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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tempest Rising (Jane True, bk 1) by Nicole Peeler

This seems to be the time for me to begin new series. In the old, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" mantra, I'd have skipped this book based solely on the cover. But after reading a few positive reviews, I decided to give it a try.

And once again, I'm really glad I did. It was an enjoyable book, the kind that keeps me up later at night than I intended to be awake.

The world building is interesting, especially since I tend to favor worlds where there are supernatural beings that humans don't know about. In this world some supernatural beings are good, some aren't. Some appreciate humans, some feel that humans are far below them. That's become a pretty basic part of the Urban Fantasy genre, but an interesting part of this world has to do with half breeds, or halflings. In most urban fantasies it isn't possible for a supernatural and a human to mate, but it is possible in this world.

An example of the worldbuilding has to do with someone Jane had always thought was "slow". An adult man who bagged groceries at the local grocery store. She was surprised to see him with the supernaturals once she is made aware of them, and she's told he isn't slow, he's a rock. She's told that somewhere close there is a boulder he's attached to, that he lives within, but a few decades every centuries he leaves the rock to try to find a mate. Sometimes, things resonate with you in a way you can't describe, and that was one of those things.

Mostly though, Tempest Rising was good because the main character is so different. In some ways her simplicity reminds me of Sookie Stackhouse, or of Stephanie Plum. So perhaps not so different from all urban fantasy series, but definitely different than, say, Anita Blake or Mercedes Thompson or Rachel Morgan. Tempest Rising started slow for me, but the writing was good and I didn't consider putting it down. I think they knew it started slow, which is probably why we get a teaser at the beginning, showing us where things are going. Once things get going, the pacing is well done.

The other reason the book was good? It's funny. Laugh out loud funny. As in, my husband gave me strange looks as I laid the book down to get a good laugh in a few times.

Tempest Rising has the distinct feel of a first book in a series. A portion of the plot gets wrapped up, but there are more loose strings than there are neatly tied up bows at the end. There were no cliffhangers, but we have a good idea of at least some of the events of the next book.

Oh, and there promises to be a possible love triangle, too. I'm actually not so much looking forward to that.

Here's the official blurb, then I'll give my rating:

In the tiny village of Rockabill, Maine, Jane True—26-year-old bookstore clerk and secret night swimmer—has no idea that her absent mother’s legacy is entry into a world populated by the origins of human myths and legends.  It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: vampires are not quite what we think; dogs sometimes surprise us; and whatever you do, never—ever—rub the genie’s lamp.   For Jane, everything kicks off when she comes across a murder victim during her nightly clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean.  This grisly discovery leads to the revelation of why she has such freakish abilities in the water: her mother was a Selkie and Jane is only half human. With this knowledge, Jane soon finds herself mingling with supernatural creatures alternately terrifying, beautiful, and deadly—all adjectives that quite handily describe her new friend Ryu.  When Ryu is sent to Rockabill to investigate the murder, he and Jane fall hard for each other even as they plummet into a world of intrigue threatening to engulf both supernatural and human societies.  For someone is killing half-humans like Jane.   The question is, are the murders the work of one rogue individual or part of a greater plot to purge the world of Halflings?

I've wavered back and forth between a 10 of 10 and a 9 of 10, but in the end Tempest Rising gets a 9 of 10 from me.

Book Rating: Tempest Rising: 9 of 10

As always, I won't give a series rating after only one book.

And now I will point to the second book in the series, Tracking the Tempest. Here is the blurb:

Tracking the Tempest begins four months–and one eyebrow sacrificed to magical training–after the close of Tempest Rising. During that time, Jane’s been busy honing her supernatural powers and enjoying her newfound sense of confidence. Rockabill may not yet be heaven, but she’s realized it’s home. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, however, and Ryu–Jane’s bloodsucker boyfriend–can’t let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. This time his shenanigans involve a last-minute ticket to Boston and a hefty dose of direct interference in her life. But Ryu’s best laid plans inevitably create more upheaval than even he can anticipate, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings committed by a being of tremendous power . . .

. . . who, much to Jane’s surprise, happens to be another halfling.

Just three and a half months until this one is released. I'd love to get an ARC to review ahead of time, though. That would make my day.

Tempest's Legacy book cover (Nicole Peeler)

1. Tempest Rising
2. Tracking the Tempest (July 1, 2010)
3. Tempest's Legacy (January 1, 2011)

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