I don't read a lot of Urban Fantasy, but when I do, I read the Dresden Files.
Now, I read The Black Sun's Daughter as well.
Unclean Spirits [US - only $6.00] [UK] [Kindle]
is the first of M.L.N. Hanover's Black Sun's Daughter series. As you
may or may not know, M.L.N. Hanover is the pseudonym of the author
Daniel Abraham (Abraham talks about his many pseudonyms here).
I find he does a great job separating his different writing interests
(Abraham - epic fantasy, Hanover - urban fantasy, Half of James S.A.
Corey - science fiction) by using the whole pseudonym scheme, letting
his readers know what they're in for.
Anyway, Unclean Spirits
follows Jayné Heller, a twenty-something girl who inherits everything
from her uncle, the black sheep of the family, who has recently died.
Jayné quickly finds out that her uncle, Eric, was involved in not only
some very dangerous, but highly unbelievable (i.e., supernatural)
dealings, which she has now inherited as well.
meets up with Aubrey, a male friend of Eric's whom she had thought was
his lover, who later develops into a love interest. She also learns of
of Eric's other friends who are immediately called in to help when she
is attacked checking out her newly inherited condo. This after just
meeting a walking dead guy (not quite zombie), another of Eric's
In this urban fantasy, the supernatural exists as
demons who "ride" humans, essentially taking them over for their own,
usually evil, purposes. Jayné finds out she has some type of power of
her own, although I'm looking forward to finding out more about this. We
only get a small glimpse in this installment.
quickly dives you into the story, even introducing our main protagonist
in a clever way - she arrives to find someone waiting with a sign - and
helps us pronounce her often mispronounced name. We're then plunged into
the thick of things quite speedily and yet completely logically -
nothing happens just to provide more action.
is a hard book to put down, not only because of the seamless action and
plot development, but also because his prose is clever and compelling. It
even helps that the print is quite large, the pages almost turn
Having known that Hanover is indeed a man, as I
mentioned earlier, it was a bit odd at first reading about the thoughts
of this first-person narrated female character, Jayné. I'm sorry if I
ruin that for you here. Once I got into the swing of things, however,
it's not bad at all and for a guy reading this, it worked well. I'm sure it was completely my own preconceptions that were getting in the way of my enjoyment. I'm very
curious to know if women find this difficult at all.
The one thing I didn't
love, because honestly everything else was spot-on, was the love
interest between Jayné and Aubrey. They're in a very intense
situation, trying to keep themselves alive and probably many others, and
yet they start to fancy each other. This, in itself, is quite normal
and often used, but they even go so far as to go out on a date while
they're trying to stay protected and undercover. The complications that develop are
great, but I as I said, I didn't love this part, but that means I didn't
completely hate it either.
If you're an Urban Fantasy fan, Unclean Spirits
is a series not to miss. If you're not an Urban Fantasy fan, maybe
now's the time to become one. As the intro to this review says, I don't
read a lot of Urban Fantasy, but I really enjoyed my time in Jayné's
world. It's fun and full of action, lots of great characters and ideas
and a pace that doesn't let up.