Lire, powerful Seattle psychic and clairvoyant could really use some down time after narrowly surviving a traumatic and near-death experience – especially since she now has 3 new psychic powers to try to assimilate even while she’s frightened of some of the new things she can do.
But there are ongoing effects – the demon Paimon still has forged a link with Lire and is driving her to act to save the world; if she can actually trust a word he says. Invisius is still trying to snare Lire in its own secret machinations…
And then the sidhe appear.
This book seems to be moving in a very different direction, while still using the wonderfully rich world and excellent characters we had in the last book (I loved them so very much).
In the last book the focus was on a demonically manipulated serial killer and, lurking behind him, the sneaky and manipulative Invisius organisation with its mind readers, diviners and the ability to control people’s thoughts. It was a dire threat to face, but Lire had friends and allies and we were all set up to face it
This book takes a sharp turn – and a much broader focus. This brings in the fae and the demons in a much larger extent and we have some wonderful expansions of the world building with both creatures being referenced and developed including an excellent and original reason for why both species actually want to reach Earth (I think this is especially important because so much of the genre works by relying on past assumptions of genre staples. Demons want to invade this world? Why? Because it’s what demons do, right?). It upgrades the epicness of the series and puts things in a far more important context. This is no longer just Lire’s story, but a story on which the world rests.
But Lire is still front and centre of it – her story is still central. We still have Lire getting though her life, excellently handling her psychic abilities that have now grown so greatly and her own self-doubts and worries about that. There’s the added pressure of her normal life being almost unsupportable through all this pressure – even well meaning pressure – and her growing frustration with the very nature of prophecy. Various beings have decided she is the Chosen One to save them all and she has not the time, patience or confidence for such pronouncements. Especially since prophecy is being used as a stick to goad her or a justification for other’s meddling. No matter what the prophecies say, this is Lire’s life and she has no wish to throw it away or twist it irreparably because “it is written”.
It’s still about her which is excellent – because Lire is an awesome character.
One thing the new, epic and fascinating plot lines have done though is brush the old plot lines aside a little… clumsily. I felt that we kind of raced to the new paradigm and the old one was hastily put to bed and banished into the background.
I do find Lire to be annoyingly nice at times. In particular she’s almost supernaturally forgiving and understanding. Especially towards Danny and Kieran. Yes both of them have been put in awkward situations like Lire, but the situations they’ve been put in have caused them to directly affect Lire’s life. Danny has invaded the minds of people round her, changed their lives, rearranged her neighbours, her work and regularly kept secrets from her. Kieran was sent to seduce her (which is a very very broad definition of what he was expected to do) and fought with her while Maeve did her thing with Vince. Sure they are in terrible circumstances and are acting with the very best of intentions but I think Lire is being something of a saint to be as forgiving and understanding as she is. I would definitely have stabbed a few people with the silverware over dinner by now.
I feel like there’s some severe downplaying of what’s happening to Vince. A lot of the framing is about how he has left Lire and isn’t interested in her or has otherwise betrayed her trust or wasn’t that into her (and there was certainly some indication that he wasn’t that invested before this so it’s not without reason); but Maeve has the demonstrated woo-woo power to sexually enthral people. We saw this in Lire’s reaction to Kieran and her outright accusation of attempted rape, we saw Maeve use her power. To present Vince this way is to miss the more likely scenario – that he is being magically raped. This is even more problematic when Lire outright says “I don’t think it’s even possible to rape a guy.” Yes, it is. If you have sex with someone without their consent, it’s rape – their gender is irrelevant.