Dark Currents (Agent of Hel #1) – Jacqueline Carey

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Summary:

Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy novels, presents an all-new world featuring a woman caught between the normal and paranormal worlds, while enforcing order in both. Introducing Daisy Johanssen, reluctant hell-spawn…

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.

Review:

So remember the very early days of the Anita Blake series where the focus was on crimes with preternatural angles with some slightly awkward flirting with Jean-Claude? The first nine-books or so, before the stories became dominated by which overly-endowed male would be joining her bed next and what new power she’d obtain from said coupling? Do you miss those early books?

Give Dark Currents a chance. Trust me on this.

As for the rest of us, if you’ve come from reading the Kushiel’s Legacy books the first thing you notice is that at first blush, the writing doesn’t sound much like Carey at all. The tone sounds like many an other urban fantasy title on the market: casual and slightly brisk and not at all like the lush, elegant and semi-formal prose of her other series. In fact, you would be forgiven for thinking they were written by two different women as they sound so different.

But then you keep reading and Carey’s gifts come through.

So often in Urban Fantasy have we seen concepts of some kind of boundary that separates Earth/the mortal realm from the forces of Heaven and Hell. Usually it’s giving a name like The Boundary or the Seal – something simple. Here? It’s the Inviolate Wall. Does it need to be the Inviolate Wall? Of course not. Is it a sign that perhaps there is more than the usual level of creativity in this book? Yep.

Brownies, Naga, Faeries, Ghouls, Vampires, Norn, Naiads – all sorts of creatures come into play here. I love the concept that there are these pockets of preternatural creatures living where the boundary is thin and the magic is accessible. The concept of Yggdrasil II and Hel as being a kind of ruler over everyone is awesome, and having Daisy being Hel’s representative on earth.

Speaking of Daisy, I’m totally digging her as our heroine. Her situation isn’t one that I can recall seeing before, and she’s blissfully attitude free. She’s got a nice mix of friends, her mom is interesting and heck, I’m even digging this weird attraction situation going on with a ghoul, which my brain tells me should probably be giving me the icks. Speaking of possible romantic interests, I do how Cody’s lycanthropy is depicted here. It’s definitely got more emphasis on the wolf and less “human who happens to go furry once a month” variety, which I dig.

In short, this book is the kind of urban fantasy I love: unique and detailed world with likable characters. It certainly doesn’t push boundaries like her epic fantasy does, but that’s okay. She’s not reinventing the wheel, but she’s putting a nice coat of polish on it.

I love discovering new series that I enjoy, and the fact that it’s close-ended trilogy is a huge bonus because it’s not a big commitment.

If you like Urban Fantasy, you owe yourself a look at this book.

Verdict: Buy It

Available: Now

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