Book Review: Shaded Vision / Author: Yasmine Galenorn / Publisher: JOVE / Release Date: Out Now
This is the eleventh in Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld series of paranormal romances, and it comes equipped with a list of major characters and an extensive glossary. Boy, does it need them.
The plot itself is relatively straightforward. Our heroines – the half-human, half-Fae D'Artigo sisters, employees of the Faerie-Human Crime Scene Investigation team – have to track down some mad bombers who are blowing up favourite Seattle hangouts of the Supe (supernatural) community, with the aim of stirring up tension between them and the FBHs (full-blooded humans; see where that glossary comes in handy?) This being a romance, there's also a wedding to attend, and some superhuman beefcake to exchange smouldering glances with.
So far so good, but it all gets a bit complicated. And not because there's a larger story arc concerning an evil demon lord in search of seven seals which will tear open the portals between dimensions and make a big fiery mess of our world and everyone else's. That's only to be expected. No, the problem is the unwieldy supporting cast of leprechauns, dragons, vampires, coyote shape-shifters and whatnot crowded into every chapter. If the Otherworld series ever spawns a graphic novel, some poor illustrator will go cross-eyed drawing this lot into the background of each panel.
And complicated doesn't necessarily mean convincing. Despite its elaborateness, Galenorn's universe feels oddly flimsy and given to inconsistency. For instance, throughout the story there's a lot of right-on talk about hate crimes and general intolerance towards Supes. Yet much of the action boils down to good, old-fashioned slicing and dicing of a bunch of demon biker types called Tregarts, on a the-only-good-Tregart-is-a-dead-Tregart basis. So, uh, not every supernatural creature warrants the touchy-feely treatment then?
That said, it's easy to see why Galenorn has attracted some devoted fans. She's a slick hand at fight scenes of the down-and-dirty, knife-to-the-scrotum variety. In between, she fleshes out her core characters with a winning lightness of touch. Downtime with the D'Artigo sisters can be a lot of fun. Early on, there's a great scene where they organize a hen night, which turns into a debacle when the narrator, Delilah, a werecat with powerful feline urges, becomes irresistibly fascinated by some tassels dangling off a male stripper's posing pouch.
It's a shame that Shaded Vision doesn't showcase this aspect of Galenorn's talents more often. I kept on hoping the sisters would take time off from stomping ghouls to go on a spa day, but maybe that will happen in book twelve.