Why I Read It:
This summer, I read My Life as a White Trash Zombie
and Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues
, both by Rowland. I enjoyed them so much that I decided to try out her Karen Gillian series as well.
You'll have to pardon how... sloppy this review is likely to be. I haven't written a review since the end of August, and that's around when I finished this book as well. So, I'm a little rusty and my memory of this book are lacking (especially since I felt pretty ambivalent about the whole thing, but more on that in a bit.)
All right, so, this book. It starts off with a bang and I felt like we started off on the right foot. But things got kind of rocky when Karen accidentally summons the dangerous demon Rhyzkhal. At first, Karen thinks she's in horrible danger, but then... they have sex? It was clear that Karen was having some kind of magic being worked on her, but the whole scene made me incredibly uncomfortable. The way that their.. err.. relationship developed over the course of the novel continued to creep me out as well. Karen knows that Rhyzkhal is dangerous, but she likes that his fascination with sexxing her makes her feel wanted. Just... I dunno, I understand the feeling I guess, but the whole thing made me feel kind of icky, which was an deterrent of my wholly enjoying this novel. I do want to note however, that Rhyzkhal is never presented as "sexy", really, and by the end of the book he's obviously quite dangerous and not someone to be lusted after. I appreciated that, though I have a feeling that will change in later books.
Thankfully Rhyzkhal isn't actually around all that often which allowed for the plot to focus more on its urban fantasy/mystery elements. Since it's been so long since I read this I actually don't remember the details of the mystery. I do remember that I didn't guess who was behind the whole thing (I actually don't remember anymore who was behind it... but I was preoccupied with moving and starting grad school when I read this so I'm going to blame that), and that I liked the plot. Something I greatly appreciated was how the police procedures were explained and used in the plot -- it turns out that Rowland used to be very involved in law enforcement and it shows (it turns out she also used to be a morgue assistant, which is evident in her White Trash Zombie series.)
I remember liking Kara okay. A part of me could relate to her because of her loneliness and isolation and I liked that she has a female friend who she's close to (though sort of superficially, since she only really sees said female friend at work.) Kara is passionate about her job, which is largely dominated by males, so watching her navigate through this and persevering makes her likable and endeared her to me.
The magic system present was kind of cool. There are definitely other UF series that have demons in them, but I don't recall ever coming across summoners, so that was fun.
Overall though, while was fun, I don't remember ever feeling like I *loved* it. I haven't felt the need to read the rest of the series (though I may one day, I'm in no rush to do so). which I think demonstrates my overall ambivalence to it, but it's certainly not bad.Final Verdict:
If you're into UF, this may be worth checking out though it definitely didn't wow me. It was good fun, but I've forgotten almost everything about it (which is why this review is so sloppy. Sorry!) I remember it having a decent mystery, the police procedures are described realistically, Kara is a likable MC and watching her push her struggles made it easy to root for her. I may check out the rest of the series one day, but I'm in no particular rush to do so at the moment.