Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Deadly Curiosities: The Human, the Gay Best Friend and the Vampire
(ARC given by NetGalley)
Author: Tim Waggoner
Publishing House: Angry Robot
Publication: 24th June 2014
Book 1 of the Deadly Curiosity Series
Review by Lady Entropy
Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.
This book is a decent Urban Fantasy romp: girl with some powers needs to rely on stronger friends and allies to solve problems, while still remaining useful. It has several creature types, some truly scary and poignant moments, and manages to wrap it all up without making a mess of itself.
Unfortunately, I read it right after another, alas, far superior Urban Fantasy book so I couldn't but be left with a sense of "meh" at the end. I am sure I would have thought far better of this book were it not for the unfortunate timing.
I can say it works very well as a light read, with a refreshing character who's not supposed to be all-powerful or a bitch, that is not desired by all men that she comes across. She was sensible, smart, and a good person who (almost never) fell into the Too Stupid To Live category.
My pet peeve was the Sassy Gay Best Friend, who I felt was such a specimen of perfection and awesomeness (great cook, appreciates the arts, incredible smart, expert armed and unarmed fighter, with magical powers that dwarfed the heroine, incredibly attractive, sensitive and thoughtful to his lover) that I wondered why weren't we reading the story from his point of view, instead. It felt that the writer was trying to compensate for something, or she was so afraid to be dismissed for writing a "bad" gay character that she had to heap all the awesomeness on him to protect herself.
And also, our adventurers tended to rely too much on magical artefacts to get themselves out of problems. No, literally, there is a "suit up" scene. I couldn't but help feel that, in the process of increasing the stakes, the writer wound up coming up with a threat that the heroine simply couldn't sort.
Funnily enough, the side and minor characters (like clockman and the hunter) wound up being my favourites and I would have liked to know more about them.