Sunday, July 12, 2009

Deathwish--Rob Thurman

I liked this book a great deal, more than Jia over at Dear Author, whose reviews turned me onto the series. You can check out my previous review here. I've mentioned before that in a way this series is kinda over-the-top, but those of you who know me well know I'm always loving over-the-top. I just do. But I'm embarrassed by that and that's why it's taken me a while to write this review.

I've said it before, that revealing what your tastes are is an intimate act. More on that later.

But anyway. So our story picks up at the cliffhanger of Cal being stalked by his murderous kin, the Auphe, vigorous fighting occurs and game on! The Auphe have decided nows the time to get with their threatened torture of Cal via nearest and dearest. Oh wait, there's more--Promise has a new client for their agency, an "old friend" who is being stalked and wants to know why. He'd also like to get Promise back. And then the plot is shaken again with the arrival of Promise's daughter, Cherish, whose hobbies are theft and making enemies.

If it seems like this is too much plot for 336 pages, it's surprisingly not. It's a fast-paced book with a lot of fights and action, and again--heavy on the emotion, but not gratuitous or inauthentic emotion. There's the same dark sarcasm and ironic humor, but Thurman's not afraid to vary her approach to storytelling. This novel's view point is split between Cal (who narrated all the other novels) and his brother Niko. And yes, if you thought Niko was maybe even more damaged than Cal, you'd be right.

I don't think that it's a spoiler to say that by the end of this book, major recurring issues have been resolved. It's part of the reason I'm a little worried that this is the last story for these characters Thurman intends to write--she has a new series coming out in September that I will pick up, but I haven't heard if she'll be writing 2 books a year now and quitting her day job, or if publishers were interested in something new. If this is the last book, I'm satisfied. Even if I didn't agree with all the resolutions, it's nice to read a series where characters have emotional arcs and don't repeat the same blah blah blah for ten books (cough, Dresden Files, cough). As a fan and a reader, I'm grateful and satisfied--you don't often get that sort of development and resolution in a series.

If Thurman wants to continue this series, she doesn't need pick up her characters' activities right after this book. It might be quite interesting to see what happens 2 or 3 years out from these events. She has done a lot to build up the secondary characters and world in this series, including new allies and foes in this book, and it seems a shame not to fully exploit them. There's at least a novella in Delilah's Kin politics. Plus Rafferty and Catcher are still out in the world--what's up with them? And other readers often complain that Promise and George are idealized--Promise takes a major fall off her pedestal in this book, and I would like to see a story where the viewpoint switches between Cal and George, with more detail on the life of a struggling girl psychic who can't let herself know how it will all turn out for fear of destroying her sanity.

If you're looking for urban fantasy, this is one of my favorite series and I do vigorously recommend it.

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