to have a good relationship with her father, which doesn't make any sense to me. He's a pretty shitty father. Her step-mother has been awful to her almost her entire life and her father has let it happen. When she was a five-year-old child the hag slapped her in the face—in front of half the town!—and instead of protecting his daughter he took the step-mother off to comfort her. The woman was awful to her and he stayed with her and didn't stop it. The primary reason she was terrible to Charlie was because of her powers to speak to the dead. Her father had been using her to solve cases and get promoted up the police department since she was five. He had no problem using her powers for his professional gain but never protected her from the step-mother who treated her like shit because of them. Meanwhile, she treated her older sister like an actual daughter. And her older sister has been nasty and dismissive of her, too.


That whole dynamic caused me rage. Particularly because Charlie is so loving to her father and made excuses for both him and her step-mother's behavior. Though Charlie made it clear she didn't like her SM right back. All I wanted was for her father to get told off. Particularly by Charlie! Ugh. In this book he even gave Charlie that angry warning voice when she was about to say something bad about her SM, but never stopped the SM from saying or doing nasty things to her. What kind of monstrous BS. Charlie even admits at one point in the first book that no one had ever had her back until her best-friend Cookie entered her life. So why is she so good with her father?!


Then at one point in this second book her father betrays her horrendously. I was hoping she was finally, FINALLY, going to lay in to him for how terrible a father he's been her whole life, she did get to slap him! (Her SM freaks and goes, "did she slap you?! What are you going to do about it?!" I wanted Charlie to say, "Nothing, exactly what he did when you slapped me when I was a five-year-old child.") But noooo none of that gets said, no telling her father off, she finds out that her sister hasn't hated her and does love her and I was good with that resolution, but they all somehow end up in a sobbing group hug (minus the SM, of course)! WHAT EVEN?! Then it's this whole happy family scene and I'm sitting here going "what in the hell?" No. It's not okay! HER FATHER IS NOT OKAY. He should have to answer for always choosing the SM over his own daughter. For everything.


Things like that make me so angry!


The second was Charlie's TSTL stint in this book. I think Reyes was very clear about the dire consequences of what would happen should certain entities find her and that they were using him to trap her. Very. Clear. And yet the whole book she went on about trying to find him and I think we were all wondering what she wasn't understanding about the situation. Then at the end she just lost all intelligence. If she weren't conveniently lucky she would have gotten them all killed. And I don't understand why she did what she did to Reyes in the end. It made no sense (not to mention was paternalistic as hell.) I think we're supposed to believe in this all consuming love she has for him, but like I said before there hasn't been any foundation for it. Just a strong supernatural magnetism. You're going to have to give me more for me to really understand her motivations. (This is another reason why first person is the absolute worst. This story would do well with some of Reyes' perspective.)


The blaming herself for things that were very much not her fault in the first book was bad enough. This was just beyond.


As aggravated as I was at the end of this book I will continue to listen to the series to see what happens even though I'm not loving the story thus far. And, they're free from the library, heh. Hopefully it will get better for me. At least the narrator is pretty good. Not on the level of Tavia Gilbert, but who is?