My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Despite the cutesy cover (honestly, why does the girl look like a Bratz Doll?) I picked this book up at the bargain bin at my local book store. My reasoning? I'm writing a lot of modern fantasy and I wanted to see what others were doing in that genre.
I wasn't disappointed. There were times when I wondered if I was going to end up with another Twilight, but I found the protagonist much more likeable than She Who Must Not Be Named. Her reliance on her vampire boyfriend makes sense: she hasn't discovered her own powers yet, and he's the only way she can enter the faerie court and solve the mystery. But I don't expect her to need him to come to her rescue forever. By the end of this book it's already established that she will be trained in the use of her magic, and develop her own role within the world of the elemental community. I did hope she would play more of an active role in this first book, however. There are a few moments near the end when she takes the initiative (for better or for worse) but doesn't end up with a central role in the final conflict. (I did, in spite of this, enjoy the book's climax. The action was well-paced and the descriptions were good. The resolution was satisfactory.)
Some reviewers have complained about the tangents or inappropriate jokes during the sex scenes. All I have to say about those is that if I wanted the kind of sex scenes from a book with Fabio on the cover, I would've picked up a book with Fabio on the cover. I liked the sense of humour throughout the book, including her tangents and cheesy lines. Ryu, the boyfriend, seems a little too perfect, but I suspect we'll get to see different facets of him as the series progresses. I suspect Jane may outgrow him.
I liked the portrayal and descriptions of the various kinds of mythical creatures. It was great to see beings who are under-represented, as it were, in a lot of the genre. Or others who are not, but are described here much differently.
Also, as a writer of LGBT-inclusive fiction, I was glad to see that not only was there a lesbian couple represented, the protagonist herself was not at all bothered by her own occasional same-sex attractions. It was just something that was there, and she neither dwells on it nor dismisses it, overall.
Ultimately this is bubble gum. Something to enjoy with a glass of your favourite summer drink, and not think about too damn much.
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