cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 48

Strange Practice (Dr. Greta Helsing, #1)Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed this one. It draws from well known tropes and literary and historical inspiration like Lord Ruthven and Varney the Vampyre. Greta Helsing (they've dropped the Van) is a doctor to supernatural beings like her father before it. She loves it, couldn't imagine doing anything else. One night she's called to her friend, Lord Ruthven's home to help Varney who's been horribly injured. Not only has he been set upon by men dressed as medieval monks with weird weapons, he seems to have been poisoned by some mystery toxin.

The story is part mystery, part medical thriller and part urban fantasy, as Greta and her friends, including Dez and Anna, both who work in her clinic and Cranswell, a young man who is also friends with Ruthven and a curator in a museum, have to figure out what is going on. Their lives, naturally, are at risk as they go to lengths to stop them. In the midst of all this anti-supernatural religious mania we also have someone killing normal humans and leaving a rosary with the bodies.

I did really enjoy Greta and the story. I raced through it and am looking forward to the next one in the series. It did, however, miss five stars for a couple of reasons. The rosary serial killings didn't really tie in well, almost as if they were an afterthought, something to stir up the normal humans. Dez and Anna needed to be better fleshed out than they were. Some other readers have criticized the lack of women in a story with a female lead. Honestly I prefer not to gender-flip well know characters (Ruthven, Varney) but yeah, Dez and Anna also didn't really pull their weight.

Also there was really no romantic subplot. Yeah Greta noticed one of the characters a couple times, more from the doctoral point of view than romantic and suddenly in the epilogue there was a romance shoehorned in. I didn't feel it was earned and it was more eye rolling than interesting. Sorry. And lastly, really? Neither Greta nor her father thought to charge for their services and the clinic is falling apart? That just seemed silly. Still overall I really did like this.

View all my reviews
Tags: urban fantasy

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