Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Charlie Madigan series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the second book in the Charlie Madigan series. The third book is already released and is titled, The Hour of Dust and Ashes. The fourth book will be titled, Shadows Before the Sun, and is scheduled for a July 2012 release. I enjoyed this book; it is a solid urban fantasy and was a good addition to the Charlie Madigan series.
Charlie is struggling to learn to control her new powers and is learning to live in a city covered in darkness. The war between Charbydon and Elysians/Humans is tipping toward Charbydon’s favor because of the all encompassing darkness. Charlie is drawn into more conflict when she finds that a serial killer is on the loose and killing high level Elysians. Her and her siren partner Hank; have to figure out what is going on. This may not be a simple matter of a serial killer on the loose; it may be a battle for the city itself.
This was an excellent novel; I really enjoy the complex world in this series. You basically have three alternate worlds or realities: Charbydon (hell-like), Elysium (heaven-like) and Earth (stuck between the two).
I liked Charlie better as a heroine in this novel than in the first one. Charlie is tough, but she does a pretty good job balancing taking care of her daughter with her job as an investigator and her complicated home life. At times though she is a bit too stereotypical of all the other urban fantasy heroines out there.
Hank really comes into his own in this novel; he adds humor but also serves not only as Charlie’s friend and co-worker, but also as a solid source of her support for her. Charlie’s daughter, Emma, continues to steal the show at points in this book…Emma is just a fabulous character and is developing interesting powers of her own.
Rex, the Revenant that has possessed Charlie’s husband’s body, is also a surprisingly wonderful character. He is the one who helps Charlie keep her home life together and he has surprising depth. So basically all of the characters are interesting to read about and add a lot to the story.
The plot is very well put together; I love how these books all starts with something seemingly simple…like a serial killer and then gets more and more complex until the whole city is at stake.
The book ends well with the major story wrapped up but more left for future books. The book is very easy to read, very well written, and incredibly engaging. I had trouble putting it down and really enjoyed reading it.
Overall this was a solid addition to the Charlie Madigan series. There is some excellent world-building and I enjoy the complexity of the world presented here. I really enjoyed all of the characters as well. I like how these stories start with one simple investigation and then building into something epic.
The only thing I didn’t love about this novel was that Charlie is a bit too much of a stereotypical urban fantasy heroine. Still, she is growing on me and I am starting to enjoy her as a character. I would definitely recommend this series to urban fantasy fans out there. I also recommend the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, the Elemental Assassin series by Esterp, and The Disillusionists Trilogy by Carolyn Crane.