Friday, October 21, 2011

Solid Standard: Grave Dance

Cover for GRAVE DANCEKalayna Price's Grave Dance provides the second installment of the Alex Craft saga.  It's an urban fantasy series that is competently written but for me reads as too much paint-by-numbers without anything that really resonates with me.  That's probably a personal thing for me; someone who identifies more with Alex probably gets a lot more out of these books than me.

There's the woman with nifty, unorthodox powers who doesn't understand all that she is capable of (Alex). She has stalwart friends that she alternately helps and gets help from; I do like that Alex gets to help her friends instead of only calling on them for their specialized aid.  She has a mysterious family background that provides conflict and mystery.  At least two men are fixated on her, and she can't quite choose between them.  Both have major drawbacks -- one is the sworn servant of an enemy, the other is Death, who is sexy but mostly incorporeal.  To solve her problems she needs to learn to use her powers in new and flashy ways, ways that are mostly consistent with the way magic is painted but still surprising.  It's all done fairly well, with an interesting world twist (faeries came out a while ago, and one result was new patches of land appearing), but nothing really grabbed me to make me insist on reading farther.  I guess the fact that I remember more about the plot than the themes is a sign that I wasn't deeply hooked.

If the library puts the next one out on the grab-me shelves I'll probably pick it up, but I won't actively look for it.  But if I were in the mood for a new urban fantasy, I wouldn't mind grabbing one of Price's books.

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