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Books 69: Unclean Spirits by M. L. N. Hanover


US cover
Book 69: Unclean Spirits (The Black Sun's Daughter #1).
Author: M. L. N. Hanover, 2008.
Genre: Urban Fantasy. Demons.
Other Details: Paperback. 373 pages.

Following the murder of her Uncle Eric, Jayné Heller finds that her view of reality is completely over-turned. First, she learns that her late uncle was extremely rich and she has been designated as his sole heir. More shocking though is the revelation that magic and demons along with other supernatural beings actually exist and that she has inherited another kind of legacy in the form of her uncle's unfinished business with a sinister cabal of wizards named the Invisible College. The College is led by Randolph Coin, a ruthless individual who sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means.

This threat forces Jayné to halt her natural inclination to spend, spend, spend her new-found riches and to come to terms with this altered view of reality. She also has to learn to defend herself. She is aided in this by a small group assembled by Eric, who seek to protect her and to bring her up to speed in terms of the complexities of Eric's world. Among the group is the Aubrey, a rather dishy bloke whom Jayné finds herself strongly drawn to.


UK cover
What attracted me first to the series was reading of Hanover's depiction of demonic spirits as 'riders', which brought to mind the loas of Haitian Vodoun. I certainly enjoyed this novel; finding it an intelligent urban fantasy full of action and thrills with just enough complicated romance to make things interesting without dominating the plot. Jayné is an appealing lead with a wry sense of humour. While at the opening she is disillusioned and drifting through life, she soon finds reservoirs of strength and courage when put to the test. There is also an interesting supporting cast. Without doubt this was a promising start and I am looking forward to seeing how Hanover continues the story and his further developments of the concept of riders.

I had purchased the US mass market paperback a couple of years ago though finding myself loving the first book opted to buy others in the series in their 2012 UK editions. I found the difference in the cover art between the US and UK editions interesting. The US cover is a lot more dramatic, showing Jayné looking very sexy dressed in leather in a fighting stance. In contrast, the UK cover is much more understated and shows Jayné in silhouette with the Colorado setting for the novel centre stage. One reviewer called the UK cover 'bland' but I actually quite liked it especially in terms of the colour palette used.

Chapter 1 - Unclean Spirits - Orbit Books website.
Tags: angels/demons, urban fantasy, vampires
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