Friday, 11 March 2016

Book Review: Unclean Spirits by MLN Hanover

In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules.

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College. 

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life. 

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely....

My Review:
I had seen a lot of mixed reviews of this book which I had already bought so I wasn't sure what to expect. I must admit that I really enjoyed it!

Jayne arrives in Denver as heir to her Uncle Eric's estate, the only family member who never disowned him. Now she has become very rich, with lots of properties and storage units to look through. Eric was also up to his eyes in magic a demons, a talent he may have passed to Jayne. Now Eric's team want to continue with his plan to stop evil Randolph Coin, Eric's murderer but have only seven days to plan it.

I very much liked the characters in this book. Jayne had the right level of doubt about the stories she was told but seeing a talking corpse and being attacked, she is willing to believe anything. I'm glad we didn't have the carry on of taking half a book to convince her of the truth. She suffers from fear and insecurity which made her more of a real character to me and the way she flies off the handle over Aubrey's secret was a reasonable reaction given the circumstances. She also takes time to find her courage and her skills, which I also liked instead of just being kickass from day one. I liked Aubrey the scientist, Midian the living corpse, the magic Buddhist Chogyi Jake and former priest Ex who deals now in weapons but still has a moral compass. The group dynamic is excellent and I loved the planning sessions that the team went through to get Coin. The introduction of Kim was also good and added a bit more interest to the group, especially her history with Aubrey and Eric.

Jayne and Aubrey bond on a trip to help a woman whose dog told her to call Eric for help. A demon has possessed her boyfriend, whose own soul is hiding in the family dog. This first field trip together almost ends in disaster and shows Jayne how much she has to learn in the short time before the attack. It also starts the romance between them. Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I'm not a fan of urban fantasy romances but this one does not dominate the plot and I think it works nicely. It is more about the emotional side of the relationship and the chemistry that develops between them.

The attack on Coin is the big piece of action, with everyone having to do their part in order for it to succeed. I thought that the way it was written was excellent, as Jayne battles with her fear to do her part, knowing that this man killed her uncle. I can understand her terror and suddenly things are starting to go wrong, endangering the lives of her team. Coin is in the driving seat now and the hunters have become the hunted, hiding in Eric's house to stay safe. Another plan is needed but this time can Jayne follow through and do what needs to be done? The team are starting to fall apart and views are mixed about whether or not to go ahead. The element of planning the second attack was just as interesting to me as the first attempt, and the tension is continually being ramped up.

I'm not going to say much else about the plot. It was full of action, tension, emotion and fear, driven by the well developed characters. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are flawed and have their issues to deal with. Jayne is battling her own morals over her relationship with Aubrey. The action was exciting but it was the tension of the plot as they sneaked around doing their planning, spying and hiding that I really enjoyed. I found it well written and fast paced, with no time to get bored. Even the science bits didn't go over my head as they usually do!

I recommend this to fans of urban fantasy and paranormal. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what comes next! 
Read: 2011...*oops*

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