While a brutal competition of America’s heroes is held in the United States, Elizabeth Forter is on a personal mission to destroy the Mayor of New York City. But when she’s caught red-handed by a man who kills for a living, her enmity rapidly turns to fear. Daniil Kozar isn’t a man to trifle with, and Elizabeth is forced to strike a deal with the mafia king. Her every action is watched, and she needs to decide how to handle the gun-toting criminal–and his seductive charm. Daniil may be the devil her father warned about. Or he may be the sensual awakening Elizabeth never knew she needed. Somewhere, Elizabeth’s dad is screaming a prayer…
I’m always willing to try something new and when I kept seeing Obsidian Liquor splashed all over the blogs I follow and Facebook, I knew it was something I needed to check out. Oh, how I wish this read had gone far better than it did for me. Here’s the skinny:
The Plot: I’m on board with the whole gathering a security firms for a little friendly competition to help a charity. I liked that whole idea behind this as it allowed the author to introduce the various firms and some of the players from each group. On the heels of the competition is a secondary (co-main???) plot involving reporter Elizabeth Forter and her unrelenting desire to take down the Donovan family and prove that Ember Lerrus isn’t actually dating Cole Donovan and Brent Terrance (yes, both of them!) but is, in fact, dating Grigori Kozar, son of the Russian mafia boss, Daniil Kozar. Finally, mixed in with plot numbers one and two is a third plot line involving a relationship between Elizabeth and Daniil. Yeah, you read this correctly, ALL of this is going on in this read and it is a lot to take in. For being a first in a series and relatively short read, this is really way too much to throw at the reader.
The characters: From the chapter one right on through to the end, this book is overflowing with characters. I actually checked a couple of times to be sure this really is the first book in the series because of the number of characters in this read. Only a few of the characters are dealt with in any great amount of detail which makes the bevy of additional characters rather pointless. Yes, I know several characters should be introduced at the beginning of a new series and I am generally alright with that as long as the author gives me enough information about each to make them real. This didn’t happen here and it really felt a lot like name dropping than actual character introduction and development.
While I’m on the subject of characters . . . . I don’t have to like all the characters in a read. In fact, if an author is doing his/her job then there will be at least a baddie or two I’m not supposed to like. I don’t think that should be the case where one of the main characters is concerned. Elizabeth Forter is a wholly unlikable character whose determination to bring down the Donovan family and ruin the lives of several people has obliterated her humanity. I understand and appreciate she is trying to do her job but her relentless pursuit of the Donovan family has crossed the line from job to vendetta and she is willing to do anything to get her story. Oh, I know she does the right thing in the end but by that time, the impression she has left is really beyond repair or salvation.
Did I like anything about this read? Yes, Obsidian Liquor isn’t all bad and there were a few moments I found myself enjoying the moment. Most of the moments involved Daniil and his security boys. Yes, the mafia boss is by far the most interesting part of this read and even when he’s being all scary, I’m the mafia boss, he’s still delightful. His security guys are equally delightful and though they are meant to be a wall of scary, they are actually kind of cool and even considerate from time to time.
The Bottom Line: From time to time, I find myself on the exact opposite end of the star rating spectrum and this is one of those times. I read this book cover to cover and constantly felt off kilter, like something was missing. I kept going assuming that missing something was going to be provided yet it never came leaving me with a wholly dissatisfied feeling. First in a series reads are often hard to pull together successfully and this one fell into the unsuccessful category for me. For just 175 pages, there is a lot of plot lines going on and none of them ever seem to be dealt with completely. I am assuming some of the unanswered questions will be dealt with in later installments of the series. There are way too many characters who are only vaguely introduced and/or explained, too many unexplained or glossed over elements (the Obsidian Liquor for example), and several completely unlikeable characters including, Elizabeth Forter and Ember. I saw a lot of potential in this book based on the synopsis and the large number of people promoting the book but the reality of the read did not at all live up to expectations for me. Simply put, Obsidian Liquor is a prime example of more being bitten off than can be chewed.