Author: Rob Thurman
Series: n/a, but this author is also the author of the Cal Leandros series and the Trick of the Light series
Summary: (my words, not cover copy)
Stefan Korsak lost his little brother ten years ago. Rather, Lukas was taken from him and his family. And ever since, Stefan has been looking for him. To pay for that looking, Stefan took up the family business--literally, the family, because his father is a Russian mafia boss.
Stefan thought finding Lukas was the hard part, but he soon discovers that by delving into the shadows, things get darker and more complicated instead of simpler. Brainwashed, trained, and genetically manipulated, the boy who calls himself Michael is in his place. And his maker will stop at nothing to reclaim him--or destroy him.
The more Stefan learns and the closer he gets to his brother, the bleaker the outlook becomes. Can the twisted become untwisted--can the truth finally come out? Or will Stefan not even live long enough to find out...
This is, without a doubt, the best book I've read by Rob Thurman. I've been a fan of her Cal and Niko series for quite awhile. Those books are always a great read, making my top three urban fantasy series. But truly, in this book I really think she nailed it.
One thing Thurman can do is write the relationship of brothers--brothers who are close. I went into this knowing that, but while there is a definite hearkening to Cal and Niko, Stefan and Michael's dynamic definitely becomes completely their own as the story comes on. Stefan cares, so fiercely, and his caring reminds me of my own love and relationship with my brother. Not everyone will have that--siblings don't always--but it is great to see it.
The plot on this is solid, in my eyes. It's action-packed, but it doesn't lose characterization at all despite all that action. There's sarcasm, there's wit, there's clever men with guns. There's a very scrummy Stefan (with his long dark hair and scar) and the paler and prettier Misha. There's RUSSIANS, dude! Always a big plus to me. There's plot twists, emotional punches, and plenty of hurt to go around. There's losing your faith only to find it again only by looking at someone you love.
There aren't many real hang ups on the explanation front, at least for me. Thurman doesn't make the mistake of going too in-depth with the science of it, but it ends up being quite plausible and believable--science fiction that is literally just barely beyond the scope of what we can actually do, if not already past it (if you're a conspiracy theorist).
Here's to hoping that Thurman can pull another book just this strong out of her hat again!
Rating: 8 / 10
Other: Read it? Going to read it? Let me know what you think.