Friday, February 4, 2011

Storm Born by Richelle Mead

Storm Born (Dark Swan, Book 1)
I read a couple of Richelle Mead's Succubus series books when my friend, Stef, loaned them to me, but haven't really followed the series past that point. I found a couple of books in the Dark Swan series at the library bookstore, and thought they looked entertaining.

The heroine of our series is Eugenie Markham, a woman trained in the shamanic tradition, who owns her own business as an exorcist of sorts. When supernatural beings are bothering people in Arizona, she comes running and sends the creatures back to either the Otherworld - the land of the Gentry, or the Underworld - the land of the dead.
Eugenie is hired by a man to find his lost or kidnapped sister. He believes she has been abducted against her will by the Gentry - Faeries, if you will. Eugenie doesn't like to travel to the Otherworld, as it can be quite dangerous to mortals, but finally decides to go and rescue her.

In the early going, Eugenie becomes involved with a veterinarian named Kiyo, who is darkly attractive and who turns out, eventually, to be a kitsune, kind of like a were-fox. He is actually a half-breed, and has ties both in the Otherworld and the mortal realm. Eugenie has, in the past, bound some spirits to her service, and she ends up taking those servants with her when she journeys to the kingdoms of the Gentry to find out what has become of the girl, Jasmine. Her spies on the other side have told her that Jasmine is being held by Aeson, a king of the Alder land.

She attempts to get Dorian, king of the Oak land and enemy of Aeson's, to help her, but is unwilling to pay his price, so she and her companions try by themselves the first time. Eugenie is in for a rude awakening when she arrives at Aeson's keep. Her attempt at a surprise attack is foiled by a traitor in her group, and she also finds out that she may be the daughter of the Storm King, a gentry lord whose goal was to unite all of their kingdoms and to conquer the mortal realm, as well. When she returns home, her mother confirms that she is, indeed, the Storm King's daughter. Eugenie spends the rest of the book alternately denying her heritage, while discovering that she has the need to use her half-gentry magical talents to confront Aeson again and bring Jasmine home.

An entertaining novel, a very quick read. Has a couple of quite graphic sex scenes, which really weren't all that necessary for plot development. It seems as if Mead is unconsciously mimicking some of the elements of Laurell K. Hamilton's two series' heroines, Merry Gentry and Anita Blake. Is it absolutely necessary that there be a love triangle to make things interesting? I had thought at first that the story wasn't going to take itself very seriously, as Eugenie starts out with a job performing an exorcism on a pair of running shoes, and one of her spirit sidekicks, Nandi, sounds just like Eeyore. Things turn seriously quickly, and she kills off Nandi and her comedy relief in the first violent confrontation. Ah well.

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