Eric, possibly the last witch in the world, has been promoted to the knight of the Bay. It’s his job to police the supernaturals of San Francisco and solve any problems that arise – it’s a new role for him and he’s definitely still finding his feet.
But vampires are dying – dying in ways that scream of black magic. Which means there’s a magical practitioner in town other than Eric, one who is working with demons and maybe neck deep in lethal vampire politics
Eric faces another very steep learning curve.
I like Eric on many levels. I like that he’s a protagonist who doesn’t fall back to violence as a problem solver. I like that his first stop is reason and trying to make people co-operate. I also like that his power doesn’t really lend itself to violence – sure it’s growing and increasing, but ultimately he is surrounded by people (by women, no less, who are considerably more violently powerful than him). His magic is more useful than dangerous. He carries a gun but is no marksman, he has some magical tricks but they’re costly and difficult and even Serena, his new sidekick, comments on how bad he is at fighting. He is a normal guy discovering a new world and new abilities and, no, that doesn’t come with the full skill set to cope with that
What I’m not fan of is his naivety. He doesn’t see any problem with telling all the vulnerabilities of supernaturals to the police even as Teresa protests (which has an extra level of dubious when you consider that Eric is a straight white guy and Teresa is a POC woman who is asking him to be more careful about the police), sure that the police are the good guys and there’s nothing that could go wrong. He tells the whole world that he is a witch – seriously, because of him just about everyone now thinks witches are about and he is a witch when before him everyone thought witches were extinct – again in the face of endless warnings. He trusts Amy implicitly and, yes he certainly has reason for that, but he still knows nothing about her, what she is, her history or even her last name. Worse, he trusts Nick and is even willing to go with him to another world, merely because the guy said it was important and with a similar lack of information.
It’s not even his naivety, per se. A naïve character who wakes up to the reality of the world isn’t a bad thing. But he doesn’t. His trust never comes back to bite him in the arse, his trust is never unfounded, his rose tinted glasses are not really pulled away. It’s almost stretching my plausibility meters – like Serena. Serena has a lot of potential to be a good character, I’m curious how she develops. But “develops” is the word. He shouldn’t be taking a brand new vampire and a complete stranger to crime scenes and deputising her as his chief assistant. How can he trust her with all this information, he’s known her for a few hours?! This should blow up in his face. Someone should protest – but no-one does. It’s a form of very clumsy plot armour.
It’s not just his naivety – things just tend to be far too easy in this book. Serena has been horrendously kidnapped and attacked by a vampire, turned… and she seems to get over it pretty well. She transitions to vampiredom quite easily, she controls her hunger with minimal difficulty. Any trauma she felt from being kidnapped and abused doesn’t seem to have any real lasting impressions on her. Eric is dragged to the other world full of fae and has minimal culture shock – he just kind of deals with it with minimum difficulty.
I like the world, I really like the main character and I think it has huge potential but it’s all just a little too easy, a little too simple and things just go a little too smoothly.
This easiness does mean we skip out on a lot of the usual clichés - he works with the police who aren’t instantly suspicious. He’s in touch with the other supernatural organisations in the city and generally gets on moderately well with all of them. Yes, it’s easy but it also works because there is often a lot of contrived conflict in these supernatural worlds with groups squabbling like children when they’re supposed to be ancient powerful beings – I like that.