4 of 5 stars
I discovered urban fantasy after reading the Sookie Stackhouse series and then reading Felicia Day’s post about the genre. But after reading a book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and not liking it, I wondered if maybe that genre just wasn’t for me. Luckily, I gave it another try and started Storm Born, the first book in the Dark Swan series.
Storm Born stars Eugenie Markham, a typical 26 year old girl with typical 26 year old girl problems, but with an atypical job — she’s a shaman. She banishes fairies, spirits, and various other-worldly creatures from her world as a profession. When I first read that description, I was highly skeptical. It sounded like bad fan-fiction.
But I have to say, now I’m hooked. Richelle Mead writes an easy to read introduction to the series. Her characters, even the fairies (called gentry in these novels) are believable in their interactions and their dialogue flows naturally and even comically in some parts. Best of all, there’s a lot of timely humor and self-referential jokes with regards to the fantasy series. It’s hard not to like a book that makes fun of the genre it belongs to.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good. Some parts were rough to read, and not rough in a good way like the steamy love scenes Eugenie partakes in. Without going into spoilers, when Eugenie Markham learns the truth of her profession the explanation about why she never thought about it was so corny and such a cop out that I almost put the book down. The plot device used is about as unbelievably coincidental as the amnesiac protagonist in role playing games. I’m glad I continued to read the book since the events that followed made up for it, but I’m still a bit miffed that the title of this book was such a spoiler.
Even though I was apprehensive about the book in the beginning, all doubts melted away after I got to the last page. The book makes urban fantasy believable without making the story seem too realistic or explaining too many things away. For me, a fantasy book is good if when I get to the last page, I wish that something like what I just read could really happen.