Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grave Witch, by Kalayna Price

I'd been trying to read one of my library books, but couldn't give it the attention it deserved - it was a fairy tale retelling, and I realized I'm still in the mood for the strong, female, first-person narration of urban fantasy.

The kind that isn't just vampire porn, I mean. Since, as far as I can tell, the genre is overloaded with vampire porn, I've sworn off picking up random urban fantasy books; last night I did a lot of poking around on the Goodreads/LibraryThing/Amazon reviews to hunt up a new book to read. I found four that had really good reviews and sounded interesting, read their samples, and liked Grave Witch's best.

It's an interesting world: no vampires, no werewolves, just fae and witches. Alex Craft is (SURPRISE!) a grave witch: she can raise the shade of the dead, allowing them to speak to the living. She's got a private business, and is hoping to someday work for the police system, if the courts ever resolve to allow the dead's testimony as evidence. I think that concept is pretty cool. The story at hand revolves around some homicide victims whose raising does not go well, and the shitstorm they are a result of.

I liked it; I give it a thumbs up and intend to buy the second one (which is a quicker approval rating than I've given some other series[es?] that I like).

It made me wonder, though: are love triangles an inescapable feature of the genre? Does every heroine have two (or more) hotties she must choose between? Mercy Thompson has Samuel and Adam; October Daye has Tybalt and Connor; Sookie Stackhouse has Bill and Sam; et cetera. I'm not sure I've seen an urban fantasy without this feature. (Not that I have dipped my toes very deeply in the genre, due to the aforementioned wariness of vampire porn.)

Alex Craft has her homicide detective, and Death. Death! Who is kind of awesome actually, and I'm looking forward to reading more about him, but I have to wonder: how much of a real relationship could you have with a dude who is basically your imaginary friend? It's not like you can take him out to dinner, introduce him to your buddies, convince your mother/girlfriends that you really don't need to go looking for a man. Awkward.

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