It’s funny going back to read a book you haven’t read in a long time. Oceans of Fire was the first book in the Drake Sisters series I read and it’s one of the few books I haven’t gone back to do a re-read of. That’s saying something considering I tend to treat books like old memories picking them up every now and then to relive a scene or a chapter that speaks to me in that moment. And for a lot of reason that hasn’t happened with this portion of the Drake Sisters story.
Ilya and Jolie’s first meeting, finding out more about the Drake sisters, Jackson, the dynamics of a small seaside village, Jonas being treated part of the family instead of a school bully, Ilya and Jolie’s first meeting.
Quote that best sums up the lead (male) character:
The real question is, can you love the real me? Not the perfect person you want me to be, not that image you had of me, but who I really am.
I’ve never hidden the fact that of all the Drake sisters Abbie is my least favourite; a fact that has made doing this re-read and review interesting. Possibly it was because I did this re-read in audiobook format but this time around she was less annoying than I remembered. Abbie still comes across as spoiled and very much views the world as me, me, me, I, I, I but it tones down to an almost bearable level. I can’t say she shows a lot of character development throughout the book as she has quite a few tstl moments and what she does for a living I have no idea (despite popular belief having a PhD in marine biology doesn’t mean you get to live back at home and swim with dolphins whenever you get the urge you still have to do something people will pay you for).
Aleksandr is an interesting character. Trained at a very young age to become an operative it is his work with interpol that brings him to Sea Haven. He is strong, charismatic (aren’t most heroes) and seemingly is still in love with Abbie despite having her return all his letters without having read them. It seems that whilst Abbie was in Russia (doing what I’m still not sure) she met Aleksandr, had a full on affair and ended up somehow helping him to interrogate a suspect in a serial killer case (because obviously the Russian police allow their detectives to bring their girlfriends to help out). After it all goes wrong (huge surprise that) Abbie is taken into custody herself, slapped around a few times and can never ever forgive Aleksandr for the whole thing. Okay when I say never ever it happens quite quickly in book time. The skill in Ms Feehan’s writing means that he actually comes across as loving instead of bordering on stalkerish when he refuses to give up on Abbie and their relationship. In some respects I feel cheated that Abbie didn’t have to work a bit to win back Aleksandr’s trust – she cut him off without any idea of what had happened to him or what he had to do in order to ensure her safety. Oh sure she suspects what he had to do but instead of facing it she decides not to think about it.
Their reunion is set within the background of mystery and intrigue of international crime investigations. Actually, I really wasn’t that interested in the whole Russian mafia using Sea Haven as a port for smuggling arts / jewels storyline. It reads as unbelievable and, well – it kind of interferes with the interesting part of the storyline which is of course… the begining of Ilya and Jolie’s relationship. I had forgotten that it began so soon. The chemistry between them jumps off the page even at this stage. There are glimpses of Jackson and his background, not to mention that Jonas is treated much better in this storyline than the first two novella’s. There is however one huge glaring fault with the storyline – how come none of Abbie’s sisters know about her getting her heart broken? For such a big, loving family they really don’t take much notice about what is going on with each other.
If this is your first Christine Feehan book and you didn’t really enjoy it, then I would definately say – don’t give up on her just yet. You may end up not enjoying her style of writing but I really recommend you give her another go. There aren’t many authors in this world who can write an autistic heroine in a believable and sensitive manner as she has done (it’s in a spinoff book from this series). Oceans of Fire reads very much like a first book of a series and the characters and flow of the story suffer for it. It may however just be that I really don’t like Abbie. But then I don’t like Raven either (the first heroine in the Carpathian series) so maybe it’s something to do with how Ms Feehan sets up her series at the very beginning. You do however need to read this if you want to read the series. If only because you want to see how Ilya and Jolie start…
As an audiobook the story reads well and is handled skillfully by the narrator (much, much better than the first two). She does a good job with the accents and manages to make each voice distinct and realistic. It is however, yet another book that I have had to jump hoops to get in audio format – despite the fact that the later books in the series are easily available through audible.