Since the In Death Challenge is commencing shortly, I’m going to note that this review contains spoilers for Eve & Roarke’s relationship. Although I imagine almost everyone has read it, there may be some who have not.
Glory In Death
Book 2 in the In Death series, this book advances Eve & Roarke’s relationship. We see more into Eve’s childhood, as her nightmares continue to haunt her. We also learn a little more about Roarke’s childhood as well.
What was great: The subtleties with which Robb writes Roarke’s emotions. On the surface, he’s loving to Eve, nurturing, definitely the more demonstrative of the two. However, Robb’s narrative reveals little nuances that show the depth of his emotions, how scared he is in this relationship that he might lose Eve at some point. Case in point: Roarke presents Eve with a big-ass diamond necklace. Because she can’t handle the overt commitment that it implies, she argues with him about it. Roarke then issues an ultimatum to her about their relationship. Eve still isn’t ready to face her past, or to open herself up that much, so she leaves. Roarke's reactions are so subtle, yet perfect.
What else? The scene where Eve finally says “I love you” to Roarke. Wow. The way that she broke down was so realistic. And his reactions to her were done perfectly. His insistence, his hands shaking, his immense relief.
This book showed tremendous growth in Eve. Although she is still a loner, we see a little more of her relationship with others: Roarke, Mavis, Feeney, even Whitney. Love that she wears the diamond, even though she keeps it inside her shirt, she has to acknowledge her feelings for Roarke by wearing it.
As for the suspense in this one, the whodunnit was fairly obvious to me early on, although I did wonder about a few others. I think that setting the newness and fragility of the relationship between Eve and Roarke (and even Eve and others) against the grimness and crudity of the murders is the point, much more than keeping the reader guessing the villain.
Immortal in Death
I consider this one to be Eve’s growing up book. I felt it even more after I read on Robb’s website that this was only intended to be a 3-book series. That explained a lot of the growth I saw in Eve. She reaches out and deepens her relationships with her friends – in fact realizes that she has friends. When Mavis looks to be the prime suspect in a murder, Eve digs deep in order to clear her name. Her friendship with Mavis deepens in this book, and she opens herself to new relationships with people, such as Dr. Mira and Nadine. Even Peabody. Both Dr. Mira and Nadine move from being acquaintances that Eve strives to keep at a distance to friends, and though Eve still tries to be a loner, she has more difficulty doing so. Much of this comes because she is beginning to come to terms with her childhood – she remembers all of it in this book. We also learn more of Roarke’s childhood, and bits of what has made him the man that he is.
As Eve remembers her childhood (which is not for the faint of heart, I might add), it’s like the lock on her emotions begins to come undone. While she can’t change her basic personality, we see more humor from her, more emotional ties, and more caring.
One scene I really liked was when Eve and Mavis visit Leonardo for the first time, and he’s designing the wedding dress, and Eve admits to herself that she really wants it. Wants to wear that dress more than anything. It’s just so out of character, and such an innately female reaction that it reconnects the reader with Eve and her femininity. It makes her seem more human, with vulnerabilities and hopes, dreams, and desires, even as she strives to deny that part of herself.
Roarke, as always, completely understands her. Gets her. Knows what she needs. Knows when to back off and when to push. I get such a kick out of him calling her “Lieutenant.” My heart broke when learning his back story with Summerset’s daughter. The guilt Roarke carries with him. I liked the honest reaction he displayed by being afraid to make love with Eve after her complete revelation about her past.
The suspense in this one, while once again not totally compelling in comparison to Eve and her character study, was well done, although once again, I guessed the whodunnit.
A few things I find interesting in these books are the juxtaposition in the relationship – Roarke is the nurturing one, the one unafraid to say “I love you,” the one unwilling to let Eve give up on herself or the relationship. He’s the talker.
Robb recognizes that to make Eve a static character would turn readers against her. Eve grows, learns, changes, and acknowledges. All without changing her basic personality.
Something else I find fascinating is that while much of the procedural discussions revolve around doing things by the book, Eve finds it easier and easier to use Roarke and his information in ways that can’t possibly be admissible in court. This lends a hint of moral ambiguity to me that makes the books more interesting.