Thursday, July 12, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy.
Publisher: Pocket Books.
Favorite character: Charlie Madigan, Rex.
All in all: Fabulous! Layered, smart and exciting!
Synopsis: Atlanta: it's the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil....
Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She's recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim -- but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined? ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: Wow. Wowsa. Wow. I think I found my new favorite heroine. But I can't decide if it's the main protagonist of The Better Part of Darkness or Kelly Gay herself for creating such an amazing character. The book opens up right at the start of an investigation and as a reader I was quickly introduced to Charlie, a tough as nails cop who was likeable right from the start. In the next moment she shows her vulnerable side which is brought about by the presence of her daughter Emma. There is also self-depracating humor in her voice, irony and sass. She is jealous and can be shut off from others, while still holding them accountable. So very flawed and human and extremely likeable due to her honesty and self awareness.
The setting of Atlanta is quickly established as a realm where the veil between the worlds has been breached and is now populated by Otherworldly creatures, good and bad alike. Now Charlie and her partner, Hank, a siren, are thrown into an investigation that takes them further and further into an insidious plot. The story weaves and dodges and spins. I never saw anything coming and just when I thought the author couldn't possibly throw any more rocks at Charlie, she has to run from boulders. The secrets and reveals are astounding and I watched as Charlie discovered her own inner strengths to try to overcome the issues that are thrown at her.
I love the relationships that Charlie has with her sister, her ex-husband and especially her daughter. The link described by Charlie and the feelings for her child are so specific and sweet and this is what feelings should be like between parents and their kids. I also love the dynamic between her and her sister. There is a closeness and a bond. Mutual respect with a dose of misunderstanding, just like real siblings. Her complicated emotions toward her ex-husband also come into play as well as with her partner. How do you choose between trust and love and forgiveness? All of these dynamics are wrought with tension and drama and come into play directly to the story.
The writing is lovely. Gay grounds her character in the moment and the setting and her descriptions of the night skies or the park grounds are that much more beautiful against the grim setting of the plot.
The ending held some surprises for me. Some events are settled, while others will be left for Charlie and her loved ones to deal with. I want to say that some things are left open for the future, but most first books in a series do that. The Better Part of Darkness does it with so much more finesse.
My only complaints are that I wasn't sure at every turn why she was talking to certain people but in all fairness that could have been because I was just reading it so fast because I wanted to see what happened next.
Gay is able to include so many elements and emotions within these pages without bogging the story down. I love the mythology and the plot, but what I really loved is that Charlie is written with so much heart.