Monday, December 19, 2016

You Slay Me (Katie MacAlister)

You Slay Me
(The Aisling Grey, Guardian series, Book 1)
Katie MacAlister
Fiction, Fantasy/Romance
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: If Aisling Grey hadn't been desperate for money, she never would've taken a courier gig with her uncle. so she needs this first job - delivering an antique to a Parisian client - to go off without a hitch. Finding the client dead and having the antique stolen by a mysterious stranger lurking suspiciously at the scene isn't exactly helping... especially when she becomes the number one suspect. Whoever murdered the woman wanted it to look like an occult act, but Aisling refuses to believe there's anything to all that magic and demonology and talk of dragons walking the streets of Paris in human form. Now total strangers insist she's not only a "Guardian", whatever that is, but a born life-mate to a wyvern - as if! As she struggles to unravel the mysteries and dangers, Aisling is plunged into a world of magic she never knew existed, a world of demon lords and immortal beings and the world's sexiest, and least trustworthy, dragon: Drake Vireo, a man (er, wyvern) of many secrets. Who knew Paris in June would be hotter than Hades?

REVIEW: I needed something frothy and fun to distract me, so this supernatural romance looked like a good fit. Aisling's not always the brightest heroine, but she's not entirely worthless, having a fair bit of pluck and and often hilarious narrative voice. As for Drake, he's dangerous, domineering, and of course a perfect match to Aisling - much as she tries to deny it. The characters aren't especially deep, but often fun, particularly Aisling's first failed attempt at a demon minion (the talking dog, Jim, whose summoning was a lesson to the fledgling Guardian that cut-rate supplies in magic create cut-rate results.) The mystery relies on information about the "Otherworld," the hidden-in-plain-sight community of magic workers and immortal beings and such, that Aisling often doesn't have until someone helpfully informs her; it's less about solving the murder(s) than about Aisling being thrown into the deep end of destiny and struggling to stay afloat. Things move decently, with almost no dull moments, and the climax wraps up enough for satisfaction. I clipped it a half-star for Aisling being a little too clueless too often; she just plain doesn't know enough about magic in general or her role as Guardian in particular to solve problems without being led by others, which undercut some of her independence and gutsiness. I also felt the romance angle was a little iffy, almost like it was shoehorned in on top of everything else Aisling had to deal with. On the whole, though, I read it looking for fun escapism, and for the most part that's what I got - minor quibbles aside.

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