16 April, 2012

Review - Unclean Spirits (Black Sun's Daughter #1) by M.L.N. Hanover

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.

Jayné quickly 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 "friends."

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.

Hanover/Abraham 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.

Unclean Spirits 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 themselves.

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.

And just remember, stay tramp-stampy my friends.

3.5 out of 5 Stars (Really liked it)

The author's website can be found here.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher


Beth D. said...

The opening of this review is priceless! I read and reviewed this one a while back. Truthfully now after having finished it and reviewed it I have to say it wasn't that memorable. I am finding a lot of Urban Fantasy stuff is starting to run together for me. A few on the other hand really stick out. Nice review!

Beth ^_^

Bryce L. said...

Thanks Beth. I've heard that US is pretty typical of urban fantasies, but I don't read a whole lot of it, not that I don't like it. There's just not enough time! :)

RedEyedGhost said...

Unclean Spirits is pretty standard urban fantasy, but it really starts to become a special series as it progresses. Killing Rites was one of the best books I read last year and I can't wait for Graveyard Child to come out later this year.

Bryce L. said...

I'm insanely interested to see where this series goes from here. I'll think I'll have to get back to this series sooner than expected, thanks.