Friday, May 18, 2012
Blood on the Bayou by Stacey Jay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I still really like this series a lot. This one wasn't as dark as the first one in some ways. People who had issues with Annabelle and her imperfections (i.e. drunkenness) might be more comfortable with her this time around because she is trying to clean up her act a bit. But I like this imperfect woman and her struggles are a big part of what make the series interesting and different for me and I hope she doesn't become too idealized too quickly. Her struggles and imperfections are what I related to in the first book.
Annabelle has had a lot to deal with. First, there is the basic premise of this world, it's a really stressful and frightening place to live in in many way, a sort of apocalyptic meets urban fantasy setting. A lot of people who live in the fairy-infested area where Annabelle lives have become addicted to sleeping pills because they have anxiety issues and nightmares - who wouldn't? And then there's her history. She's insecure, she drinks too much (less in this book), she too needs sleeping pills to deal with her crazy life (who doesn't?), oh, and did I mention that she's insecure? She's also dealing with having been rejected by her family, not trusted and dumped by the man she loved after his brother raped her, and probably has some depressive or anxiety issues (my diagnosis, just a guess). She's kind of a mess. But she's also smart as a whip (a former med student), brave, loving, generous and funny, loves good food (hot wings!), and generally the kind of gal that I'd like to be pals with.
As for this book specifically, in an attempt to be spoiler free, I'll just say that it was a study in betrayal and secrets. By the middle of the book it at least appeared that everyone that Annabelle ever cared about, except Deedee, had betrayed her. She felt completely isolated and alone. Her lovers, the people she'd come to think of as family, and even her bosses, had secrets that hurt her feelings and some of which threatened her life. There was a lot going on in this book but I really liked the way it all wove together. Now that I'm thinking about it, I never once rolled my eyes and thought that it was too much coincidence, or that certain people shouldn't have had any reason to know each other, none of the things that irritate me sometimes on other books. There was one person who did have a big secret that was revealed that could have been an eye-roller but it was built up to enough that it fine.
I really liked the layers that were revealed about the fairies in this book. I wondered in the first book about the the author's use of the word fairy for the creatures since they seemed to be just mindless insect-like animals at first. But I really enjoyed everything that was revealed about them in this book. And Grandpa Slake was just so creepy. I was intrigued by the hints of information about the Gentry and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out more in the next book.
It wasn't a perfect book. I was kind of surprised at some of the choices the author made when it came to the romances. I'm not sure Annabelle came off as positively as she could have. (Not that the guys looked so good either, let me tell you!) And I'm not quite sure about the overall change in Annabelle's character. Not that she isn't still screwed up, she's still making mistakes and drinking a bit too much, but she felt a bit too suddenly heroic, and yet judgmental of the guys' mistakes at the same time, it just felt odd sometimes. But I'm chalking it up to second book growing pains. Overall I like this world and this character and the author's writing very much and I'm looking forward to book three.
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