Friday, December 14, 2012

Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

 One fringe benefit of reading this book was that I finally found out what genre Santa Olivia and Saints Astray belong to - postmodern fables - it's on the back cover blurb about the author. In Kushiel's Dart and the books about Phedra and Terre d'Ange that follow it, Carey created a masterpiece, an epic, an amazing piece of historical fantasy fiction - a very tough act to follow. In Dark Currents, she leaps into the world of urban fantasy, and I frankly have no idea why, aside from "all the cool kids are doing it". Don't get me wrong, she's still a very skilled writer, even when she's writing soulless drivel. If you haven't read any of her earlier novels, that's great, you'll be able to enjoy this new one without prejudice.

Daisy Johanssen is a demon-spawn, quite literally. Her mother was impregnated by an incubus, and decided to raise her child in the human world, in a small town in the midwest called Pemkowet. Pemkowet has either the fortune or misfortune to be the current site of a sprout of Yggsdrasil, and the seat of power of the goddess Hel of Norse mythology, and Daisy - all grown up, is her liason between the eldritch and the mundane world. Daisy works as a file clerk in the police station, but when there appears to be something odd about the "accidental" drowning of a local college kid, she gets dragged into the investigation, and paired with Officer Cody Fairfax, one of the local werewolves, on whom she's had a secret crush since childhood.

It's an amusing little mystery tale, with plenty of supernatural window dressing. The tale is pretty much PG, suitable for teen audiences - any actual sex and graphic violence take place offstage. Unlike most urban fantasy heroines, at least Daisy doesn't need to be persuaded to use her friends to help out as necessary, which is refreshing. Read this one on its own merits, it's in the upper percentiles of the urban fantasy being published already.

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