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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Into the Fire by Dana Fraedrich is the second book in the Broken Gears series. Lenore anxiously anticipates the upcoming expedition with her Springhaven Museum colleagues, but it's not long before the journey takes a turn that no one could have predicted. Lenore's feelings for Rook haven't changed, but neither have the circumstances of why they can't be together. This doesn't stop the feeling that lately something seems to be changing. His oath to her allows him to always sense when she's in danger, but this only seems to add to the problems. Meanwhile, Rook's search for answers appears to be leading him in an unexpected direction. As the danger surrounding Lenore keeps growing, Rook comes up with a new plan as several twists are thrown in their way.
Nearly every relationship in this book can be summed up in one word: complicated. There is a definite love triangle at the heart of the story, but that's not what makes it all so complicated. Lenore is hiding in this new identity, but her attachment to Rook is growing. However, she's already committed to Eamon and her feelings for him are also growing. That's not even including the complication of both men having an oath to her which renders Rook unable to pursue a relationship with her and keeps Eamon honest with her. Then there's the relationship between Rook and Eamon who have a constant tension and often make snide comments toward each other. This makes their disdain for each other clear, but they also seem to care about each other to a slight degree. Probably one of the most complicated love triangles ever read. Kieran stands out, and not just because he's the vampire of the group. He's hiding away from society, but he's also a valued member of this group that protects him. He acts as a protector of Lenore, maintaining a brotherly relationship to her, while also feeding on her blood.
Dana Fraedrich has a vast eye for details and a flawless knack with complex relationships. This world is primarily steampunk, but traces of fantasy and paranormal are in the background, staying in the shadows as these characters are forced to hide certain aspects of their lives. Lenore is often judged for her status, age, and for being a woman, but she doesn't let the world define her. She uses it to create a mask to hide behind, but this doesn't take away from her brazen, opinionated, and spunky personality. Into the Fire is a riveting adventure that will hook you from page one, with a strong-willed heroine, complex characters, romance, and complicated relationships.