Thursday, 6 September 2012

Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Haunted
Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 1-84149-341-4
Pages: 495
Series: Otherworld #5
Type: Adult Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Eve Levine has been dead for three years and has spent most of that time watching over her daughter Savannah who she is desperate to communicate with. But Eve owes the Fates a favour and they've just called it in. The Nix, an evil spirit who feeds on chaos and tempts mortals to kill for her, has escaped from hell and the Fates want Eve to bring her back. The Nix has driven her previous hunters insane and if that wasn't a big enough obstacle, she can only be captured with an angel's sword...and Eve's no angel.

This is the fifth book in the Otherworld series (after Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic) and features a brand new narrator in Eve Levine. Eve is an unusual choice as she has never been seen alive in the books, although her afterlife has seen her help Paige and Lucas in the previous installment thus leading to her debt with the Fates.

I've always been fascinated by Eve as her story so far has been pretty much told in the background. We know she was Savannah's mother and that she was a witch/half-demon who practiced dark magic. Beyond that Eve is a mystery so getting to explore her backstory is brilliant as she is a far more complex character than I originally expected. Kristof Nast (Savannah's father) is also a lead character in this book so we get to see his and Eve's relationship which explains a lot about their characters.

The plot is well-paced and developed and packed with twists and turns. I loved how chapters from the perspective of the Nix where shown, especially as these are set at different time periods and featured familiar sounding references (Abbey Borden is mentioned and one of the Nix's past partners sounds a lot like Myra Hindley). The Nix manages to be both evil and not-so-evil at the same time as she doesn't actually make any of her partners do anything. She just provides them with the resolve to carry out their twisted desires.

The world building gives the series an afterlife like no other, filled with various dimensions and levels. Supernaturals have their own afterlife that somewhat overlaps with our world, but even within that there are different regions including a pirate town. It is as if all earthly locations appear in their heyday so Miami is a swamp while Chicago is stuck in the 1920s. Interestingly different "heavenly" afterlives are contrasted with "hells", two of which are displayed - a grey void where your senses are all useless and a world full of homicidal maniacs forever trapped together with no victims.

A new supernatural species is also introduced with angels shown alongside demons who have previously only been mentioned in the books, unlike their half-demon offspring. As is standard with this series the world building is dense and complex without info-dumping, allowing angels to be introduced with a distinct mythology and varying "waves" of angel referring to their age and how close they are to humanity (the younger the angel, the more human).

All in all, this is a great read and I'm really looking forward to Broken.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 48/50

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