Title: Unclean Spirits
* Series: The Black Sun's Daughter
Author: M.L.N. Hanover
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: Mass Market Paperback; 400
Release Date: July 28, 2009 (original December 2, 2008)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of UF. Anyone who loves kick ass heroines.
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Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.
Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.
Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely....
What do you do when the world you thought you knew turns out to be a load of proverbial BS? Jayné definitely knows how that feels. Starting with her Uncle Eric's mysterious death, it all spirals down from there. Family secrets anyone? I don't read a lot of Urban Fantasy normally, but I was willing to give Unclean Spirits a shot to step out of my box. Thank goodness I did! This book was everything I wanted it to be.
M.L.N. Hanover writes a character that is strong enough to face what comes, but still just flawed enough to be believable. Jayné isn't without her weak points. Love still affects her, as well as concern for her companions. She's just trying to get by the best she can. In fact, Jayné still isn't sure who her uncle was, or for that matter who she really is. I loved that she had the ability to go from normal to kick ass heroine in a matter of seconds when faced with danger. Unbelievable? Maybe a little, but this is fantasy! Jayné is my kind of woman!
There is just enough sizzle and motion to keep things interesting, as Jayné navigates her new upside down world. Her companions are just as well written and fascinating as she is, and that is a fact that I really fell in love with. Aubery, Chogyi Jake, Midian and Ex all have their own quirks and their own flaws. Each one of these characters is completely easy to become involved with. In fact, I read this book through nonstop because I absolutely had to find out what happened to them. Let's just say that this plot isn't just fast moving, it's like lightning. Strap yourself in.
For those of you who do read more of this genre, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what Hanover has offered up in this series. Sure there is your standard fare of vampires, demons and the like, but also a nice twist. These baddies don't just exist on their own. Oh no, they ride. Imagine being trapped inside your own body but unable to do anything at all of your own free will. Imagine if you will, a being that is hundreds of years old, bloodthirsty, and vengeful living inside your head. Anyone could be hosting a rider. Your mom. Your sister. Even your grandma. Welcome to Jayné's world.
As a reader who doesn't often read Urban Fantasy, mostly because I haven't really been introduced to any of it until recently, I have to say that M.L.N. Hanover definitely blew me away! If this is what all UF contains, count me in. Epic battles, a kick ass heroine, smoking scenes and, of course, a rip roaring plot line that keeps you reading well into the night. My hat is off to the author. I'm looking forward to some more Jayné and soon!
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.