Saturday, June 12, 2010

Urban Fantasy!

I've recently read four books that fall under the "urban fantasy" label, meaning that they take place in a modern setting but with some kind of magic added -- usually magical creatures but sometimes just magic. And, as in most urban fantasy, there's both a romance and a mystery.

My favorite was Embers, by Laura Bickle, finished during the read-a-thon. The heroine has a pet fire-demon, and can snack on ghosts. The bad guy is using fire magic to mess up Detroit. Anya has to foil his plans (with the help of her side-kicks), while pushing through her relationship issues (which include the pet, because it turns out that having an ever-present fire demon can get inconvenient at times). Anya makes some bad decisions, but she has reasons for them; I don't remember wanting to throw the book against the wall. I'll probably look for others by this author. B

Next was HEART OF STONE (NEGOTIATOR TRILOGY, NO 1), by C.E. Murphy. The heroine is just an average woman, a do-gooder lawyer with a shaky sense of the law but who manages to win some cases anyway , but her client/paramour is a gargoyle who turns to stone by day. Her cop ex-boyfriend suspects stoney of murder, and complications ensue. There were several moments of dumbfoundedness, but mostly the book was OK. (Strange visit to the bad guy's office for no reason whatsoever -- huh? And she takes the gargoyle home to make out, then gets really upset when her roommate asks why she has to make out with this murder suspect in their apartment. Then she buttons her blouse back up.) I won't look for the rest, but I might pick them up if the library flashes them at me. B-

Stolen: A Novel, by Kelly Armstrong, is part of a series about werewolves and vampires and stuff (Women of the Otherworld). The mystery is more an escape attempt. Elena, the arrogant werewolf who continuously brags about her invulnerably, only pausing as she gets beat up. injured, or kidnapped by bad guys, spends most of the book as part of the menagerie of a rich guy fascinated with otherworld type creatures. I can't really be fair to the book because I was so offended by the heroine leaving the little witch girl behind when escaping the bad guy's clutches. Not so much that she took her chance to escape (after sending the child away from the best chance at a get away) but that she then spent days rolling in the sack with her lover before remembering the other victims. INCLUDING THE KID. So Elena the werewolf is on my coal-for-Christmas list. I'll avoid other books by this author, given how incompatible we are right now, although she'd be fine for people with different hang-ups. C

Finally, Dead To Me by Anton Strout has a rookie paranormal beat cop battling evil cultists.

The main problem was the cliches rampaging through the story. The cops battle paperwork and red tape, they play good-cop/bad-cop, etc. It all felt like it came from TV and movie cop shows. The protagonist fell in love with every female of child-bearing age he met (all two of them), regardless of any characterizations. One of them was dead -- a ghost whom he pretended to help without actually doing anything for her. Nothing felt fresh to me. I don't want to read more, even though I picked up the sequel when I got this book. I'll hand them on to people whose humor bone resonates with the author, because I think it was supposed to feel lighthearted and fun, but I just gazed dully at the text. D


Christine said...

Hmm. A friend recently passed Embers on to me, but I haven't felt compelled to pick it up yet. I'll have to consider reading it soon since as it looks like you liked it, too.

Have you read the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs or the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews? Those are my favorite UF series these days.

Beth said...

I really like Patricia Briggs, but I haven't tried Ilona Andrews. You are about the third rec, so maybe it's time.