Once Burned - Jeaniene Frost 3.5 stars

While I am a huge fan of the Night Huntress Series, I haven’t been a big fan of the Night Huntress World Series. The World Series seems to lack much of the humor and badassness that makes the original series so great. Mencheres, Spade and Vlad are awesome side characters, but on their own they loose some of their zest. I think Frost has improved on the World Series with Vlad’s installment though.

Vlad has always been one of my favorite side characters in the series. He’s an arrogant, ruthless SOB and I love his deadpan humor. I especially love his interactions with Cat and Bones. While Vlad remains as arrogant and badass as ever in Once Burned, he lacks his usual humor. There are some funny moments and zingers, but they are too few of them.

His love interest, Leila, was interesting at first, but then she started to bore a bit. As a child Leila had an accident that left her with the ability to shock people in both the literal and metaphorical sense. She’s able to see the past, current and future of anyone she touches and is able draw out the essence of a person by touching objects they touched. Her power was really interesting, but the accident and family drama part of it weren’t handled well. The accident and guilt Leila carried were drawn out for the better part of the book. When everything was finally revealed it was anticlimactic and it just felt stupid that she felt guilt over what happened. Also, the resolution of the guilt happened so quickly it was a blink and you miss it moment. Other than this, I did like Leila and I think she has potential to develop into a better character.

Together Leila and Vlad have great bedroom chemistry…on par with Cat and Bones, so that’s saying something. *wiggles eyebrows* However, I didn’t really get the attraction outside of the bedroom…not on Leila’s part, but on Vlad’s. I didn’t see what he saw in Leila. There was no real build up to their relationship. It was built on insta-lust. Yes, Leila resisted a bit in the beginning, but her resistance lasted like a day or so. For the most part their dialogue and interactions were rather “meh”. There were few moments that distinguished this book from the thousands of other romance novels out there. However, I do think there is potential there as Leila and Vlad come to terms with what happened at the end of this book. I’m glad that their relationship wasn’t settled in this book because that would’ve been a big disappointment.

The mystery part of the book was intriguing. That is part of the reason why this book got bumped to 3.5 from 3 stars. I liked the villain and the extent of his evilness. There is a lot of potential for conflict in the next book, which makes me look forward to seeing what happens next.

Overall, I think this latest installment is an improvement on the Night Huntress World Series. By the way, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the other two. While Mencheres and his wife make a small cameo in this book it’s not crucial to the story.