Friday, January 22, 2010

Review: Unclean Spirits

Title: Unclean Spirits (Book 1 of The Black Sun's Daughter)
Author: M.L.N Hanover
Genre: Urban Fantasy
In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules.

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely...

Overall, this book was okay. I didn't care for the introduction being in third person and then switching over to first person in chapter one, but I can understand that the author did it to bring conflict into the story immediately, and probably to foreshadow later books.

Jayné was a little too obvious a character for me--daughter of a strict, religious man, getting into trouble as a teenager, college dropout, and when her uncle dies, she gets pushed into a situation she's not in any way prepared for. Suddenly, she's rich and she can fight like she's been trained all her life--which she hasn't.

Honestly, I was not a happy camper when Jayné and Aubrey got together, and I am very glad that it was nipped in the bud when it was. I was rooting for Ex all the way. I like that the romantic elements didn't overshadow the fantasy, but instead enhanced it. I was pleasantly shocked when Aubrey's estranged wife and Jayné got a bit buddy-buddy with each other.

I enjoyed the author's Voice/Style of writing. He has a fluid way of describing things to keep the pace steady. I particularly enjoyed the fight scenes.

My favorite part was when they figured out that Midian wasn't human. His tirade was the most natural and humorous part of the book. His language is intelligent, if crude, and he won my vote as favorite character in the entire book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book, and I do recommend it. But it could've been better.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Author Information:

Official Website (M.L.N Hanover is a pseudonym for Daniel Abraham, and his website for his penname doesn't seem to really up and running, so I'm linking to his regular website.)

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