The Urban Fantasy field used to be a lot more interesting. Strong storylines, terrific, strong female characters with heart and mind and soul and strength. A lot of fighting, a bit of sex – it was fantasy writing at it’s best.
I don’t know when that changed – I know it was before “50 Shades of Horrifically BAD Writing” but since then, it seems that the world of Urban Fantasy written by women has become UF written by stupid, sexist, hormonal women with no taste and less capabilities. Basically really badly written porn.
Don’t get me wrong. There is still some really bad crap in Hour of the Lion by Cherise Sinclair. As well as some really bad logic on the part of the main character, Victoria. For a big, strong, Marine/CIA spy, she pulls some real boners when it comes to thinking things through. And, come ON people – can we STOP with the BDSM sometime? Like SOON?! This whole idea of “the guys love me so they are going to tie me up and beat the shit out of me and humiliate me as they parade me naked in front of all their buddies and people they never even heard of and then lets them screw me to prove it” thing is sick, disgusting, and makes me want to vomit. This book wasn’t on the ‘heavy’ side of the whole sicko thought process, but there was enough “I am going to hold you down and control you and force you to let me do whatever I want to do to you whether you like it or not, and you are going to like it (and, of course, she gets all hot and bothered and buys into the whole thing — gag) to make me roll my eyes and scream at the heroine. Stupid bitch. Took my original, ‘Oh, goodie, I may like her nearly as much as Kate Daniels” thought process and flushed it down the crapper. But be that as it may . . .
But, what I did like about the book is that it has a real storyline, with an actual setup, confrontation, and resolution. There are multiple plotlines without going overboard and being totally confusing, and the characters are, mostly, likable while the bad guys are truly bad, pointing out just how much humans may think the weres in the story to be monsters – but pointing out in great detail how it is humans who are truly the monsters. Monsters who should be put down with extreme prejudice as quickly (and painfully) as possible.
Vic is, as pointed out above, a Marine and CIA spy who is wounded in battle and, as happens in the military, is basically thrown aside as being, though previously useful, now damaged goods. Hurt, both physically and psychologically by the cold disregard of the mentor who she trusted, she finds herself going to the rescue of a woman under attack – and gets far more than she bargains for. Suddenly captured and at the mercy of sadistic humans trying to learn the secrets of previously unknown weres, Vic is thrown into the position of trying to rescue a young and very brutalized were. Rescuing him from the real monsters, she is forced to watch him die as they attempt to escape, his final words requesting that she travel to the home of his grandfather, to give word of his death.
Torn by her duty to her position and the dieing request of a child, she travels to Cold Creek, not knowing whom it is she is to contact, or what she will do when she gets there. The main storyline is exciting, well thought out mystery suspense, with a strong dose, of course, of UF, though at first the town seems entirely normal. As the UF storyline begins to grow, there is both good and bad to the story, as the weres try to retain their secrecy, and their safety, and Vic tries to decide if they are a danger to the US people, or if they deserve their privacy and safety.
The “Gathering” portion of the story, while logical in and of itself, was handled ridiculously badly by the author. I won’t even go into it. Suffice it to say, if you only read books for the sex scenes you will probably like it. If, instead, you expect logic and to have the main character going into a situation with good intel, well, sending someone you supposedly care about into a situation like that with as little intel as possible is not only stupid, but dangerous and again had me screaming out loud at the stupidity.
So, a better stab at good writing than normally found in this type of novel, but not exceptional. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend it to fans of ‘UF porn” as there probably isn’t enough porn to suit you, and I wouldn’t recommend it to readers of writers like Ilona Andrews or other exceptional UF writers because there is too Much porn. So, overall? Meh. I wish it had been better, though I am not surprised it wasn’t.