So I'm now 25 books into the In Death series and I thought I'd take a moment to do a sort of overall series review. I'm not always great about doing individual reviews on books unless something stood out as either spectacular or fell spectacularly short. If things fall in between, or if, like now I'm reading a whole bunch of series books back to back it often falls in the cracks of my reviewing purview. However, I am now hip deep in this series, of which there are so many books that I've been at it nearly a whole month and thought I'd give some overall impressions about it and share the good, the bad, and whatever else happens. So yes, there will be spoilers up to book 25, Creation in Death.
Overall I find this is a great series for back to back reads. As with any series there is some mild repetition, some off-putting quirks, and some descriptive phrases I wish the author would quickly and quietly forget. Mostly though, the back-to-back showcases this series great strength which is the subtle and believable growth of the main characters, mostly Eve, but also the regular supporting cast as well. There are some great character moments in nearly all the books so that even when the main story or villains don't interest me much the book can still come out a winner. I really enjoy Eve's growth throughout the books and love how opening herself in one way seems to create all these small openings in others. I love how Eve appears on the surface, and certainly in the first few books, to be cold and closed off which we discover later is not the case at all. I also love how she is continually puzzled and embarrassed when she finds she genuinely cares about someone and when someone genuinely cares about her. Her bafflement with Roarke's gift giving is vastly amusing to me (and to him as well). That initial relationship between her and Roarke started off being rather cliched and ran amazingly fast for me, but later books flesh out his character and their relationship so well that it was only a slight bump in the road for me.
Throughout the series I've grown to love almost all the supporting characters. They are myriad although they each seem to be individuals and retain their own characteristics and personalities throughout, which is wonderful. The large supporting cast never seems superfluous or unnecessary, rather they all seem bits and pieces of the whole and I never get the feeling from them that they walk on, say their lines, and are done. A wonderful feat and Ms. Roberts should really be applauded for creating such real, complicated world full of real, complicated people.
Speaking of the world, I find the futuristic setting to be more of a distraction than anything. The world building is subtle, which I can appreciate, but it also doesn't feel as if it adds anything to the books. These people, the work they do, could just as easily have been set in the here and now. It's a minor quibble.
Mostly, these books just work for me. I adore Eve and her character and her journey are more than enough for me to keep reading the books. The minor frustrations, the few things that don't work for me are smoothed over by my ultimate desire to see her story to the end, to appreciate the growth and the growing pains. I also love the underlying themes of making your own families and overcoming and becoming more than what your beginnings try to force you to be. Obviously if I've stuck out 25 books I'm invested in the outcomes. I think there is enough in these books for fans of police procedurals and also enough for people who may want to dip their toes into romance without going whole hog. Neither element is off putting to me and so I pretty much love the whole package. I'm very much looking forward to what's in store for these characters.