January 23rd, 2011

Jane True series books 1-3, Nicole Peeler (kindle) (Spoilers)

Since people tend to find these kinds of reviews by googling, rather than being regular readers, I'm going to try to be nice and warn that Hic Jacet Spoileris.

The books are:

_Tempest Rising_
_Tracking the Tempest_
_Tempest's Legacy_

Peeler's paranormal series contains many of the usual elements (shifters, vampires, elves, djinn, selkies, gnomes, goblins, etc. all by different names, all with powers that differ wildly from the mythology old and new, etc.), right down to a romantic triangle between our heroine (half heroine, half Selkie, all Jane True) and her first (Ryu, the slick investigator not-a-vampire player) and second (Anyan, part time wolf, part time looks human, all Warrior) boyfriends.

Jane's mama, the Selkie, showed up in the tiny town of Rockabill, ME (Note: does not exist, is near Eastport and the whirlpool Old Sow), hooked up with Jane's papa, produced Jane, and disappeared 6 ish years later. Jane is raised with another abandoned kiddie, Jason, by Jane's papa, Jason's grandparents and so forth. Jane and Jason get all hot and heavy as adolescents. Jane has a secret that only her papa knows: Jane likes to go swimming at all times of year, right up to the edge of the whirlpool. Jason stumbles over her clothes and goes to rescue her and died in the attempt. While Jane is in the no-we-won't-let-you-kill-yourself room at the hospital, Anyan shows up to tell her war stories to cheer her up. She's heavily drugged and thinks it's all a dream.

That's all backstory.

The story proper starts when Jane finds _another_ body in Old Sow, and drags it out so it'll be found. It's Peter Jakes, a visitor in town who has been asking a lot of questions. Turns out he's been looking for Jane for someone who has been looking for lots of people who then turn up dead. And Jane starts to learn all kinds of things. Like, she's being protected by a gnome and a sea pony. And a lot of the (very few) people in town who don't treat her like a pariah are also supernatural. She learns this when a supernatural investigator (Ryu) shows up to give her a tour of her new/old life. Also, to get seriously funky with her.

They think they've figured out what's going on, but then more bodies show up, and they go to Canada to report to the Alfar (elves), Ryu's bosses. Jane is convinced that the king's second is behind it all, but Ryu cannot accept that, even after the king's seconds sort-of-pet nagas turn out to be responsible for the deaths. Bloodshed ensues.

That's book 1.

Book 2 is Ryu inviting Jane to Boston for V-weekend, and all shit breaking loose. Turns out they _really_ hadn't found all of Jarl's operation, and there's a crazy half-ifrit running around killing people and burning things down. Also, there's a lot of other burning and killing going on that sort of looks like the ifrit's doing, but sort of doesn't. The bad guys play the good guys for puppets, but Jane finds a way out of the trap they are in at the end. Unfortunately, the body count -- human, halfling and pureblood -- is horrifying. No, it really is. I'm not happy with Peeler killing people off in this way at this rate. Also, the errors in this book are just annoying. OTOH, I'm really happy with how Peeler sets Ryu up to go down.

In book 1, Jane is fascinated by Ryu's lovemaking, by his door-opening, coat putting on (and zipping up), shopping, blah, blah, bleeping, blah. Ryu is doing the full on trad male courtship ritual -- the one it's not only hard to imagine a guy doing any more, it's impossible to imagine a reasonable woman enjoying it. You can sort of see why he might think this is appropriate for Jane (works in a bookstore, takes care of ailing papa, serious cook, short, "built for comfort not for speed", etc.). Equally, you can Jane's mixed feelings are evident to everyone except Ryu, altho he is not the only one surprised when he dumps his controlling ass at the end of the book.

Book 3 is Jane taking her training much more seriously, Iris getting kidnapped and Jane discovering she isn't as safe in the ocean as she had thought she was. They leave the Territory controlled by this group of Alfar and go to the Borderlands, where Anyan has extensive contacts and Ryu has none. There's an operation where they go in with guns to a clinic run by the bad guys that is so clearly look! I did research! that it didn't really feel right. I understand that everything else Jane had done so was essentially a recon mission (or wait-in-the-car-where-it's-safe) gone horribly awry, but acting like she was some kind of virgin when it came to combat operations seemed a little weird.

They finally decide to use Jane as bait (for suitable definitions of they), and in the course of doing so, they get someone to testify to who was behind the Evil Pseudo-Science and discover that Iris is _not_ actually dead. By this point, even Jane recognizes she has a truly amazing amount of kind of super-powers. Oh, and the Goddess shows up. Well, she's an "Original", but essentially, goddess.

Book 4 is in the offing. If this is the kind of thing you like, it's quite good. By book 3, Peeler had figured out the air travel problem and invoked a private/chartered jet (altho she seems not entirely clear on the difference, and really vague on the internal layout and possibilities of a Gulfstream).

Recent Activities: Sick

We've all been sick. For days. Between snowstorms and holidays, T. hasn't been going to school much. Some cancellations mean that A. hasn't been seeing as many people. We are all heartily sick and tired of being sick and tired. Also, fevers. Nothing serious, but it turns out that these days when I get above 100, I start feeling a loss of equilibrium. :l Could be worse, I know; I got very lucky with the whole vertigo thing.

While we've been home, I've been reading trashy fiction and poking at ancestry.com. We got a bunch of R.'s family in. I've got lineage on all four of my grandparents and many of my grandparents going back at least to the early 1800s and I've still got a few lines going back in the early 18th century, at which point I don't really feel all that strong a connection and it's hard to continue. Looks like there will be hobby material here for, essentially, ever.

With R.'s family, we're not doing quite as well; we're waiting for some of the stuff put together by his great-aunt L., which R.'s mother has. R. thought his uncle put it together; I was excited to hear it was older than that. It looks like a bunch of his ancestry is Dutch and German in the Passaic Valley, and we can probably go a little ways back on that; the Irish stuff is trickier. Maybe in the next decade, Ireland will do something like what the Dutch have done with genlias.

It is odd, however, to go from not even knowing my maternal grandmother's parents names to having exchanged messages over on ancestry.com with some of the relatives on that branch. It's even odder to realize that the easiest genealogical research to do online these days is the stuff that was toughest to do before: too old for anyone alive to remember anything about, but not old enough (or important enough) to be in a printed book. Ah, the wonder that is the US Census. If only I could figure out how to navigate more of the national archives online.