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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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Review: Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon's Law book 1) by J.A. Saare


Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between catches you from the beginning and mostly keeps you engaged and interested in the characters. The character building is very well done, both for the main characters and a few of the secondary characters. I'll try not to complain (again) about why authors must make their main characters orphans.

I had a few problems with the pacing. There is one place where we are introduced to four people at once and all of the action stops for about six paragraphs where we get a huge info dump about what each of these people are wearing, what they look like, etc. I don't think any of that information was necessary to the plot, and my eyes glazed over before I got through the first person. I skimmed the second person, and then just skipped the rest and found where the action started again.

Another minor issue - in the first couple of pages I wasn't positive how I should be pronouncing Rhiannon in my head. I ended up with Ree-an'-un. Once I stopped and made myself settle on a pronunciation so I wasn't saying it two or three ways every time I came upon the word that went away though. Not a huge deal, but it was a bit annoying in the beginning.

But other than that, I loved the book, right up until the last two or three pages. If Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between had ended before the set-up for the next book began then I would have given the book a 9 of 10, even with the pacing issues and some confusion in the first couple of pages. The plot was excellent, the world-building was interesting, the prose and dialogue were well done, and I've already said character development was good. But the last few pages, the set up for the next book, pretty much made me decide I don't want to read the next book. I will wait to see how the reviews go for the next book before I decide for sure, but... how do I say this without a spoiler? I don't think I can, so I'll use spoiler text.

I get incredibly annoyed when an author allows two people to fall in love and be right in the beginning of their "happy" and then just rips them right apart. It's not nice. Also, I'm not a fan of time travel, and it looks like we're going to get that as well. (Select the spoiler text to view it.)

That's as far as I'll go even with the spoiler text -- enough to explain my issues with the story ending without telling too much, I hope. Here's the blurb:

One bad corpse can ruin your whole day. No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy. She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her – until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no.

But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.

I'm going to give Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between an 8 of 10 for the ending. But, as I said, if things had ended a few pages before the ending, I'd have given it a 9 of 10. I won't give it a series review after reading only one book.

According to the author's site, this series is Rhiannon's Law, and the second book in the series will be titled The Renfield Syndrome.

This adds another book in the Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge I'm participating in.

1. Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between
2. The Renfield Syndrome


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