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February 13, 2013

Book Review - Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey is an interesting writer. She's best known for the Kushiel series of books, a series noted for their sado-masochistic tone as well as their excellent world-building (I say "known" since I haven't actually read them yet, though I do have them). They are thick books and evidently fairly dark. I look forward to actually reading them one day and seeing if they match my taste.

However, with the thriving urban fantasy market out there, it's not a surprise that she might want to dip her hand into it. Dark Currents is her latest novel, and is apparently the first in a series of books about Daisy Johannson, a half-breed (her father is a demon) agent of Hel (a Norse goddess). Typical urban fantasy has a heroic (and sexy) female protagonist who's dealing with something supernatural, be it vampires, werewolves, demons, magic, or what have you. Dark Currents is no different. I'm not a big fan of the genre, though a number of authors have attracted my attention and made me get past my animosity towards it (Devon Monk, to name one example).

Carey is now another author who has done so. Despite Carey's dark reputation (or, better put, reputation for dark books), Dark Currents is actually quite funny. The tone of the book almost causes whiplash (and may literally cause it if you've just read a Kushiel book before reading this one, though I'm not a doctor so can't say that for sure). The subject matter is still dark, but Carey tells it with a light tone characteristic of the genre. She matches it perfectly.

My review is up on Curled Up With a Good Book.

From the review:
"The Michigan resort town of Pemkowet is a strange place, full of eldritch beings that live side-by-side with normal ("mundane") people: ghouls, werewolves, fairies, nymphs, even vampires. It's also the hometown to an agent of the Norse goddess Hel, Daisy Johanssen. Daisy's father is a demon, so she's already a half-breed. She even has a tail. Working for the local police force as a clerk, she also takes on tasks for Hel that have to do with the supernatural community. When a young college student drowns in the river, signs point to more than just a drowning, and the local police chief asks Daisy to help with the investigation. What was the boy doing on that fateful night? Will Daisy and friends be able to solve the crime before the resort town is shut down by normal humans who are getting tired of co-existing with the supernatural?"
The story does delve down into some rather peculiar sexual practices (which will mean Carey fans can breath a sigh of relief), but it doesn't show them "on-screen" and Daisy is a very breezy narrator. She's able to lighten the tone of the book quite a bit, even as she's horrified by the implications of what really happened.

Even if you're not a fan of the genre, Dark Currents is excellent. More detail on why can be found in the review.


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