Consumed begins a mere week after the events of Possessed. Rayne is a bit wobbly after All Of That Spoilery Stuff Went Down, and she's starting to think that a romance might not be in the cards with [REDACTED].
So, even though she pretty much Saved the World a week ago, things aren't that great.
And they're about to get even not greater.
Because Mrs. Driver, the manager of Morton's Keep, leaves suddenly. And there's something... not right... about the new manager who steps in.
Like I said before:
Barbara Michaels + The Dark is Rising = These Books
Which, obviously, is math that I can support. Gothic atmosphere, Old Traditions Made Significant, romance, questing and mystery = WOO!
Consumed has the same muffled feel as Possessed, and while I, as the reader, never had any doubts as to who the villain was, I also never got frustrated with the characters for not confronting The Badness sooner. It worked.
Rather than wandering around wondering if the new manager is Bad News, or wondering if the Evil has returned, they all put blinders on and ignore the problem. Underneath, they all know It Is Happening Again, but they don't want to acknowledge it. As I said, though, it works*.
It won't be for everyone: It's super atmospheric and a lot does happen, but some will find it slow-moving, and the creeping creepiness won't be overt enough for others:
But something had spooked the birds. A dove flew upward—the others flapped after it, circling.
And just for a second, Rayne could see a huge shape in the birds as the flew upward, a shape as tall as the tower itself. A head, shoulders—two arms held wide.
Fear filled her.
Then joy, somehow more terrifying than the fear.
The birds settled back on the table to feed.
I loved it. I loved the slow build; I loved the atmosphere; I continued to love Rayne and her not-your-stereotypical-heroine ways; I loved that her reactions to the situation always seemed completely reasonable and in keeping with her character; I loved her love of the country, the quiet and the space and the green; I loved her relationships with the secondary characters; I loved that the dialogue was always believable; I loved the fire dancing; I loved the climax of the action; I loved everything**.
Even though I appreciate the fact that this is a duet, and not a series that will grind on and on and on, I'm sad that I've finished it.
Then again, there's always re-reading! (And I will.)
*I finally read the last Emily of New Moon book, so I'll be back on the italics train for a while. Sorry in advance.
**Except for the first few pages, which were a bit choppy and Last Time, on Morton's Keep-ish, but once the story got rolling, all was well.
Book source: ILLed through my library.