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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Thrilling Thursday: Tempest Rising and Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Title: Tempest Rising  
Author: Nicole Peeler
Publisher: Orbit
Published: Aug 2010 (Kindle version)
Genre: Urban fantasy

Find it at Amazon UK

The Blurb says...
Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures that are terrifying, beautiful and deadly - all of which perfectly describe her new 'friend' Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire. It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never - ever - rub the genie's lamp.

My verdict: Sexy and well-executed combination of urban fantasy and detective novel.
This was such an enjoyable read. I loved Jane’s sassy voice and the fact that the novel is chock-full of fascinating characters. That doesn’t just mean the many and varied supernatural characters, by the way, fascinating though they are. The actual human people that the novel is peopled with are also great characters. I particularly enjoyed the porn-actress/bookshop-owner who gives gifts related to her career (let’s just be clear: she doesn’t give books).

Despite the risk of being all fangirly, I have to say that I was strongly encouraged to read this by following Nicole Peeler on Twitter. She has such a comedic persona on there and on her blog, and this is a real strength in the book. Although there is danger and all the excitement that brings, there were more than a couple of laugh-out-loud moments too. I also enjoyed the pop culture references, although I’ve seen other reviews criticise them. I realise they may well ‘date’ the text, but I also think they site it really firmly in a particular cultural context, which I don’t think is automatically bad. I’d say Peeler knows her audience well and draws them in with the in-the-know nods.

The range of supernatural characters included is also something that I particularly enjoyed while I know that some others didn’t. For me it makes perfect sense. If there are vampires in the world, why wouldn’t there also be elves and selkies and so on? It also allows you the fun of trying to second guess what race/species characters are or might be, particularly since Peeler has set up her world so that what we think we know about these creatures of folklore is not necessarily correct.

Overall, this was a blast! I’ll absolutely be reading the whole series. I can’t wait to see how Jane’s life pans out with her new knowledge of the supernatural realm, and to see her relationships within it develop.


Title: Tracking the Tempest
Author: Nicole Peeler
Publisher: Orbit
Published: Aug 2010 (Kindle version)
Genre: Urban fantasy


Find it at Amazon UK

The blurb says...
Tracking the Tempest begins four months - and one eyebrow sacrificed to magical training - after the close of Tempest Rising. During that time, Jane True has been busy honing her supernatural powers and enjoying her newfound sense of confidence. Rockabill may not yet be heaven, but she's realized it's home. Valentine's Day is fast approaching, however, and Ryu - Jane's bloodsucker boyfriend - can't let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. This time his shenanigans involve a last-minute ticket to Boston and a hefty dose of direct interference in her life. But Ryu's best laid plans inevitably create more upheaval than even he can anticipate, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings committed by a being of tremendous power . . . . . . who, much to Jane's surprise, happens to be another halfling.


My verdict: Fabulous action-packed sequel. 
I was really looking forward to this one after the first and I wasn't disappointed. We're plunged straight into a training session with Nell the gnome, as Jane works on understanding and controlling her powers, and this is Peeler starting as she means to go on: no filler, no excess of recap, all story. The majority of the plot is, essentially, a crime thriller but don't worry - there are also developments in the romance plotline.


Again, the humour and characterisation are brilliant and what (for me) really stand out. Supernatural elements notwithstanding, all of Peeler's characters are convincing. Many of those familiar from Tempest Rising develop during the course of this novel, and we also get the pleasure of making new friends - and enemies of course. I was particularly pleased to see more of Anyan the barghest, and I'm sure there's more of him to come. This is not one of those series that feels formulaic and lacks character progression.


Overall, I've really enjoyed these masterful novels and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy and supernatural mysteries. The third will be appearing on my Kindle today, I believe - woohoo!

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