Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Poison Fruit—Jacqueline Carey



Call me crazy, but I just don't get the whole concept of a war of choice. I mean, war's awful, right? I guess at some point there's a choice involved in everything, but when it comes to war, it seems to me it should be the absolute last resort. And it's a choice that should only be made for majorly compelling reasons, like defending your loved ones, or at least a grand humanitarian cause, not some trumped up excuse to carry out a political agenda that turns out to be totally ill-conceived. 
But hey, that's just the opinion of one lone hell-spawn. Humanity's been waging war against itself since the dawn of recorded history, so maybe I'm missing something. All I know is I'm glad it's a choice I'd never have to make. (28)

Warning: As always, there may be spoilers.

I LOVE this series. Is it going to go down in the annals of history as a modern age classic? Well, probably not because it's urban fantasy. Is it well written, laugh-out-loud funny, and thoughtfully constructed? Absolutely.

I read the first two books in this Agents of Hel trilogy, Dark Currents

and Autumn Bones with Vaginal Fantasy in October 2013. (I also just recently finished Carey's Kushiel's Dart, which is a whole different beast and series but just as fabulous. Vaginal Fantasy read it somewhere towards the beginning of the club, before I was reading along with them.) Anyway, this third book came out last fall. It just so happened that it was suggested as an alt alt book for Vaginal Fantasy for December, and coincidentally my hold came available at the library after what seemed like an eternity. I feel like I waited forever, but it ended up being perfect timing.

The basic premise is this: Daisy Johanssen is a hell-spawn who serves as Hel's (the Norse goddess of the underworld) liaison to the human community in small town Pemkowet, Michigan. Pemkowet is one of several areas in the world which has supernatural and paranormal beings coexisting with humans, and Daisy essentially helps keep the peace, allotting justice as needed. The strange happenings in the first two books finally come to a head in this final installment of the story, including the culmination of the love triangle. (Daisy is being wooed—I use that term loosely—by two eligible gentleman: Cody Fairfax, member of Pemkowet PD and secret werewolf, and Stefan, the charming and ageless ghoul.)

After a year since I'd read the last one in the series, there were a couple of things that I had forgotten about; mostly, I'm speaking of Daisy's tail. As a hell-spawn, she looks mostly human on the outside, with the exception of the half-foot long tail that she occasionally tucks between her legs and which swishes back and forth when powerful emotions emerge. That's not to say that I don't appreciate Daisy's tail; it was just something I had forgotten about.

One thing I really appreciate about this series is the pop culture references. There are fairly regular references to Gilmore Girls, as Daisy and her mom have a very Rory/Lorelai kind of relationship...with the exception that charming Christopher on Gilmore Girls has been replaced with a creepy, predatory demon. There are also several references to Game of Thrones.

Daisy also doesn't take herself too seriously. There's a moment in this book where she says that she feels like she's having a very Mary Sue moment in her own life. (If you don't know what a Mary Sue is, read this.) I liked the acknowledgement of that: a time when things seemed to be working out too well or she was trying to have too much of a "normal" time with supernatural beings.

I'm disappointed that the series is over, because it was quick to get through, which was good because once I picked up a book, I couldn't put it down. But I thought the ending was a great resolution that served the series well. Plus, I'm not ashamed to say the end battle brought a bit of a tear to my eye.