Bingo Square: And So It Begins
This is another one I picked up at The Ripped Bodice, and it was partly inspired by one of those “post a book a day for ten days” challenges on FB. Teresaelectro posted the fourth or fifth novel from this series so since she was at the store with me, I asked her to help me find the novel that kicks it all off.
I appear to be rather picky when it comes to my urban fantasy heroes – I liked Kate Daniels and Toby Daye, but I quickly found myself annoyed with Sookie and her whole innocent/naive Southern girl vibe. “We’re four books in, Sookie, you’ve been having tons of vampire sex, stop pretending you don’t understand the point of matching lingerie.” Similarly, it took me a while to warm up to Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series because some of her lines and moral standards seemed more like an example of her being judgmental and irrational than showing strong character. However, Rachel grew with the series, and learned to embrace the gray areas and I quite liked her by the end – and the stories, world building and support characters always made it worth it.
MacKayla or “Mac” is another urban fantasy heroine who has strong promise while also being a bit annoying in parts. And maybe it’s some internalized sexism on my part – there is nothing wrong with a heroine that enjoys matching peach and lavender cardigan sets. I wouldn’t dress that way but I technically don’t have an issue with it. I think maybe I was more turned off by her lack of awareness of what is appropriate attire in certain situations, and potentially her judgements on people that wear black. However, I think that is something that is being used to show how young and unworldly the character (a 21 year old Southern bartender) truly is, and like Rachel, I expect the series to show extreme growth and hopefully get rid of some of her preconceptions. In fact, quite a few of Mac’s commentary in the novel alludes to things that will happen in the future, showing that future Mac will harden and smarten up about a lot of things. The only issue I had with those allusions to future events is that Moning occasionally uses specific time frames like a year, and I only hope that means the events of the follow on books aren’t too rushed and allow for a gradual and natural character evolution.
MacKayla is still figuring out her life, happy to live at home with her parents, while many of her friends have gone off to college. Her older sister is studying abroad in Dublin, and after her murder, Mac finds herself completely shaken. The Dublin police seem to have little motivation in solving the murder so Mac decides to fly to Dublin despite her parents’ protests, investigate on her own and apply some face to face pressure to get some progress on the case. Once she is there, she discovers there is much more going on than the average human knows, and that the police can’t help her. The fae are real, and Mac is one of the humans with the ability to see beyond their glamour. Having lived in the “middle of nowhere,” she never had a chance to discover her power, but once she reluctantly accepts her new reality, it doesn’t take long to realize that her sister’s death involved these supernatural forces. Jericho, a dark and mysterious stranger, is the most help Mac gets and he is also using her for his own means.
Some of the parts of this novel were truly creepy and disturbing. One of the fae shows up a few times to question Mac, and in this world, some of the high fae inspire human women to desperately want to have sex with them. There are a few scenes where Mac is in conversation only to realize she has completely stripped without her consciously realizing it. It definitely shows that even the “good” fae are dangerous creatures and should be seen as the enemy but it felt like a very extreme way of doing it. The first time is almost played for comedy, but the second time, when Mac finds herself in an incredibly vulnerable position, it drives home the type of forces she has somehow gotten herself involved with based simply on an inherited ability she and her sister possess.
I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series since this one started with an strong premise, and alluded enough to the future to keep me interested. I also am curious to see more of Jericho and see how much of a badass Mac will be by the end of the series.
Bingo Square: And So It Begins