Friday, February 4, 2011

By the Numbers: Kalayna Price


Urban fantasy books tend to follow a formula -- girl with special powers lives a bit on the edge with the help of her quirky friends, gets in over her head, has at least two possible boy friends, also with special powers, but doesn't commit to one by the end of the first book.  I think Patricia Briggs even talks about her publishers specifying bits of this.  Of course, there are exceptions (I'm looking at you, Harry Connolly, and where is your next book, eh?) but that's the basic pattern.

Kalayna Price hits all the notes with Grave Witch (Alex Craft, Book 1), and it makes for a fun, swift read that delivers what it promises.  Alex Craft is that rare type of witch who can speak with shades and sometimes ghosts (there's a difference, and it matters).  There's a chance that shades will be allowed to speak on the witness stand, which would make for a lot more contracts for her, but in the meantime she's living a hand-to-mouth existence, glad that the faerie who is her landlord sometimes gives her some extra time with the rent.  Death drops by sometimes for coffee, as he has since she was a kid, but she's still shocked the day he pushes her out of the way of a bullet.  And the new cop with long blond hair didn't see it, so he thinks she set the whole thing up.  Oh, and he seems to think she's hot, too.

OK, plot, now go!  Mix in a secret dad with secrets and a political weak spot, a missing best friend, evil types with grandiose plans involving murders and eclipses, and Price keeps things ticking along until the last page.  Nothing soul-stirring, but a fun way to avoid my run on a drizzly Sunday afternoon.  B-

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