The dark pieces of vampire rock star Dante Baptiste's past are violently emerging, and it is only a matter of time before the Fallen discover he is the creawdwr they have sought for thousands of years. The destruction he left behind in Oregon threatens to reveal his identity as Fallen Maker and True Blood, exposing the young nightkind to shadowy predators -- mortal and supernatural -- who will do whatever it takes to win his favor...or destroy him.
When beautiful FBI special agent Heather Wallace went AWOL on assignment, she chose irresistible Dante over the shady government forces that now stalk them both. Heather has her own secrets of the past to uncover, but she is also the only one who can hold her nightkind lover together when his dangerous quest for the truth threatens to send him over the edge. And as she and Dante fi ght for their survival, she realizes they must work together to protect their future -- before his mysterious destiny tears them apart....
This is the third installment to Adrian Phoenix's amazing series Maker's Song and just like the rest of the series, Beneath the Skin was fantastic. The characters were intriguing and the story was as complex as ever which is both good and bad (I will explain later). We find that Dante's story is even more messed up than I previously thought and it makes things even more scarier for Dante and those he loves.
We start off a little after where In the Blood ended. The daughter of Rodriguez (the man who got his throat chewed out by Dante, for good reason). She is being debriefed by a creepy dude we only know as Mr. Dion. I hate that we don't get to know more of his story. We get a sense of something from most of the villains in Phoenix's series, but I would've liked to have known more about him. Apparently he has the ability to erase your memory and put in new ones or as he did later in this book, dispose of a useless agent by giving him multiple aneurysms and bursting them. Yeah, That brutal. So while debriefing the poor girl, he asks her questions and she has seen Dante and the other agents involved in the mess the Shadow Branch has started, so he erases her memory.
Then we are introduced to two new agents, Emmett Thibodaux (human) and Merri Goodnight (vampire). I really like these two, they had great chemistry. But again, I would have liked to know more about them. We know Goodnight has something planned when she finds out what Dante did. Well sort of. After she hears about hears the beating of the hearts in the supposed statues, she knows that Dante is more than a vampire. Now she is on the ever growing list of people that want Dante, but fortunately it doesn't seem like she'll do anything bad. Same for Cortini who travels with Dante and Heather after In the Blood, she helps, but still has her own agenda. Speaking of which, her mother has her own agenda within her agenda which leads to one sad ending to this book. But I didn't know what to make of her and that is not including to the really uncomfortable relationship between her and her son. They seem a bit too close for me (Creeeeepy!)
We also get more of Von, who I adore so much. I hope he gets his own book in the future. He is big and sexy, hilarious as hell and always watches out for Dante and everyone around him. Oh that and he scares the hell out of people. When he is involved, vampires cower and show respect, even Dante who is very wild.
Now on to the vampire of the hour, the amazing and disturbed Dante. The Shadow Branch really screwed him up. We found out what happened to Chloe, his adopted sister he protected, but was forced and fooled into killing. Dante is suffering the lose even more since the "lose" of his best friend and just discovered father, Lucien. Dante thinks he is dead and believes the angels are responsible. So with all of this on his shoulders, plus being a puppet for the Shadow Branch, Dante's mental state is dangerous and gruesome for himself and those near him.
But with all that said and going on, I have to say this book was the most complex in the series so far. There are so many plots and subplots, I don't even know how Phoenix herself stays on track with the storyline. I didn't get all that confused due to the fact I sort of read this one slowly. Also reread some and had to go back a few pages to make sure I got certain things right. I love Phoenix because it is obvious she is a smart writer, but Beneath the Skin alone can be split into a couple of books and still have room left over for a spin-off. But it isn't so bad that I put the book down because no matter what, it is still focused, which takes real talent and that is what Phoenix has.
Overall, this is a wonderful addition to the series. The ending was sad and yet good, just one more weight on (or off, depending on the way you look at it) Dante's shoulders. Heather and Dante are inseparable. Heather has balls of steel for taking on Dante's uncontrollable situations and that makes her an even more amazing heroine. Even though Dante has the powers of a vampire and a god, and could pretty much kill anyone no matter what, he still has a heart. Wild and curses like it is going out of style, but he is an amazing male lead and we all love him. Really can't wait for book 4 Etched in Bone coming out February 22nd (Hooray!).
*This book goes to the following challenges: