This book is: trying a bit too hard.
Other elements: badass, slightly-supernatural monster hunters; large-breasted warrior women; violent vampires.
Read it: If you like hard, gritty, violent action.
Overall rating: 4.25/10
This was one of those books that just didn’t quite work.
The concept appealed to me: ostracized ex-monster hunter comes out of semi-retirement to battle a mighty foe alongside new-found friends, one of whom is clearly a Potential Love Interest. The bad guys and the good guys have interesting powers which are often interestingly rooted in mythology.
The main characters themselves were rather cartoonish in their execution. The hero is an extremely macho, superhuman part-werewolf semi-superhero bartender with an unparalleled mastery of weapons and the fighting arts. The female lead is a tall, buxom, demi-goddess monster hunter/avenger/medium who works with the local police and engenders a lot of discussion about her breasts. The term “Mary-Sue” comes to mind in both cases – it feels a little like the author is writing his daydream version of himself and his perfect supernatural woman.
The violence is graphic and creative, the fights are bloody and often involve nudity, the women are well-endowed and bouncy. The main character is macho on top of macho on top of macho, a superhuman loner with an extensive knowledge of weapons and a mastery of battle skills. There is nudity, sex, torture, death, technology, explosives, fight scenes, vampires, werewolves, and a host of other creatures. And everything is written harshly; this is a story with a hard edge and a lot of attitude.
It’s not that James didn’t make the supernatural elements believable – his vampires are fascinating – but the heroes are just too over the top to believe. And if you don’t believe in a character it’s really hard to care about what happens to them.
My thanks to NetGalley and Orbit Books/Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review.