Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.
I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.
2.5 rounded up to 3 because my wife and my mother-in-law both love it (and they might use tea-spoons to pop out my eyes if I give it a 2).
It’s a solid urban-fantasy effort with a good, strong female private detective (Harper Blaine) for a lead. She lives in Seattle, has a pet ferret, and is generally a likeable broad. The fantasy element is OK, but I didn’t find it inspiring – Harper got killed by a client, and although the medics brought her back she can now see ‘the grey’. The grey includes ghosties, vamps, warewolves, etc – the usual bunch. It also includes misty visions of the world beyond death, or some-such. Good for atmosphere, bit vague for specifics.
It was a fun and easy read, very much a scene setter for the series. Lots of effort put into grounding the story in Seattle (rather than generic American city as some UF is) – lots of resistance on Harper’s part to accepting her new role as a ‘greywalker’, which kind of emphasises that this is a nice, normal gal who’s doing her best to muddle through this otherworldly madness. Obviously the real fantasy hoodoo can’t kick-off until she’s accepted and embraced her ghostly powers. I’ve been told this aspect picks up in books two and three of the series, which makes sense.
There was one specific thing that annoyed me. People are revived by medics every day. What is it about Harper that makes her special? Why does she become a greywalker, and the next guy to get revived just get brain damage? It was all a bit wishy-washy and coincidental to keep my disbelief suspended.
Maybe I’ve just been spoilt by coming in at the top end of the UF market? Compared to Dresden, Castor, Grant and Swift... Blaine is too much the UF ‘girl next door’. I’ve no doubt there’s more substance there if you get to know her – but in a crowded genre, Greywalker doesn’t make a strong enough first impression.
Having said that – I will continue to read the series because my wife already owns them – but they’re certainly not top of my wish-list...
After this I read: A Clash of Kings