Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn (Book 3 of the Otherworld series)

Note: HBO's True Blood introduced me to the urban fantasy genre. I picked up Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series during a True Blood hiatus, devoured that and moved on to Kim Harrison's delightful Hollows series. I was hooked. There is nothing that takes your mind off work and other weighty stuff like sexy demons, ass-kicking witches, angsty vampires and other assorted fairies, gods, haints and mythological characters. 

But there is something else about urban fantasy:
What I find curious, is that though their chosen genre frees them from the replicating the hierarchies of the real world, most authors of urban fantasy still manage to re-create common biases surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Read more...
How excited was I to find two people, Renee and Sparky, who share my obsession with the urban fantasy genre AND my fondness for social analysis? Together, we host Fangs for the Fantasy, a weekly podcast dedicated to urban fantasy, and we have launched a website of the same name that is chock full of reviews of urban fantasy books. Our archives are growing every day. I'm going to start sharing my reviews here at What Tami Said.  Below is my latest.

Review: Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn (Book 3 of the Otherworld series)

I’ve just finished Darkling, book three in Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld series. It is the first book in the series that I can claim to like. is too strong a word...let’s go with: I didn’t hate it completely. Not sure whether my semi-enjoyment of this book, as compared to Witchling and Changeling, is due to a more compelling main character or whether I have developed Stockholm Syndrome--that I have been held captive by this series for so long (These short books are loooonnnng reads.) that I am beginning to feel positively toward it.

The Otherworld series follows the half-fae, half-human D’Artigo sisters: Camille, a witch, Delilah, a weretabby, and Menolly, a vampire. The trio are Earthside representatives of a supernatural intelligence agency, and, at least in the inaugural books of the series, the only thing that stands between Earth, Faerie and a demon named Shadow Wing that is bent on domination of multiple worlds. If, as I hinted in the first paragraph, I find the series painful, why ever was I inclined to read the third book in the sequence? I find the foundation story of the Otherworld series compelling: Three sisters with varying supernatural abilities, refugees from a world in political upheaval, balancing personal lives and romance, while kicking ass and keeping the world safe from a demonic big bad. I can get down with that. It’s the writing that made Witchling and Changeling tough reads. Darkling is no exception.

Flame-haired natural acrobat and vampire Menolly is the protagonist in Darkling. Menolly is darker and more complicated than her sisters, which gives this book some weight. As we begin the tale, Menolly is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (though the book doesn’t call it that), trying to heal from the vicious attack that turned her into a blood sucker--a creature that even other supernaturals disdain. And now, Dredge, the vicious psychopathic vamp who turned Menolly has escaped imprisonment and is Earthside, hunting for Menolly and her loved ones.

The ambivalent vampire fighting her true nature is a mainstay of urban fantasy, but there is something compelling about Menolly. Any affection I have for Darkling is down to her, because the book has plenty of problems.

Read more at Fangs for the Fantasy...


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