Shattered Illusions by Laura Greenwood

Shattered Illusions (Ashryn Barker, #1)Shattered Illusions by Laura Greenwood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This review may contain spoilers, continue at your own risk!

Actual rating of 2.5

Ashryn is a vampire hunter, and she’s damn good at what she does. However, she’s a vampire hunter with a secret, one that she can never tell anyone, especially those she works with. When she looks into someone’s eyes, she can see their deepest, darkest secret. It can make for some pretty awkward situations, let me tell you. When Ashryn is sent on a nest extermination assignment, things don’t go exactly according to plan, and soon Ashryn is questioning everything she’s ever known.

I’m a sucker for urban fantasy. It’s the genre that got me back into reading after a 10 year hiatus, so I’ll generally jump onto anything UF that I find. This story wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t give me those good book tingles that I look for (it’s not as gross as it sounds, I promise). So when we have a badarse feminine protagonist, some vampires, and shit that just isn’t what it seems? It sounded freaking amazing to me. I just find that there wasn’t a lot happening here.

First off, we have Ashryn Barker…Ashryn…I’m all for unique names in stories and playing around with the more unusual names, but for some reason Ashryn just doesn’t sit well with me, it sounds like a bad stereotype of an Eastern accent. I think it’s also because I knew a little girl called Ashlyn once, so it was pretty jarring to wrap my head around the different, yet similar pronunciation. But let’s be serious, I didn’t give the book a less than stellar rating purely for the lead character’s name, it grated on me and jolted me out of the narrative a bit, but it’s just a name and Greenwood can call her characters whatever she likes.

Ashryn is a badarse character, and you won’t be in doubt about it, because she’ll tell you how much of a badarse she is. Her character personality jumped over the confidence line and landed heavily in cocky territory. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, I like characters that have flaws. And Ashryn’s cockiness is something that I would see as a flaw. She’s that cocky that when something about an assignment didn’t feel up to scratch, she ignored it and went anyway, potentially risking her pretty neck. So I’m slightly torn on how to feel about her as a character because she pissed me off greatly with her personality and the tickets she has on herself, yet, I LOVE A CHARACTER THAT HAS FLAWS! I’M SO DAMN TORN! I’ve met many a character that I just LOVE to hate, but that wasn’t the situation here. I’m trying to like the woman, but she’s making it kinda hard not to want to slap her out of her gloating…

After said assignment where things went totally pear shaped and the whole “I should have listened to my gut” thing started, the confidence is gone in the blink of an eye, once again, not a bad thing. A seriously terrifying experience can jolt one out of cockiness pretty damn quick, so this was a believable switch. What I did have trouble with was the fact that the facts are literally staring her in the face. She’s known about this stuff for her entire life back to the first point she can remember. She has had these facts drilled into her head HER ENTIRE LIFE. Yet she still questions the most basic of things? And is in so much denial that I wanted to throttle her to snap her out of it. Just know this….if you walk in the sun and it hurts, have pointy teeth and didn’t die when you probably should have ODDS ARE YOU ARE A VAMPIRE! But she goes through so many different ways to just ignore what has happened. It really irked me. For someone who was illustrated as such a logical, intelligent person, she just turned into a hot mess when the time came to pull her shit together and work it out. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (again), as I suppose if a character can make you THIS annoyed with them, then the author has done a pretty damn good job of making the character realistic. Also, I know that in situations that are highly emotionally charged, like your whole life being turned upside down, logic and stuff will generally be the first thing to fly out the window. Humans love to live in denial, it’s a fact. We will argue against something until we’re blue in the face if we don’t want to believe it, so in this way Greenwood has made a realistic character.

The men that we meet are interesting enough, this is touted as a reverse harem, which I can see that it will become, but if you’re hoping that this first instalment will be filled with hot and steamy sexy times, you will be disappointed. I like this though, I’m sick of reading books where the main character meets someone and two seconds later is trying their hardest to get into someone’s pants because he’s swoon worthy. I get it, sexy scenes are fun to write, but I want a bit of substance with my smut. I like there to be some foundation to the relationships that form. So I loved that this book doesn’t jump straight into sexy time with the characters who don’t know each other from a bar of soap. However, I was getting incredibly tired of Ashryn’s inner monologue about how they were making her insides feel and how she was beyond attracted to them and how it must have been the change that caused it. No woman, they’re probably good looking guys and you’re sitting up and taking notice. But I don’t want to constantly hear about it. Once is enough.

The story itself is okay, to be honest, nothing much really happens…We meet Ashryn, she goes on a shady mission, ends up in a situation that she never thought would happen, then the rest of the story is basically her trying to deal with the curve ball that she’s been thrown. Not bad, but just not super interesting. The story started to get interesting again and then it ended. So it feels almost like it will be a serialisation instead of a full blown series. This is not a bad thing, serialisations can be great if they’re done right, this one just didn’t feel like it was a good place to stop the story as the flow had just gotten going again.

All in all, this was an okay read, the characters annoyed the tripe out of me at times, but kudos to Greenwood for injecting her characters with enough life and personality to cause me to be annoyed, the story was okay, but not really engrossing…I’m not sure at this stage whether I will continue with the rest of the series or not. If you want a quick UF read about vampires and a hunter give it a go, it’s honestly pretty short.

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