Tuesday, June 19, 2012
A Shot in the Dark by K.A. Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really dug this book. It had me completely engrossed right away, right back in the world without any hesitation. Jesse's voice is so authentic, I never for a second doubted that this was a real guy and that these things were really happening, just like in the first book. Stewart has a real gift for making the things she's writing about seem completely real, whether it's something that is based in reality, like Jesse's home life or the Colorado woods, or something as terrifying as his nightmare come back to life to hunt him down again. I like the fact that when he gets hurt, he's hurt, he's no superhero. He has nightmares because of the terrifying things he's had to do and seen, but he still keeps trying to help people because he's one of the few people who's aware of the problem with demons and has the ability to do something about it and he thinks it's important work. He's a champion by choice, not by some magical calling or fate or destiny. He's human. It's also a terrific balance of banter. action and darkness, keeping things from getting too serious or too silly in any moment. And Axel is a great character, of course, seeing how that's unfolding and trying to figure out what's going on in the demon world is fascinating.
There is an inevitable comparison to Jim Butcher and Harry Dresden because Jesse is a guy and there a bantering, witty style. And if you like Harry then you may well enjoy this too, but it's not really the same thing. Sure, Jesse is tall and skinny and a bit awkward in some ways, and Harry does like to use a sword sometimes, but they're really totally different guys. Jesse is a modern samurai swordsman with tattoos, not a lick of magic, a happy marriage and a sweet five year-old daughter. Other than skinniness and a similarity in wit he really couldn't be any more different from Harry. There are tons of snarky urban fantasy heroines out there these days and plenty of room for all of them if they're well done. And there is definitely room for this samurai swordsman on my shelf as well, I'm a big fan and I can't wait for the next book to come out.
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