Only when the darkness falls can you see the light of the stars. For thousands of years, the scribes and singers of the Irin race have existed to protect humanity and guard the gifts of the Forgiven. They have lived in the shadows. They have kept their secrets. But the Irin aren’t the only race with secrets. Ava and Malachi have found each other, but wounds as deep as theirs don’t heal overnight. While the Irin world struggles to correct the power imbalance left by the Rending of the Irina, Malachi and Ava struggle to connect their past with their present. The Fallen may scheme, but Ava has found her power and refuses to be an angel’s pawn. And while Malachi may have forgotten his history, the scribe’s relentless search for answers leads both him and his mate to the heart of the Irin power structure in Vienna, where knowledge is guarded more closely than gold and those with power will do anything to keep it. Malachi and Ava have survived the darkness, but will they ever discover its secrets? A powerful cabal of the Fallen may hold the answers, but to surrender them, it wants the Irin race to finally face their enemies. Both those coming from the outside, and those raging within.
By the end of book two, The Singer, I found myself a bit lost and a lot frustrated. There were a great number of balls in the air and so many crazy loose ends . . . . . I honestly had no idea how everything would settle out in the end. Boy, did things settle!
From the moment The Secret opens, it is non-stop action hurtling you toward the end. Ava and Malachi are still a bit wonky what with the losing all his memories and such and her refusing to use her power but they are working their way back toward normal. Though Ava would be perfectly content to stay hidden away with Malachi there is trouble brewing and if she doesn’t face her issues soon, a lot of good people – both Irin and Irina alike – are going to die. The big bads are on the move toward Vienna, there’s more than one Archangel intensely involved in the outcome of the final showdown and, Ava is closer than ever to finding out who and what she really is.
Turns out, discovering Ava’s origins isn’t just important to her but to her people as a whole. Even the eldest among the Irin and Irina don’t know exactly what Ava is and her power is something that has rarely, if ever been seen. When Ava sings, she projects more than just song and her abilities are as frightening as they are beautiful. When she and Malachi finally right themselves, Ava doesn’t just heal Malachi, she fortifies him. Their shared power is tremendous and something of an inspiration to the younger generations of Irin. If Ava and Malachi can overcome the darkness they have endured then maybe, just maybe the Irina will return.
The Irina are the true highlight of the read. They are some seriously bad ass women and when they decide it is time to return to their rightful place within their world, their return is a spectacle to behold!! Seriously, the scene when their desks are literally pulled by force back into the center of the Vienna library is chilling. The Secret is the Irina’s turn to shine and when those women make their voices heard, even the archangel’s stop and take notice. When the moment comes for the Irin and the Irina to stand side-by-side and defend themselves, they stand not just side-by-side but back-to-back and defend their own. The final, tumultuous battle is ugly and awful but with a little unexpected help from some totally unexpected sources, all works out in the end.
The Bottom Line: Thank you, thank you to everything holy for this book, Elizabeth Hunter!! The Secret is everything I love about Elizabeth Hunter and the crazy, engaging worlds she creates. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out about Ava’s heritage and exactly what she is, I thoroughly enjoyed Malachi and Ava getting back on track but I FREAKING LOVED the reemergence of the Irina. There are so many fascinating, funny, seriously determined, kind, and sexy women among the Irina that is clear Hunter isn’t done with this world. From the elder Irina right on down to the youngest among them, there is a whole series of stories just waiting to be written. Add into the mix, the Irin who are locked, loaded and ready to have their women back and you have a recipe for a really excellent, long-term series.