Kelly Gay's debut urban fantasy, The Better Part of Darkness earlier this year after hearing many intriguing reviews about a single-mom cop working in a city populated by two powerful, polar-opposite alien species. After meeting Charlie for myself, I found her extremely likable even if the story itself was somewhat slow-going. But I was more than ready to pick up the sequel, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, for the incredible cover art alone. All authors should be so lucky to have Chris McGrath in their corner. The man is a genius and I will fully admit to stroking my shiny copy on multiple occasions. Come on: just check out the detail on this bad boy.
Charlie Madigan may be one of the main reasons why the city of Atlanta has endured non-stop darkness for the past few weeks, but she's also trying to desperately fix it. As a special forces cop, Charlie and her siren partner Hank, are once again called to investigate a mysterious murder only to find that the victims include several high-ranking and highly-powerful off-worlders. Desperate to keep the news of this latest threat under wraps for fear of sparking an all-out war, Charlie and Hank begin searching for clues among the trails of left-over magic. And if the deaths themselves weren't enough to spur them on, the Druid King has set a time-limit on their solving the case before he exacts vengeance for himself. Tricky and delicate.
And if that wouldn't keep a girl busy enough, Charlie's facing some growing pains in her home life as well. Still clueless as how to tell her young daughter Emma that her ex chose to bargain his life with a revenant (who has since taken control of said body), she's flat-out shocked to discover her baby girl wielding some hefty magic of her own. Add in a vivacious sister who has suddenly gone off the deep-end after involuntarily becoming addicted to ash and a partner who'd like to turn their relationship to more than just a professional one and you've got a mess. Charlie's keeping it all together - but only just.
Once again, I was utterly enthralled by the myriad descriptions of the two alien races - the Elysians and Charybdons - and their mythologies. Kelly Gay has crafted an intensely detailed culture for both races and even though I was frantically trying to refresh my memory as to their names/beliefs for the first 50 pages or so, I was still fascinated by all the descriptions. Due to her newly altered DNA, Charlie's got a little bit of both races in her and the constant warring of the disparate magics would be enough to drive anyone crazy but she explains her confusion and self-doubt beautifully. That said, the pacing was still not what I would have liked - usually on the too slow side - but I did like the added bonus of a love-interest for Charlie. Romantic tension was basically zilch in The Better Part of Darkness and I was happy to see that was fixed for The Darkest Edge of Dawn. In all, a decidedly intriguing urban fantasy with characters to love; you know I'll be watching for book three.
series reading order:
~ The Better Part of Darkness - my review
~ The Darkest Edge of Dawn
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
All Things Urban Fantasy review
The Fiction Enthusiast review
Fiction Kingdom review
Lorri Jeanne review
Reading with Tequila review
book source: review copy from publisher