Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review: A Fist Full of Charms

I have two loves in reading: romance and urban fantasy. Romance is... romantic. I just love a book with a HEA. It makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. Urban Fantasy, on the other hand, feeds my love of the paranormal. It gives me a world where good and bad are not always clear cut, the heroes may not be heroic, and heroines can kick ass in a major way without losing their romantic allure. So you might not get a HEA. That’s fine because the book is usually part of a series. It might happen next time. Or the time after that. The possibility is there, without the promise of it that you get in romance. **Proceed carefully, spoilerish references made**

I have a few favorite UF authors. As you all know, I am crazy for Patricia Briggs. If I could, I would have babies with all of her heroes. Yes please and thank you. Adam, Charles, Bran... oh yeah. Heck, even Zee is fabulous. More recently I have been reading the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison. I just finished A Fist Full of Charms. It was... interesting. Honestly, this may be where Ms. Harrison jumped the shark. I have to read the next book to see what happens, see if it gets back to a place that I can love. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good book. Not as good as the previous installments, but still a good book. I just did not enjoy the direction she took with some of the characters, namely Rachel and Ivy. Their friendship/relationship went down a path I was hoping it wouldn’t. Rachel’s choices regarding magic made me cringe. She wasn’t a heroine I could root for in this book. I felt like she wandered off the path. She needs to find her way back. The whole "needs danger to get off" thing kinda pissed me off. Made me not like Rachel at times.
The plot with the focus and the Weres was actually quite interesting. It shed some more light on the politics of Inderland society. I think this will give the series more depth in the long run. I will be interested to see if this trickles over into any future plots and how she deals with the issue of Brett.

I loved Jenks. Full sized Jenks? Break me off a piece of that! It was all of his snarky, fun personality in a 6'4" package of gorgeousness. He was big and beautiful and still fabulously in love with Matilina. Completely devoted, hunky man. Kisten was barely there. Sad. Nick. Ooh, baby. I did not particularly care for him as Rachel’s boyfriend. Am I glad! It was so easy to hate him in this book (as you were supposed to). I just could not believe what happened in the end with Nick and Jax. Poor Jenks.

Here is my one big gripe about the book: NO TRENT! What??!!?!?!!!? I think this is what made this book fall a bit flat for me. SO much of what I love about this series has to do with the interactions between Rachel and Trent. Without him there, the book felt a little dull. OK, dull is the wrong word, but you could tell something was missing.

Like I said, this was a decent book, just not up to the standards I expect from this author and series. Maybe it is unfair to hold her to a separate set of expectations, but that’s how it is. I would do the same to Ms. Briggs if I felt one of her books was of lesser quality than her previous releases. If I were still doing ratings or grades, I suppose I would give this book a 3.5/5, whereas the previous books in the series earned 4 or 4.5.


Bev(QB) said...

I cannot stand Ivy. Absolutely do not like the character at all. And I hate Hate HATE the thought of Ivy and Rachel together. Because of something that happens in a later book (which is REALLY gonna fry your bacon), I thought for sure that this series was going to become the Rachel-Ivy LURVE each other series. If the last book is any indication, maybe, just maybe, that's NOT the route she's going with it after all.

Shannon said...

Grrrr! Here I was hoping that it would get resolved and we could get back to the Rachel-Trent angle. Damn. If the books keep going down the Rachel-Ivy road, I may start thinking of Rachel in the same way I do Anita Blake: she who makes me angry enough to avoid. Crap.

Bev(QB) said...

Shannon, they are still must-reads for me. I have to give her credit for writing a series where ANYONE can be put in serious jeopardy. And ANYONE can be killed off. And ANYONE can do really bad stuff that makes them unredeemable. (What I said makes more sense further into the series)

And just so long as she never crosses that line into a Rachel-Ivy couple, or she does, but then kills Ivy off quickly (hee), I'll keep reading.

Shannon said...

Oh man, now you have me curious. So long as Jenks does not go bad I'l bad OK. If she ruins Jenks... girl is going to be hearing from me!

Bridget Locke said...

Wait until you get to the next book. Heart breaking! And then The Outlaw Demon Wails? Whoo-doggie! Two of the darkest books I've ever read, but let me tell you, the resolution ends up being much better than you expect. You will be super upset at the end of the next book (fair warning), but I urge you not to give up. By the end of ODW Rachel seriously grows some and becomes a much stronger person. Just an FYI. :)

Jessica said...

Stick with it! The next books are fantastic. I think the fact that she can make me cry (and man does she, had to actually put the book down to get a tissue) and still make me want to come back for more, is something special. Don't let the Rachel / Ivy thing get you down too much. :)

Shannon said...

Oh, I have no intention of giving up on the series. Not yet anyway. I was mostly wondering how much pain and suffering I should plan to endure.