There is something so seductive and alluring to be found with the Rune Alexander series. Perhaps it's the characters or the gory, dark version of Ohio, or the fact that Laken Cane isn't afraid to gloss over bits of her storytelling. Bad things happen to the good guys in her books, the good guy doesn't always win and that's a nice change of pace from the hordes of other books in the urban fantasy genre where the good guys kick ass and win every time. Rune and her Crew have experienced their fair share of losses over these past two books and I love the fact that they grieve, yet they do so while fighting. The bad shit never goes away; it gets bigger, badder, and meaner and this book showcases that perfectly.
In this installment, not only does Shiv Crew have a fight on their hands with zombies seemingly coming from just about everywhere, but there's a witch - a very powerful one - at the center of it all. There are regular zombies and there are zombies affected with magic. Magic so huge, it's crossed over to afflicting Others as well. Prior to this occasion, Others had an immunity to the zombie virus and Rune and Crew have to figure out who and what is creating this mini zombie apocalypse.
Rune gets her ass kicked - hard - in this installment. Not only is she battling the zombies and the everyday creatures she and Shiv Crew face, but she's also battling with herself. She is slowly but surely coming in to new powers, but with no knowledge of the realm of her powers and zero guidance of what her powers encompass, she's essentially flying blind. She's trying to save the world and her Crew at the same time. Her decisions are made rashly; without any education of what happens when she saves people in her special way, she's unknowingly connecting herself to those she saves. Some decisions work out well, others not so much. There's loss involved and Rune, who already beats herself up enough, places all blame squarely on her own shoulders. She's got quite a burden to bear at this point and it's oftentimes quite depressing to read about Rune and her struggles.
Despite being in the dark about what and who she is, a tiny bit of light is shown to her about her origins. Not enough to grasp what she is becoming, but enough to know to be a little bit afraid. As far as my other favorites in this series, Gunnar didn't disappoint and surprised me on several occasions. Berserker was also quite surprising. I like the direction he and Rune are taking but I honestly fear for both of them. Perhaps one screwed up person getting together with another screwed up person is enough to cancel out the screwiness, but I doubt it.
Strange Trouble was by far the bloodiest, darkest, and the most emotional of the series thus far. I would like to at least hope some brightness is coming Shiv Crew's way but true to the tone of this series, I doubt it will be any time soon. As with the previous books in this series, I also recommend this one for those who prefer urban fantasy to be dark, dirty, and as non-fluffy as it gets. ~Meigan from Goodreads
Thank you for the amazing review, Meigan! I'm so glad you're addicted :) <3