Secret McQueen Series: Review

Sierra Dean's Secret McQueen series: Review

I first got curious about this series after the VBC Alpha Challenge. I was championing Ethan Sullivan on behalf of the Wenches, and he was up against Secret McQueen in the first round (Ethan won!). So I put these on my list. I was curious about the girl with the unreal name who made it to the Alpha Challenge. 

Click through to see what I thought of the series!


This review will contain spoilers.







Despite a few tropes that annoy me, I actually enjoyed the gateway book. The characters were interesting, the story (while a little predictable) was engaging enough to keep me reading to the end, and I liked Secret herself (silly name and all) for the most part.

Secret McQueen, with the theatrical name and the shady lineage, is the main character of these books. She's an interesting heroine. We read a lot of UF/PNR about main characters torn between two worlds, but not all of them paint a very convincing picture of the protagonist torn between (If we really get down to it) three worlds. She's half werewolf, half vampire, and yet desperately clings to threads of humanity. She's been raised by her grandmother, who dabbles in magic (we find out that her crazy were-mother abandoned her)


I instantly liked most of the people in her life: Keaty, Mercedes, uptight Holden, Sig, the very awesome Calliope. They were all interesting in their own way, and I wanted to know more about them.


Enter the unnecessary complications. Secret is "soul bonded" to a werewolf king. Yay. I don't like the whole predestined mate thing that happens in this genre, as I've mentioned before, but I will say there was an interesting twist to this which made me not put the book aside instantly. She's soul bonded to the king AND his second... because those two were soul bonded to each other from way before (this was a problem they had anticipated). Still not my favorite thing about this, and clearly she loves only one of them on her own. But I kept reading. The polyamorous element was interesting to me, for now. And the werewolves were a little different than those I have come across in the past. (Read that as not long/shaggy haired, in plaid and aggressive cavemen.)


The weres; I didn't really care much for Lucas. I mean, he was pretty and sexy and saying all the right things, but, as the reader, I just could not connect to his character. Desmond and Dominick on the other hand, I love. We don't see much of Dominick. But Desmond, more please! I loved him and wanted to read much, much more of the sexy werewolf. (I will be the first to admit I don't usually favor lycanthropes in UF/PNR, but this has been the second series in which I liked one this much, Immortals After Dark being the first.)


The whole fiasco with her being "soul bonded" to both Lucas and Desmond was a pretty forced situation. I thought it was a good opportunity to maybe show the whole predestined thing WASN'T written in stone... and she would pick a guy that she loved. But man... it is nothing but a huge steaming pile of garbage. Honestly, Secret's love life is painful and annoying to read. It actually manages to detract from the rest of the story lines. 
Pretty much how I felt about
her love life.
It felt kind of unrealistic how complacent the three of them are about the whole thing. And I was incredulous at how NOT curious Secret was about the hows and whys of it all. I mean, Private Investigator? Smart girl who should know better? And no questions? Ohhkaaayyy... If you say so.

There's a villain from her past who is sending lackeys after her in the first book. And I felt like her confrontations with them gave the reader a good feel of snarky, sassy, strong, Secret. The one who fought tooth and claw for each second of her life. I liked it. 


The mystery, I felt, was a little predictable. But executed in a way I found fun to read. It reminded me of some of my fave old stories (like Blade). And I felt, since it was the first book in the series, like it was a good build up for things to come.


The cliffhanger at the end had me sitting up and going "WTF?!" I didn't see that coming! And that alone was worth picking up the next book.



The second book had a way more interesting mystery, and I found myself wishing there was no romance in the series so I wouldn't be distracted by the absurdity of it all. *spoiler* Holden, her pal and warden, is her next target as we found out at the end of the first book.

Desmond, while lovely, was kinda... lying down and taking what he could get, so to speak, while still following Lucas' orders. Lucas... ugh... I just started not liking him at ALL in this book.  It drove me nuts that, again, not only was no one explaining ANYTHING about the werewolf world to her, or her role in it, but SHE wasn't actively trying to find out everything she could about it! It was completely at odds with the Secret the author was trying to sell. ANY person with half a brain would be curious about what the hell was going on in their own lives and not trust anyone else telling them to just go with it. Not Secret... apparently she likes being surprised by random facts people choose to share with her every now and then. 


Brigit was a fun new addition to the series, an almost victim from the first book who Secret saved from a vamp (but got caught and turned anyway). She's so different from Secret that it's fun reading their interactions. Sig was by far one of the most fascinating characters in the series... but not much seems to be said or done about all the mystery surrounding him for now.


The worst (and weirdest) thing in this installment, was Holden creeping into her mind while she's having sex with someone else. I liked Holden initially, but this was so... violating. And creepy. I cannot stand characters that have known the heroine forever but SUDDENLY show romantic interest in her when other men show up in her life *COUGH SAM COUGH* and intruding on someone's thoughts while they're having sex... just... ew.




On to bitching about Lucas. I could do it forever. Sorry.

"Say it," I whispered.

"Because I love you."

After what felt like an eternity, I said, "I forgive you." Then I hung up.

This raised a few red flags for me, forgiving someone for having you kidnapped because he says he loves you... yeah... I've read that story before. No thank you. Clearly, I was going to hate the Lucas/Secret aspect of the story more as the series progressed.

The rest of the story was fun and well paced, although I found the revelation in the end *spoiler* that Secret would be replacing one of the members on the Vampire Tribunal a bit ridiculous given their disdain and treatment of her in the past. And as Sig knows, a half-breed on the council? Yeah.. that'll go down well. But I was okay with Secret moving up in the vamp world.


Ah the third book. Here it goes. I can deal with Lucas Rain being a total asshole. I never liked him. So I'm not surprised by HIS shitty behavior. What I CANNOT STAND is Secret LITERALLY lying down and taking it! W-T-F!? The FORCED mating (and not telling her the consequences of it) and the ridiculous proposal! (Where he made sure she couldn't say no.) ANY woman with ANY self respect, metaphysical BULLSHIT be damned, would walk over to him and slug him! 

If it weren't for all the Lucas related bullshit I would have LOVED this book. This is the first time I thought the mystery wasn't kinda predictable. Her ex is accused of murder (and we get to know more about her life pre- werewolf and tribunal drama) and she has to find out if he actually did it or not.  Scary lapses in memory, eerie visits to a college campus, and finding out what a douche her ex was, everything was interesting. But the whole Lucas angle completely ruined anything I might have loved about the story. By all accounts, from his actions, Lucas is a classic villain! Yet... he isn't one in this series... not really. He constantly manipulates both Secret and Desmond, but that's okay guys! It's because he's the Alpha! Yeah... screw that. 
For real.
The Demon story line was dark, creepy and awesome. But her agreeing to marry that giant ass (under pressure) ruined everything for me. And to reward that shitty behavior by having sex with him right after... GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK. 

Pretty much the only male character with whom she interacts more than once that she doesn't have romantic feelings for is gay. What does that tell you about her? Sigh. Deep Dark Secret had SUCH potential. I really did enjoy Sierra Dean's colorful storytelling that had nothing to do with romance. And her humor.

 "The next night I awoke feeling like I had been skull fucked by something with a monstrous three-pronged penis that leaked acid. I felt awesome."

But, after this book, the only thing that could make the series improve for me was Secret basically having to murder Lucas for any feeble reason she could pull out of her ass, take over as Alpha and rule with Desmond by her side. But no such luck. 

Keeping Secret has the aftermath of the doomed wedding. Instead of being relieved the giant asshole Lucas ditched her at altar, she is upset and pissed and FINALLY swears him off. But obviously... is eventually totally civil to him. Even does him a solid in Grave Secret. We do get to find out a lot more about Secret, her past, and family members she didn't even know about. Even her first shift into wolf form since she was a toddler. Honestly, I would have enjoyed it, but sometimes a story gets so tainted by the protagonist's stupidity concerning a certain aspect of her life, that it spoils the rest of the series. Which is exactly what happened here. 

In Grave Secret, the fifth book, and last installment I read, she goes a step further into muddling her already murky love life. ****SPOILER**** SHE HAS SEX WITH HOLDEN THE VAMPIRE (you know, the guy who couldn't be bothered making a move till the two weres showed up, and then was all "I MUST HAVE YOU") WHILE THE MAN SHE CLAIMS TO LOVE IS IN WOLF FORM (because he is in the fae realm and cannot control the shift, not to mention is there to help her) AND OUTSIDE THE FUCKING DOOR IN THE NEXT ROOM. She has sex with Holden... while in complete control of her senses mind you. While the dude she has claimed to love for the past few books (and who took a bullet for her) is in forced wolf form outside the door. I don't know how many ways I can put it in.. it doesn't make it better. Basically... this is where I wrote off ANY real interest I had in the story. I just wanted Secret to make ONE smart decision in her personal life... just one. After making it through 4 books, it didn't seem like too much to ask for.




While the fae realm in the 5th book was intriguing, I just did not like or understand any of Secret's decisions concerning her private life. She had a lot of potential. And there were moments where I really wanted to root for her. But her sheer stupidity when it came to her love and sex life left me speechless. Not only because she's fucking up her own life, but also her disregard for other people's feelings sometimes. I get damaged heroines like Chess (from Downside Ghosts) and Sabina Kane (From the Sabina Kane series)... I love them and root for them. Secret... is not one of them.

I found myself not caring if a bus happened to fall on our heroine and kill her by the end. So the huge twist **spoiler** with her becoming human (for all of five minutes) fell flat. The only character I liked completely gets offed, and while I was upset... it was a relief that one of my few reasons for liking the books was gone so I wouldn't have to read the next one. 

Overall :

I found all the random love interests, "sexy" interludes with ALL of them throughout the series and the heroine's stupidity and complacency when it came to this one aspect of her life reminiscent of the abhorrent Southern Vampire Mysteries. A douche who gets away with anything because he claims to love her, a man who shows interest after years of knowing her the second someone else shows up to date her, and basically other stuff that I now try to stay away from in books... except the Secret McQueen books actually have interesting stories outside of the disaster that is her love life and isn't preachy (in MY opinion) like the aforementioned series. 


I rate Secret's romantic entanglements, messy sex life and questionable decision making in her "love" life:


The rest of the story line I actually enjoyed:




(I also feel the need to say, after getting to know Secret and sometimes liking her despite her shitty decisions in her love life, there is not a chance in hell she could take Ethan in any sort of fight... ever.)

Comments

  1. Haha I love you little disclaimer about Ethan. Loved your review as usual Zee. Entertaining and one series I'm going to steer clear of.

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    Replies
    1. Hehe thanks Ange :) I did have to clarify where I thought Ethan stood after getting to know Secret pretty well! Lol. Glad you enjoyed the review!

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  2. Awesome review!! I love it when you get right down to the point. ;)

    OMG her love life is the reason I gave up the idea of reading these. I did a little research before making my choice and I'm so HAPPY I went with SABINA KANE and not this one. Thanks for proving my gut feeling was right!!

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    Replies
    1. Hehe I do tend to rant a lot don't I?

      Smart choice! Her love life was PAINFUL to read honestly.. it made me cringe so many times. I can't believe I read these!

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  3. Thank you for reading these books and saving me from all the pain of reading further in the series. I thought about trying out book #2, but your recaps from the later books sound truly awful. I feel like I owe you a fruit basket or something for all your trouble.

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