Pros: Intriguing setting and characters; lively plot
Cons: Parts read too much like a D&D game; one eye-rolling erotic moment; a love plot I can’t buy into
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review copy courtesy of Penguin Group.
Once again, thanks to being a reviewer I find myself jumping into the middle of an ongoing series. Night Huntress is book five in Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld series. Luckily, while it’s a bit of a wild ride and packed full of characters, it isn’t that difficult to keep up with and well-written for someone just joining the show. Speaking of which, here’s the official line on the series courtesy of the book-back:
We’re the D-Artigo sisters: sexy, savvy operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But being half-human, half-Fae means our supernatural talents always go haywire at the wrong time. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch who attracts men like honey attracts flies. Menolly’s a vampire who’s still getting the hang of being undead. And me? I’m Delilah, a werecat who’s been marked by the Autumn Lord as one of his Death Maidens. And wouldn’t you know it, Karvanak—the demon general who stole the third spirit seal—is back. And this time, he’s out for blood…
Delilah’s got some problems. Her human boyfriend’s been dreaming about another woman, apparently—and that’s before he vanishes. She’s just barely getting used to what it means to be a Death Maiden when she finds out the Autumn Lord has some very special plans for her. Her father is still missing, as is Camille’s lover, and there are more demons popping up all over town—including right on their very property. Add Karvanak to that mix, along with a friendly incubus, a maybe not-so-friendly succubus, and a demon who defected to their side for unknown reasons, and you’ve got one hell of a ride!
I had trouble rating this one. For sheer enjoyment I’d give it a four out of five; it’s really fun, with plenty of wacky characters and wild ideas. (The baby gargoyle is particularly intriguing.) If you have an easy time setting aside or ignoring the kind of stylistic complaints I’m about to make, then I think you’ll enjoy this book. That said, I do have some stylistic complaints, and if you’re one of those readers whose enjoyment is easily marred by such things, then keep that in mind. This might sound obvious, but there are definitely two distinct approaches to these kinds of issues among readers, so I want to make that distinction clear.
First, combat felt a wee bit too much like a D&D session to me. I love D&D, but it doesn’t make for a good combat read. Descriptions of combat settings felt a bit like a dungeon master carefully describing a room, complete with descriptions of each exit and how it’s placed. Worse, even though the characters acknowledge early on in one major raid on a demon-infested house that their opponents probably have preternatural hearing AND already know they’re there, they stand around in the hallway debating and planning strategy endlessly.
Second, if I’m going to read erotic romance novels then I’m willing to set aside a certain amount of my normal sensitivity to overwrought description. That only goes so far, however, and a line that describes a lover’s… ahem… (sorry, I try to keep this blog relatively family-friendly) as “a white-hot match that reached into my center to ignite my flame” just makes me snicker.
Finally, I found I couldn’t buy into the love plot, which is tough on a romance (although since Chase, Delilah’s boyfriend, isn’t around for much of the book, it isn’t as bad as you’d think). I realize the author seems to want to make some sort of point about not giving up on troubled relationships with imperfect people, but Chase comes across as enough of a jackass, and the author just doesn’t make me believe in some sort of all-overcoming love between the two of them, that I seriously found myself cheering on Zach, the competition for Delilah’s affections. Maybe this is one of those things I would have been able to get on board with if I’d read the previous books.
I realize that after spending so much space on what I didn’t like, I’ve probably made it sound as though I didn’t enjoy Night Huntress. However, that isn’t the case. There’s plenty of action, suspense, and wacky human-fae politics to keep things jumping, and I loved reading about all of that. Whether the book is wonderful or just fun will depend on your own view of the love plot and your own tolerance level for the stylistic issues.