Author: Richelle Mead, 2008.
Genre: Urban Fantasy. Faerie. Erotic.
Other Details: Paperback. 512 pages.
The series takes its title from narrator and main protagonist Eugenie Markham, a powerful shaman known as Odile, Dark Swan for the form her spirit body assumes for her journeys to the Otherworld. Eugenie makes her living banishing spirits and fey that cross into the mortal world. When she is hired to rescue a teenage girl taken captive by the Gentry, she has to undertake the dangerous task of crossing in her physical body to the Otherworld. There she finds her reputation precedes her and encounters both allies and enemies. She also makes a starling discovery about her own heritage.
This was my first novel by Richelle Mead. I was mainly attracted to it because of its Otherworld aspects. Plus, I have a soft spot for shamans, swans, kitsunes and goddesses; all of which feature here. Mead is skilled in story-telling and world-building and sprinkles the story with a measure of humour and eroticism. She also utilises folklore and world mythology in her tale with confidence. I also appreciated that it took time and hard work for Eugenie to gain new skills. It was an engaging read, which I enjoyed so much that I immediately replaced my library copy and ordered the next two in the series.
Author: Meg Cabot, 2000.
Genre: Paranormal Romance. Ghosts. YA.
Other Details: Paperback. 208 pages.
Published in the USA under the title of Shadowland, this is the opening of a six novel series about 16-year old Susannah (Suze) Simon, who is able to not only see and communicate with the corporeally-challenged but also is a mediator, someone who assists them in crossing over to their next great adventure. Basically a YA version of TV's Ghost Whisperer with a more subdued wardrobe.
In the first novel Suze has moved to California with her mother, who has recently remarried. So she is adjusting to a new state, a new school and having a new family consisting of three step-brothers. At school she encounters Heather, a mean girl who is no less determined to be queen of the school now that she's dead.
There was a lot to enjoy in this novel including a likeable heroine who is down-to-earth. While clearly aimed at teens, there is enough to hold the attention of older readers looking for a paranormal romance with a lighter touch. I did wonder if naming the malevolent teen ghost Heather was a conscious reference to the 1989 black comedy. Anyway, a fun read and I will probably continue reading the series for light relief.
Author: MaryJanice Davidson, 2010.
Genre: Paranormal Romance. Vampires. Time Travel.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio, Length: 7 hours, 41 mins Read by Nancy Wu.
In this latest outing for Betsy, she strikes a deal with Satan (never the best idea) so that she can safely access the vampire Book of the Dead. For her side of the bargain Betsy has to accompany her half-sister on a trip to Hell so that Laura can gain an appreciation of that side of her heritage. Once there the sisters are sent off on a trip through time.
This was my audiobook in the car for a few weeks. Overall, I found this quite patchy and a bit of a disappointment compared to other outings for Betsy and Co. Seriously I want vampire fluff from this series not doom and gloom! There still were some funny segments such as when Betsy decides to introduce Laura to the child-of-Satan sub-genre of horror films and the repartee between the sisters. Yet the lack of humour in favour of this new darker storyline didn't work for me.