Plot Type: Urban Fantasy (UF)
Ratings: Violence—4; Sensuality—4; Humor—2
Publisher and Titles: Signet Select
City of Light (1/2016)
Winter Halo (12/2016)
As the story begins, Tiger (aka Tig) hears the sound of a child crying in the woods outside her bunker. Her instinctive need to rescue an innocent drives her to go to the rescue, even though the sun is setting and the vampires will soon be out in force. When Tiger finds the child, she also finds Jonas, a badly injured shifter male. After rescuing them both, she is forced to take them into Chaos to the home of a healer named Nuri, an earth witch who wields powerful magic and who insists that Tiger help them rescue other missing children. Tiger is reluctant to cooperate with these people because when Penny, the rescued child, tells them that Tig is a déchet, they immediately attack her, drug her, and lock her up. Even though she eventually lies convincingly enough to convince them that she is not a déchet, they do not trust her—and vice versa.
The plot, then, revolves around Tiger's efforts to determine who—or what—is kidnapping these children from Central City in broad daylight without ever being seen, and why these specific children have been targeted. Her search frequently forces her to be accompanied by the surly (but sexy) Jonas, who hates all déchet with a passion and is still not convinced that she is not one of his most dreaded enemies (even after she saves his life—twice). During the course of the investigation, Tiger learns that she is not the only déchet to have survived the war. She also engages in some scenes—both the sexy kind and the fight-to-kill kind—that put me in mind of Riley Jenson at her very best.
In this series, Keri Arthur has once again found a heroine and a story line that meets or exceeds the standard she set with her excellent RILEY JENSON, GUARDIAN urban fantasy series. If you haven't read that series, you might want to give that a try. Riley is a dhampire enforcer, or Guardian—half werewolf and half vampire—who lives in Melbourne, Australia (where Arthur also lives). The nine books in this series were published between 2006 and 2010. If you read Arthur's DARK ANGELS series, you met Riley as a tangential character—the best friend of the heroine's mother. Unfortunately, DARK ANGELS never really measured up to the original RILEY JENSON series.
I always approach the first book in a series with mixed feelings: anticipation of finding a fresh and inventive mythology and interesting characters, but also dread at having to plow through pages and pages of world-building exposition. In this book, Arthur does a fine job of integrating the world-building into Tiger's first-person narration. She basically treats the reader as someone to whom Tiger is telling her life story, so the world-building flows into the narrative in a natural manner, hardly ever slowing down the pace. Although Arthur doesn't delve very deeply into anyone's life but Tiger's in this first book, we do get a strong first impression of the main supporting characters: Jonas, Nuri, and Sal (an old friend/lover of Tiger's). I like the dystopian, post-apocalyptic aspects of the setting as well as the limited number of supernatural types—just shifters, vampires, wraiths, and an unnamed evil power. Lately, some of the series I have been reading have had so many types of magical monsters that they overwhelm the plot, but that is not the case here.
Tiger is a terrific heroine: a self-sufficient, courageous, intelligent woman who has a deep empathy for children because she feels such deep guilt over having failed to save the lives of the déchet children who died in the bunker alongside her during the final bombing of the war. So far, Jonas has been mostly grim, angry, or inscrutable, but he is definitely going to be Tiger's love interest—once he gets past his rage at her true identity. Despite the fact that Sal has a heart-breaking, ill-omened back-story, he is the star of some very sexy bedroom scenes. Although Nuri is one of the "good guys," she makes a deadly, heartless threat against the ghost children in Tiger's bunker, and she seems all too willing to carry out that threat if Tiger doesn't do exactly as she demands. That means that Tiger is definitely going to have to be very cautious around her.
Although some of the conflicts are resolved by the end of the book (in the requisite showdown scene), this is, after all, a series, so a few unresolved story lines extend into the next book. Click HERE to read a GoogleBooks excerpt from City of Light.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My review of City of Light is based on an electronic advance reading copy (ARC) of the book that I received from the publisher through Netgalley. I received no promotional or monetary rewards, and the opinions in this review are strictly my own.
|UK cover (US cover|
not available at the
time of this posting)
My review will be posted as close as possible to the publishing date of this novel.