So, although Jacqueline Carey's newest book, Dark Currents, the first in her Agent of Hel trilogy, came out in October, I only just got around to reading it. Partially, I was afraid that my expectations were just too high and that I would end up disappointed, as I was with much of the Naamah series and Saints Astray. And I'll be honest, I was dubious because paranormal romance/urban fantasy is not a genre I've ever really been into. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised and found Dark Currents very enjoyable. Daisy, the "reluctant hell-spawn," makes a fine heroine. She's half- All American girl, half-demon, and this gives her a grittiness and a sort of down-to-earthness that makes a nice change of pace from Carey's other protagonists (who I LOVE but, it's great to see an author that's got range) At the same time, Daisy has a lot in common with her predecessors. Like Loup and Phedre, she has strange genetic predisposition that she hasn't quite mastered. Like Imriel, she has a bloodline people fear. And like Moirin, she's the child of a single mom. Carey is fond of certain tropes- you could say she recycles them. But they just happen to be tropes I like, so I do kind get a kick out seeing how she mixes and matches them in her work.
The first book is essentially a paranormal police procedural. It's quite a contrast to the travelogue type books Carey usually writes, as the action takes place within the boundaries of Daisy's hometown. But again, I enjoyed the mixing of the fantasy and the mundane. And as a police-procedural type mystery, the plot moves steadily and it's entertaining. A lot world-building happens in this first book, so it can at times feel a bit like "these are the people in my really strange neighborhood." I expect we're being set-up for a more in-depth showdown over Daisy and her demonic birthright and the supernatural and mundane residents of Pemkowet in the next two books. I don't know why but the tone and the pacing and the presentation of many love interests for Daisy reminded me a lot of the Stephanie Plum books than any fantasy series that i'd read. Go fig.
( Likes )
( Critiques )
In short, if you like urban fantasy/paranormal romance along the lines of True Blood and Lost Girl or quirky female police procedurals like Stephanie Plum, I'd recommend this series to you. Kushiel fans- what can I say? If the Kushiel series is a long, elaborate feast of many exotic courses, Dark Currents is like a hamburger and a microbrew at your favorite pub. Which is not a knock against it- because who doesn't enjoy a good burger and beer? Preferably in this case a delicious Bell's Oberon or Two-Hearted for Michigan pride.