Series: AGENT OF HEL SERIES
Plot Type: Urban Fantasy (UF)
Ratings: Violence-4; Sensuality-2-3; Humor-3
Publisher and Titles: Roc
Dark Currents (10/2012)
The plot of this novel centers around Daisy's boyfriend, Sinclair Palmer and his family. Daisy and Sinclair have been dating for only a few weeks, and she's very happy to find herself in a relationship with a "normal" human. Unfortunately for Daisy—and for the citizens of Pemkowet—Sinclair and his family are definitely not normal humans. They are, in fact, obeah—powerful sorcerers. When Sinclair's twin sister, Emmeline, shows up Pemkowet to convince her brother to go back to Jamaica with her, she views Daisy as an enemy and puts a painful spell on her. Then she threatens to harm both Daisy and the town if Sinclair doesn't come home. As Hel's agent, Daisy banishes Emmeline from the town, but Emmeline promises to be back in a month to get Sinclair—or else she will set a duppy (a malevolent spirit) on Sinclair and flood Pemkowet with a malevolent rising of the undead. If Daisy can't solve this problem by midnight on Halloween, the veil will remain permanently open and the town will have a major undead problem.
This story is mostly about Daisy's romantic life. She consummates (with no graphic descriptions) two of her relationships and takes a few steps (passionate kisses) toward doing the same with a third. Her three romantic heroes are all handsome, sexy, good guys, so who will she eventually choose: Sinclair, the Jamaican obeah who was not honest with Daisy about his family and their powers; Colby Fairfax, her werewolf partner, who is wildly attracted to Daisy but is clear with her that they can never be together permanently because she isn't a werewolf; or Stefan Ludovic, a ghoul (aka Outcast), who lives on the emotions of others, always on the verge of ravening—killing people by drinking them dry. Stefan, by the way, is the 600-year-old son of a Bohemian count, so Daisy sometimes feels inadequate being just a small-town girl who has never been out of Pemkowet. As Daisy muses at one point: "Stefan was one of the Outcast, banned from heaven and hell, and I was a demon's daughter. As my old teacher Mr. Leary might say, that made for a heck of a potent eschatological cocktail. Eschatology—look it up. I did." (p. 423) So...each relationship has a major problem area. Daisy interacts romantically with all three in this story, and by the end, the choice is down to two.
The action part of the plot revolves around Daisy's attempts to save her town from the undead invasion with the assistance of her three boyfriends, the eldritch community, and the local coven. The story ends with the zombie problem solved, but with one story thread still without resolution. That one involves Daniel Dufreyne, a hell-spawn attorney who is buying up land in and around Pemkowet and using compulsion spells to talk unwilling owners into selling. Hel has assigned Daisy to find out what's going on, but in this book, she is too involved with the more immediate undead problem to get around to the lawyer. That will have to wait until book 3. For background on Hel and other aspects of the series mythology, read the World-Building section of this blog (below). Another unresolved issue arises when one of the Norns (aka the Fates) warns Daisy that at some future point in time, "the fate of the world may hinge on the choices you make." (p. 418)
One seemingly minor story thread involves Daisy's friend, Jen, and her vampire-loving sister, Bethany. Keep an eye on that one because it has a major pay-off in the final climactic showdown scene that resolves most of the conflict.
Carey is a skilled writer who—luckily for the reader—handles Daisy's first-person voice exceptionally well. Daisy is a brave and likable heroine who muddles through her daily life just like the rest of us (except that she is a hell spawn with a tail and we aren't). By the way, for all fans of Daisy's tail: We get much more information about its appearance and its sensitivity. Her three men are all divinely handsome and sexy, but they all have very different personalities and backgrounds. The plot of this book is full of emotion and action, but not much suspense. We know that Daisy will somehow save her town; the only mystery is how she will do it.
|The goddess, Hel|
Daisy's long-time BFF, Jennifer (Jen) Cassopolis, is really her only friend and confidante, and she knows all the details of Daisy's heritage. Another friendly character from Daisy's childhood is the beautiful and glamorous Lurine Hollister, a lamia who grew up in Pemkowet and lived in the same trailer court as Daisy and her mother, where she became Daisy's part-time baby sitter and confidante. Lurine eventually became a B-movie star and married a rich man who subsequently died, after which she moved back to Pemkowet, bought a mansion, and now lives a relatively reclusive life.
Carey has also written two historical fantasy series: KUSHIEL'S LEGACY and THE SUNDERING. She has also written the dystopian fantasy duology, SANTA OLIVIA. Click HERE to read my review of SANTA OLIVIA.
NOVEL 1: Dark Currents
Early on, Daisy's mother does a card-reading for Cody and Daisy, and the clues in her cards begin to play out in a literal manner: a bottle, a spider, a mysterious woman, and some arrows. This case is the most important and dangerous of any case to which Daisy has been assigned, so Hel gives her a magical dagger called the Dauda-dagr, which means "death day," which will allow her to kill immortals—and that includes ghouls.
This is a terrific start to a series that I'm really looking forward to reading. The mythology is fresh and inventive, the plot is suspenseful and relatively unpredictable, and the action just keeps on coming. The quirky characters add interest and depth to the story. Daisy makes a fine heroine, with her intelligence, feistiness, and adaptability to any situation (although her tail-wagging gets to be a bit much). The author is a good story teller who has full control over the first-person voice through which Daisy tells her story. Click HERE to read the first chapter of Dark Currents.