May 12, 2010

Review--Death Blows


FBI profiler Jace Valcheck was pulled into this parallel realm to hunt for Aristotle Stoker, a human serial killer who preys on vampires and werewolves. Now she works for the National Security Agency of the Unnatural States of America--and her boss is a vampire.

At a bizarre crime scene, Jace finds a bloodsucker murdered by magic, fried to the bone and dressed in the costume of the comic book hero the Flash--a character who isn't supposed to exist here. Comic books have been outlawed for their powers, including crossover spells like the one that transported Jace to this world. Soon, she's following a trail of dead bodies into the sinister underworld of black-market comics--where a deranged madman gives a new meaning to the term "super-villain"...

It's been a long time since I entered D.D. Barant's alternate reality where humans are outruled by the supernatural and I've missed it. It took me a little bit to remember all the characters and their relationships since I've been reading and doing a million other things, but it was still a great read.

Death Blows has Jace taking a break, so to speak, from her main case, finding the serial killer mentioned on the BOC, when the more pressing matter comes up. It was quite an interesting read with the spin on comic books and superheroes as are mentioned in the BOC as well. We might not think much of them here in our reality, ;) but over in the otherworld, they are banned yet still exist.

I don't want to go into too much detail because then I will end up revealing a spoiler, but the comic books play an important role in this novel as do the superheroes. We learn a lot more about comic books and superheroes than in this book. These superheroes are definitely different than Vicki Pettersson's, but different in a good way. We see them more as the traditional type of comic book heroes.

The mystery element was definitely good. I honestly didn't see the identity of the bad guy coming, of course as Jace was making the conclusions I was following in her direction. Some times I can spot the bad guy or make a guess, but this time I was on level with Jace's thinking.

Jace is a great protagonist. She is a stranger in this world where humans make up 1% of the population and yet she has some authority being a police officer in some way. Her partner, a golem named Charlie makes for great bantering. He's pretty funny and they have the nice friendship/partnership relationship going on. Jace has a lot of gumption and yet she still has her moments of panic, making her real. We can all be brave but faced with real and scary danger we do freak out and Jace does this. Well not a big freak out, but still her fear shows which makes her real. As I said. :)

The relationships she has in this book are definitely good. I still can't help wonder what her relationship with Cassius is. He's her boss, but there's some heat between them or maybe friction? I can't decide if they have a spark or not. Because when you look at Jace with her friend De. Pete, you see something different as well despite theirs being a mutual friendship, they have a deeper friendship than she does with Cassius, of course then again, he is her boss.

Besides the main mystery there are a few other secrets that I won't go too far into, but they are definitely interesting. One was wayyy interesting and I am still trying to figure out its meaning. The hard part to understand about the book is the science part to it, the explaining of this and that in relation to the alternate realities and the traveling between them and other aspects that are related to it. I can't fully explain it right without revealing something that happened, so I won't. When I was a little confused I tried to stop analyzing it and just trust the characters, they know what they're saying. But it was still good, just trying to understand the mechanics of this alternate world is a little complicated and I can't imagine how Barant can write something like that, that takes true talent!

The ending was surprising as well yet I don't know what to make of it yet. I just finished reading, so it's all still sinking in. When or if you read it, you'll understand what I mean. Certain characters that came about in the ending make things a little muddled to understand. I understand it on the basic level, but not on the deeper level.

Ignore my rambling. I'm typing what I'm thinking and trying to make sense of everything. Anyway, it was a great read. I love the supernatural and reading this book where the supernatural are dominant is quite thrilling. Can't say I would want to visit it since humans are treated nicely all the time, but still it's nice visiting in this safe way.

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