Dark Currents (Agent of Hel #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Dark Currents: Agent of Hel - Jacqueline Carey

Daisy is the child of a demon, which means she has a constant temptation to embrace her vast potential power – and possibly end the world. This would be a bad thing

Unfortunately her job as Hel’s (that would be the Norse goddess Hel, not Hell) liaison to the Midwestern Eldritch resort town of Pemkowet gives her a lot of temptation – especially when the children of some angry right wingers get themselves killed and the grieving parents use it as a weapon to try and drive the Eldritch out of town.

This book is a classic “everything is real” Urban Fantasy world – so we have vampires, ghouls, werewolves, demons, angels and just about everything else. This is always a tick in the plus column for me as they’re my preferred kind – so long as enough effort is put in to build the world, make it original and do something with the creatures. As I’ve said before, there’s no point in having a hundred mythical creatures in your story if I can replace half of them with werecucumbers and it not make any difference to the plot.

 

Which isn’t the case here – we have a definite sense of culture and distinct nature for each of the prominent supernatural beings – the vampires (however briefly appearing), the werewolves and some of the Norse critters as well as the Ghouls (which have a really fascinating and completely unique concept that I really liked). There’s also some nice research there fleshing out some of the mythology

 

The world itself is also really unique. We have the supernatural (or the Eldritch as they’re called here) that can only exist without fading in places with a working underworld – places where a mighty supernatural being has taken up residence and created a zone where supernatural beings can exist in great numbers; in this case we have Hel. That in turn means the supernatural being sets the rules and power of the place – in this case the Norse goddess Hel who acts through her representative (Daisy) to keep her realm in order

In turn this creates an inherent vulnerability – the Eldritch are dependent on this location to exist and to thrive, making them both subject to Hel and exposed to human wrath – humanity, if sufficiently enraged, could dig out or drive off Hel, they could destroy the underworld and drive them out. This makes for a nice underlying conflict that unites the supernatural population. It also puts an extra edge on the problems of human bigotry and human public opinion, especially as the right wing is doing what it can to pass laws against the Eldritch and drive them out. It puts an edge on the PR battle.

I also like Daisy’s own struggle when added to this world. She’s the child of a demon (and I think it’s a bad idea to have used the term “incubus” because it suggests that the story is far more sex focused than it actually is) and that represents a constant source of temptation for her – because she has no power, or very little. But she could – at any time she can accept her birthright and have amazing power. Her demonic father is always lurking around waiting to pounce on her in a moment of weakness to offer her this legacy – and I like how that temptation is done; it’s not the usually sexy sexy lust, it’s a child being at risk, it’s facing the death of someone she cares about – it’s the temptation to gain power to defend the helpless. It’s a constant pressure and adds in to another interesting part of Daisy’s character – strong emotional states attract her father, tap into her power and tempt her to giving in which puts her in a difficult position. The world building complicates this by the fact her being demonic and on Earth could trigger an actual apocalypse.

 

It’s the foundation of a really excellent concept – a great world and a great plan for a character.

 

 

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Source: http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/01/dark-currents-agent-of-hel-1-by.html