Charley is heavily pregnant and ready to give birth any day now to Beep, the prophesised daughter who will save the world. Until then she has to hide in their new home on hallowed ground so the 12 Hellhounds don’t find her and kill her
Confining Charley is… an interesting experience for everyone. Especially since Reyes is definitely up to something in the name of her protection
Not that she’s bored in her hideout. She has weddings to arrange, a case to solve, an evil stepmother who keeps visiting and a whole lot of prophecies to make sense of
Take a deep breath for this book – because this is when it all happens
This is when we finally delve into truly what Charley is – as we’ve been threatening and nearly achieved in the last book. Here Charley is finally approaching her full power, she’s mighty, she’s strong, she’s terrifying. She’s also pregnant and finally giving birth to the much anticipated Beep, revealing the truth to many of the prophecies they’ve been agonising over for so long. We even have an appearance of the ultra-big-bad, Reyes’s dad, Satan himself. We even, finally, get an explanation for Mr. Wong.
In short, a lot of the storylines which have been brewing pretty much since the first book all come to fruition. On top of that we have ongoing stories of Charley and her much hated step-mother kind of had some kind of rapprochement and her murdered dad’s ghost drops in to be cryptic about something involving the Vatican. Oh and Cookie got married. There’s also
Then we have an actual case from Special Agent Kit and her friend who want to recruit Charley despite her inability to leave her new monastery home because of the 12 hellhounds. On top of that there’s also a ghostly nun with a story to tell as well.
Or, to put it another way –ye gods there’s a lot happening in this book! Honestly, there’s perhaps a bit too much happening in this book. So many plot lines, some of the could really have waited to the next book while we digest the vastness of the prophecy and what Charley is and the amazing new directions and revelations of this book (though, honestly, I think the whole revelation about the twelve is… contrived and unlikely and smells a lot like a retcon).
Despite the vast fullness of this book, I can’t say it was difficult to follow – just that many elements would be better of developing rather than having so many tangents – just a little more digesting of the vastness rather than piling on more and more and more and more. It’s a problem the books have always had – trying to do far too much in each book and this time it took it to eleven.
But I could follow it all, it was fun – and finally we’re moving forwards with so many revelations and epicness which I really have been looking forward to for so long. Sure the ending means I think I’m going to be immensely frustrated by the next book, but still I read this book with utter glee that we’re finally getting some revelations
Ending aside, I also like how they worked in Charley’s new super powers while still making it clear she has vulnerabilities and isn’t completely unassailable. There was a nice moment in the book that made it clear that even a god like Charley has her limits – which can always be a major problem with a super-powerful character. But what I didn’t like was that this vulnerability required Reyes to save Charley. Yet Again. It doesn’t help that he still tries to keep things from her in the name of protecting her (but, equally, she does the same which is some parity – except he actually has the gall to be put out by her secret keeping) and while he isn’t overpowering her and threatening her as is a constant thread throughout the series (because she’s far too powerful for that), I’m not sure if this is him finally learning some respect for her or her simply being too powerful for him to abuse that way any more. I don’t think I will ever like this character and it’s certainly not a sign of improvement if he only stops controlling her because she becomes too powerful to control.
What I do like is how angry she was repeatedly about how much Reyes is taking control and generally having so little faith in her. It’s true Charley is a very very very very silly person (hilariously so half the time) but his “protectiveness” so often comes with a complete lack of respect for her skills, abilities or basic competence that it’s nice to see her object so fiercely to the disrespect of it.
Happily the other thing that I really really like about this series continues – the fun, the humour, the sheer hilarity of this cast working together, interacting together and bouncing off each other is a joy to read. Cookie and Charley in particular are just such amazing fun to read. Honestly I could read a whole book of them going about their daily lives doing their silly silly things.
The book has a number of excellent female characters – Charley and Cookie and Agent Kit and Amber, Charley’s daughter are all extremely awesome. We also have nice visits from Charley’s sister as well – they’re all excellent (and immensely fun) characters and all put up with Charley in very different ways