My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement. Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers and continue on at your own risk!
This is the second book in the Alex Craft novels. I characterize this book as a ‘Procedural’ novel- books where there’s a situation that the main character must resolve by the end of the book. I enjoy procedurals, but this book leaves me with mixed feelings, as there are parts that really shine, but then there are aspects that I did not enjoy. Here’s what I thought…
Alex Croft is a ‘grave witch’- meaning she can raise ‘shades’ from dead bodies. These shades are helpful in several things from solving crimes (how were they murdered), to clarifying wills. In the first book she also discovered she is part fae. In this story, a bunch of constructs keep appearing in Nekros City- trying to kill Alex, and her disposal of them causes rips in reality. She needs to find out who is creating the constructs and stop them, while juggling a love triangle with Death and Falin (a Fae), a relationship with her friend Rianna (who is stuck in Faerie), avoiding a human who wants to use her to obtain magic, and keeping her friends safe. There was a lot going on in the plot- probably too much.
Plot Score: 3/5
Location, Location, Location
This story takes place in a world, similar to the Sookie Stakehouse books. A mystical group of creatures (in Sookie’s case- Vampires, in Alex’s case- the Fae) have “come out of the mushroom ring.” The reasoning in this story is because the Fae need human belief to anchor them to reality, and since people weren’t believing, the Fae came out. Unlike the Sookie series, it seems more organizations have been formed to deal with any issues. They have FIB (Fae Investigation Bureau), MCIB (Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau), OMIH (Organization for Magically Inclined Humans) and AFHR (Ambassador of Fae and Human Relations).
Most of the book takes place in Nekros City, but sometimes Alex travels to Faerie, which I would hope to see more of in future books- especially since she owns a castle there.
Location Score: 4/5
Characters and Relationships
In some books, there is conflict because of mis communication- or no communication. I always feel that’s a cheap tactic by the author to generate or prolong unnatural conflict. I don’t feel that the author used that tactic in this book, but I think she flirted with that line. Alex is always turning off her phone if she gets too many annoying phone calls- which means the people who need her can’t get through. At one point Caleb, her fae landlord had to beg her to hear out Malik – a fae who obviously knew more than she did. And she would never fill in the police on what she had seen- depending on their ‘experts’ to figure it out. “I didn’t tell the police what I’d seen. The anti-black magic unit had both an auramancer and a wyrd clairvoyant who could tap into the reality I’d touched…”
Alex’s flaws aside, she is in the midst of an interesting love triangle- with two guys who are unavailable. Death- a soul collector that only she can see, and Falin, who is bound to a Fae Queen. I feel like she is leaning towards Falin, but I am cheering for Death.
Characters Score: 3/5
Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)
This book is purely for entertainment.
Bigger Meaning Score: 0/5
After wading through the first couple of chapters, I had to start skim reading this book. There was too much extraneous information. For example, once a knife with a note ends up on Alex’s front porch and there were several pages of deciding what and how to get the note before it was actually read.
There is a lot of repetitive expressions used. Every time the action kicks up, Alex starts having heart palpatations (“my heart crashed in my chest”, “my racing heart stumbled in my chest” etc.)
I noticed these issues in the first book, but was hoping they would improve in later installments. I picked up this book because I liked Alex’s relationship with Death and wanted to know the outcome of the triangle.
Style Score: 2/5
-I feel like Alex is going to end up with Falin, but I’m cheering for Death!
-I had Wizard of Oz flashbacks with Alex and PC (her dog), especially in Faerie when she had dragged her dog along for the adventure. (“Don’t hurt my dog”)