Eric’s life was pretty simple – he had his job as a bar tender and his books.
Until a vampire attacks him and an ex girlfriend of his goes missing and he meets Amy who introduces herself as his Guardian because of a pact with his family. Now he’s up to his eyeballs in vampire politics, werewolf gangs and so much more than he ever dreamed of
Above all the fact that he has magic – he’s a witch, one of the few left in the world, and a challenge, asset and threat to the other Arcane of San Francisco.
This is the first novel of a new series – which means as much as it is about telling a story it’s also about introducing a world and cast to convince us that we want to play in it – and I think this book has done a pretty decent job all round, albeit perhaps not a stellar job
The world is a good one – but not an especially original one. We have vampires in all their ancientness and werewolves in all their furriness with assorted shapeshifters around the periphery for funness. The characters themselves are interesting (the werewolf mob boss, the vampire club owner) and it’s all presented well with bonus extras that we don’t see a lot elsewhere – the undefined Guardians and the hinted at Red Angels with extra mystery brought by the fae
I think when these are developed – along with the whole near-extinction of the witches and their nature – have potential to throw in lots of new angles. I also think it’s probably a good idea not to overdevelop them at this stage so the book can spend more time focusing on introducing Eric, the protagonist. This means the world is decent, fun, interesting and also very very very very similar to a lot of worlds out there. That’s not inherently a bad thing – I liked those books, I like big worlds full of the supernatural, but until these extra elements are developed there’s little in the world to make it stand out in the genre.
The primary role of this book is to set up Eric, the protagonist – and I have mixed feelings about him
Eric has lived nearly his entire life without any real familiarity of the supernatural. Sure he’s aware that vampires and werewolves exist along with the rest of the population since they’ve recently had a Masquerade breaking a few years ago, but otherwise he’s quite clueless. Yet he doesn’t let that stop him leaping into the supernatural world head first without much in the way of hesitation. He often steps in things completely against the advice of his friend/mentor/guardian/totally-not-an-angel. He’s reckless, he’s foolish and if he weren’t the protagonist with a truly epic level of plot armour, he would be dead several times over.
I don’t know what frustrates me more, the lack of good decision making or the fact that his decisions nearly always work without any real consequences
Eric also trusts extremely easily – like Amy. Sure she saved his life but she won’t even tell him her last name, what exactly she is, what her relationship with his mother or his family is but has already declared herself to be his guardian and follows him around. And if he does trust her so much could he at least trust her enough to listen to her advice?! Like she tells him it’s very important he not let the world know he’s a witch and I don’t think the echoes of her warning have died before he’s told half of San Francisco.
He’s so blasé and careless – he falls in with the vampires (after going to see them. Alone. Against all advice. And still not getting eaten) and even starts dating Teresa - again against advice and just a few short days after being attacked by a vampire and describing the whole experience as traumatic and violating. In fact, Eric’s life changes a lot very quickly and becomes a lot more violent and messy but he rolls with it incredibly easily. Now, I’m no fan of drawn out angst, reading my past reviews will make that clear – but some reflection or pause would have helped a lot here.