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The Lost Saint - Bree Despain Good but not as enjoyable as the first, 3.5 stars

Earlier this year, I devoured Bree Despain's debut novel, THE DARK DIVINE, in one sitting and loved it. While I enjoyed THE LOST SAINT, it didn't quite live up to its predecessor.

Grace made the ultimate sacrifice to save Daniel's soul and lost herself to the werewolf curse. Ten months later, she and Daniel are still together, but Grace's family is falling apart. After Grace receives a cryptic phone call from her brother, she knows what she must do: she must harness her new powers to find Jude and bring him home. When Daniel and her father tell her to pull back, she befriends a newcomer, Talbot, who promises he can help her. As secrets push Grace and Daniel apart, the stakes become higher when an old threat returns and puts everyone at risk.

For those looking for more action and a darker tone than the first novel, THE LOST SAINT will hit the spot. The writing remains clear and quickly readable, and the darker plot touches on issues like what motivates our behavior. The action-based plot moves things along steadily, especially toward the end. Grace grows as a character, even though she faces some significant low points, and the mythology is expanded to show the reader how the wolf "claims" those with the curse. New characters like Talbot and a host of demons mix things up, and previous ones, like Gabriel and April, take on more important roles.

Though many will enjoy the fast pace and action, I missed the previous focus on character development and romance. The plot twists felt too predictable after the author dropped certain hints, such as who would be the villain(s). Portions of the plot also felt like a mishmash of so many other werewolf and paranormal books I've read lately; other than the religion and family aspects, this installment didn't feel nearly as unique as the first. While the religious and moral lessons in the first book didn't come across as preachy, things were more heavy-handed this time, making it feel less like a book for a general audience. The novel also closed on a significant cliffhanger, which was frustrating.

Despite these qualms, I'm still very impressed with Despain's writing, and I'm looking forward to what the next installment in the series will bring for Grace, Daniel, and the people that surround them.