Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Atlanta provides the backdrop for the first book in this urban fantasy series. But instead of the noisy hustle and bustle of a big city, this Atlanta is filled with magic users, shape shifters, vampires and supernatural monsters. While modern technology does work (this is called the "tech") in this setting, magic waves do hit the city rendering all modern comforts useless. Parts of the city not under the protection of magic resemble war zones as these unpredictable waves have eaten away at the architecture, reducing tall buildings to rubble and hallowed shells.
Life in this Atlanta is rough. In addition to the run-of-the-mill crimes of murder, grand theft auto and the like, there is also the supernatural variety of crime. Dangerous magic lurks on the wrong side of the tracks and the Shapeshifters and Vampires (known as The People), who loosely resemble Mafia Gangs, reign supreme and are at war with each other. The police are not much use in this area of crime, but this is where the Mercenary Guild and the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid step in to dispatch summoned creatures of the nether world and investigate crimes of the paranormal variety.
We meet Kate Daniels in this first book. She's a hardened young woman with inborn magical abilities. She freelances for the Merc Guild and the Order and has recently learned her mentor, a Knight of the Order, has been murdered. She sets into action to find his killer. Kate questions the "Beast Lord", also known as Curran, the alpha Lion shapeshifter of Atlanta but it turns out some of his pack members have been murdered and he needs Kate's help as well. Before long both shapeshifters and vampires are suspects in what is now appears to be a string of related murders.
The ending is a surprise and kudos to Ms. Andrews on her creativity on the who and what of the crimes. The author does a wonderful job of balancing the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters Kate and Curran. Kate's physical prowess is remarkable, but she does have her limitations and has her ass handed to her enough to keep her ego in check. She is protective of her friends and even more so of her past. The author keeps you in suspense of Kate's past and her abilities, only dropping hints of Kate's powers here and there. Ms. Andrews knows how to weave a believable story involving real people with realistic personalities.
If you're looking for a different genre to read, this is a good book that introduces the realm of urban fantasy.