by Jacqueline Carey
Hardcover, 424 pg
Roc Hardcover, 2013
I quite enjoyed Carey’s UF debut, the first Agent of Hel book last year, Dark Currents, and was glad to see the sequel pop on my radar this fall. I’m not sure I enjoyed this as much as Dark Currents, but it was close enough, to not spend much time comparing the two.
Half-human/half-incubus, Daisy Johanssen has grown a bit more comfortable in her role as Hel’s Agent on earth — a liaison between human and eldritch communities most of the time, occasional supernatural cop. She’s also grown more comfortable with herself i general, even dating someone regularly — a normal human being, Sinclair Palmer — the Jamaican immigrant we met last time, when he was busy getting various fairies to assist in his tourist bus business.
Except he’s not all that normal. His family, Obeah practitioners, have decided it’s time for him to come home — without taking a millisecond to consult him. He resists this summons — with the assistance of Daisy and most of the local magic practitioners. Mom and sister don’t take this too kindly and proceed to let a restless spirit loose in the town to wreak whatever havoc it can until Sinclair decides to come home.
And havoc is wreaked — so Daisy has to work on both tracking down and trapping this spirit, preventing much more of the town being destroyed, saving Sinclair, and how yeah — figuring out who the guys buying up more and more of the city is.
Meanwhile, Daisy’s working with the Outcast (ghouls) to better understand and use whatever supernatural abilities she has. Not only was it good to see Daisy grow to do more than just wave that magic dagger around, this provided a good opportunity to better understand the Outcast has a group and as individuals. This may have been my favorite part of the book.
There’s a subplot involving the vampire group in town and Daisy’s best friend’s family, carried over from the last book. I liked this a lot more than I expected to when it was reintroduced, and look forward to the exploration of this a bit more in the next novel.
I really could’ve lived without quite as much detail about the sex lives of Daisy (and others), but given this is the author of the Kushiel books* — this is pretty decent. Also, one reference to her friends becoming her Scoobies à la Buffy the Vampire Slayer is enough — I think we got 3 or more here. C’mon, Carey — if we’re reading this, there’s a better than average chance we know the show and have already noticed what’s going on with Daisy’s friends. When you beat the horse like this, it’s just not that sporting.
A well-told story, good characters, actual character development and lots of potential for the series as a while — better than more than a few UF novels I’ve read this year.
* This observation is based solely on impressions I have of the various books by that name, no first hand knoweldge — I could be totally out to lunch.