Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review | Greywalker by Kat Richardson

Kat Richardson
Greywalker #1
Published 2006 by Roc (Penguin)
Urban fantasy
2.5 stars

When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit ...strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.But Harper's not crazy. Her "death" has made her a Greywalker-able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts. Whether she likes it or not.

Bite-Sized Review
Greywaker was a decent read and a reasonable start to the series, but there wasn't much particularly memorable about it. However, it's pretty common for the first book in an urban fantasy series to be mediocre, so I'm curious enough to see what happens next.

-Being sensitive to the world of magic, the Grey, if you die is an interesting idea. It's not a story, but it's a cool aspect that helps explains why not everyone sees all the weird stuff going on.

-The "supernatural private investigator" angle is used so often because it works. No struggling to understand why the main character is involved with the problem of the week -- it's her job.

-Harper can take care of herself. I am really sick of female characters (especially in YA) who react to danger like Buttercup in the Fire Swamp (stand there and scream), so having a character who can investigate cases and come up with solutions is always a good start.

-I want to try the rest of this series. It has potential, and while that potential isn't fully realized in this book, I think it could be later on. It's a start.

Brussels Sprouts
-Greywalker had several different plot threads, which can go either well or badly depending on the author. Here I'm inclined to put it on the minus side, because while I love complexity, it didn't really seem organized. 

-I didn't feel much of a connection to Harper. The book is written in first person, but we don't really get much of Harper's thoughts other than confusion and frustration at her new abilities. While that's understandable, since she was thrown into this world with no idea it even existed, I hope that she's a little more open in later books.

-There wasn't much romance in this book, which was totally fine with me, but what was there was lukewarm at best. I just wasn't feeling it, which may sort of go back to my earlier point about not connecting with Harper.

-For a book that takes place in Seattle in 2006, the technology used is archaic. Harper has dial-up internet and a pager, and she doesn't seem to have a cell phone. She also has to call or visit people to find information that seems like it could be easily located with a simple Google search. I realize that books are often years in production, depending on the author, but really? Dial-up?

Recommended for
Fans of urban fantasy PI series like Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files and Seanan McGuire's October Daye, who don't mind slow starts and minimal early romance. At least, if the series gets better after this.

Longtime readers may noticed that I've changed up the review format a bit. I'd love any feedback on that as well as the actual review -- is everything clear? Do you like it? Is there more you want to know? I would appreciate any comments or suggestions.

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