How did I get it: The library.
Why did I get it: I wanted to give this series another shot with a better audio book reader. So I figured out which audio book took place after most of Temperence’s relationship issues were resolved and checked it out.
How would I rate it: 3 out of 5 stars.
My Summary: Temperence Brennan wakes up in a concrete block underground and works to figure out how she ended up there. Months earlier and shortly before Christmas, she worked several cases in Chicago and Canada, reluctantly accepting help from Ryan but refusing to allow him access to her heart so to speak. In late January, her work left her with more questions than answers. Still, the seemingly linked killings of elderly Canadian women doesn’t explain why someone is working to sabotage Brennan’s hard work and reputation. And just who would go to such twisted lengths to kill her?
My Review: [Caution: Mild spoilers.]
This book was infinitely superior to Break No Bones, but I wonder how much of that was a result of my skipping Bones to Ashes and Devil Bones. In addition, I’m fairly certain my somewhat more positive rating for this title comes mostly from liking Andrew Ryan and the actually crazy plot more than developing a real fondness for Temprence Brennan.
Reichs’ trademark short sentences were salvaged by Linda Emond’s superb oratory skills, and seemed less jarring that they did for the previous audio book. I sincerely doubt the previous reader would have been able to make me like this book, but Emond breathed fresh life into this book and made Tempe a much more dynamic character.
That said, I honestly think the first few chapters of the book was way too full of scenes of Tempe trying to outdo everyone at spouting out factoids she got off the internet or from Reader’s Digest. Some of it was believable and some of it was annoying since it lead to several winks to audience and Tempe eventually getting pissy about people expecting her to know everything when clearly she’s made that her life’s ambition. The trade off, I think, was that there were not as much summary paragraphs especially towards the end of the book. When there were, they actually made sense within the context of the novel since time was actually passing.
The repetition issues were also back again but in less obnoxious ways, most of them relating to Tempe having Deep Thoughts and the passage of time. Reichs apparently felt that having the occasional “tick tock” thrown in along with some introspection on watches and the way people think of time would help. Thankfully this book actually had some suspense and believable tension even if it had to all but bury Tempe alive to achieve that end, which made a world of a difference from Break No Bones.
Like Break No Bones, this book lacked a lot of suspects, which made figuring out what was going on somewhere before the middle exasperatingly easy. But unlike Break No Bones, the suspects were more involved in actual events within the book and their actions made more sense in a crazy way. It also helped that, since the stakes were higher, I was more interested in seeing what would happen.
Pete was around but more of a spectre this time than an irritating presence. Ryan was around more and very entertaining, I might add. I appreciated his devotion to his work, his genuine affection for Tempe, and to mostly having logical reactions to any given situation. I spent most of the book miserable whenever Ryan left, and I think Reichs really ought to just write a series about him.
Although she continued to make awful decisions, I mostly liked Temperence when she was alone or at least not actively picking on people. She didn’t have so many animals around, which helped too. Her cases also gave her actual work to do with an added bonus of there being less time to debate the pros and cons of relationships since she was having issues with co-workers, bosses, etc. However, Tempe does remain incredibly juvenile and selfish in some respects, particularly her temper and her inability to forgive others even for actions similar to her own or actions borne out of panicked uncertainty and concern for other people.
I have to admit that I couldn’t get over the grudge she had against Ryan that resulted from his freaking out a bit in some other book when his only recently discovered teen daughter ended up being addicted to heroin and attempting to reconcile with the girl’s mother. Of course he quickly realizes that will not help his daughter recover and that he would be miserable seeing as the person he wants to be with is Tempe.
I can understand Tempe being hurt, but I just cannot believe anyone would hold an irrationally made decision against their crime partner of more than a decade. Especially when Tempe couldn’t get over Pete who is engaged to someone else but still married to Tempe. And I have to say that I think dealing with a daughter being addicted to anything trumps worrying about the emotional turmoil one’s on again off again significant other might have so I totally got where Ryan was coming from. What I don’t understand is why Tempe hasn’t filed for divorce yet, and until she does I don’t think she can judge anyone else for their irrational behavior.
To put it simply, Tempe’s no Eve Dallas. Instead of coming off as tough and afraid of being made vulnerable like Eve does when she’s occasionally mean-spirited or grumpy, Temperence Brennan comes across as too eager to kick people when they’re down and very catty on top of everything else.
I do think that by the end of this book that maybe Tempe does end up at least realizing that treating people badly can come with negative consequences, particularly if the people you are mean or rude to end up being deranged and potentially sociopaths. One can only hope she learned something from the experience although I admit it’s a little obnoxious that Tempe needed to be buried alive to appreciate what she could have with Ryan.
Regardless, I really want to check out Spider Bones now if only because I want to see if Tempe grows up a bit and ends up with Ryan in a more adult relationship.