A little over a year ago, I decided to read everything that Kelley Armstrong had published at that point, being that I’d been recommended her works by so many different places so many times, and in general I quite enjoy the genre she writes (urban fantasy, whatever you’d like to call it). So I read all eight available Women of the Otherworld books, and reviewed them. All the titles can be found either in this review, or this one. Ms. Armstrong is a full-time writer and presumably a full-time Canadian; I think I’m behind on this series by one book, and she started a YA series when I wasn’t looking.
This particular volume, a slender 98 pages, will be a Subterranean Press publication in December of this year. It concerns Eve Levine, the star of book five, and the mother of Savannah, a common character in the other volumes. Eve is dead (seriously, that’s not a spoiler) and is currently working part-time for the Fates as an avenging angel. Or something like that. The djinn have been behaving poorly recently — torturing those who have summoned them — and just when Eve is about to get some time off, the Fates decide to make her investigate. Alone. Well, she’s never been one to follow rules, and usually, that gets her into trouble . . .
I like Eve. I liked her in the last book, even though it wasn’t my favorite of the series, but I liked this story significantly better. I think it’s because there was a little too much serial-killer in the last volume for my tastes (suspense is great, but grisly descriptions of axe-killings aren’t my favorite). My complaint in Haunted was that she wasn’t nearly as much of a bad girl as was promised, and it still holds true. On the other hand, I care less now. It seems more possible that years of being an angel could have changed her, and although she’s still being dragged around by the fates, certainly during her time on the job, she does actually enjoy the hunt (and, as she says, the battle at the end).
The story wasn’t terrifically complicated, although I don’t know if it really should be read without some backstory. I’ve read the eight volumes prior to March of 2008, and I can’t un-read them, so I don’t know how much of this would make sense without knowing all the crazy stuff that goes on in Ms. Armstrong’s world. I mean, I remember that part of the reason that Eve left Kris back when they were human is the fact that she is a witch (if a dark one) and he is a sorceror and the two aren’t supposed to get along, but is that necessary for the enjoyment of this tale? Ms. Armstrong casually refers to transportation codes and the ghost world and other things that we learned in Haunted, and those might be important, but knowing all about Jaime Vegas and Jeremy’s love story (book 7) perhaps isn’t nearly as important.
In short, it was a great way to spent half an hour. Had this been published as part of an anthology, I’d be recommending it quite widely. As far as that goes, I definitely think that fans will want to get a hold of this tale; Sub Press editions always look nice on the bookshelf and feel lovely under the fingertips, and that may encourage some fence-sitting buyers. We did meet some interesting new characters and investigate some new places, but the mix of the old and the new is the appeal in a follow-up story like this, and I feel that it doesn’t disappoint. 4/5 stars.