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Anita Blake/Eve Dallas Gets Her Man
on 24 December 2006
This is the first book I've read by Gena Showalter and it wasn't very memorable? Why? Because I nearly bought it again, 2 months after first purchasing and reading it, as it came recommended by Amazon and when reading the blurb I didn't recognise that I'd already read it. What does that say about the book?
Anyway, when I realised I already owned it and had read it I decided I ought to give it another go, and this second reading was more enjoyable. Perhaps I read it more slowly, perhaps I was just in a different frame of mind, but this time I got more out of it. And this time I think I'll remember that I've read it.
The basic story is that Mia Snow works as an Alien Huntress on a version of Earth where Aliens live, reasonably quietly, but with minimal legal rights if they cause any harm to humans. Actually I found this opened a whole philosophical can of worms harking back to mistreatment of black people in history. But that's another issue.
Well, Mia finds herself investigating the abduction and murder of various dark haired, dark eyed men, one of whom has been discovered dumped naked and the only evidence at the scene proves that a member of the race of Arcadians was involved. There aren't that many Arcadians on earth and Mia very quickly discovers one who has previously been arrested for violence but was then released - which is remarkable as any violence by an Alien means they are terminated. She goes to investigate this Arcadian, the female Lilla en Arr, and stumbles on a whole lot more than she bargained for.
Mia Snow is VERY reminiscent of Anita Blake - she arms herself with knives and guns, she's short and people underestimate her physical capabilities and she's very self confident. She's also like Eve Dallas from J D Robb's "In Death" series in that most of her adjectives are four letter words and she's completely obsessed with her role in law enforcement. Her partner, Dallas (another unintentional link to J D Robb?), is injured in the line of duty and Mia shows her genuine care for him in that she is offered a bargain by Lilla en Arr's brother, Kyrin - if Lilla is released from police custody then Kyrin will heal Dallas. I thought this was a very interesting conundrum in the book - this sort of thing occasionally pops up in fiction and people usually do the honourable and right thing, thus condemning their partner/friend/relative/lover to some gruesome fate. I wondered if this would happen in real life, or if people would actually be more willing to ignore their ideals in the face of true human suffering. Anyway, in this book Mia shows that there is definitely more to her than meets the eye in her choice.
Kyrin turns out to be a rather unexpected hero in that he's been reading rather too many 70s Mills & Boon books - he kidnaps Mia and ties her to a bed, saying that he wants her to fall in love with him. Once released from her bonds on the bed she's forced to remain within his house and not go back to her job of finding the killer of several men. Interesting angle on morality there, Kyrin. Fortunately for him Mia decides he's really rather dishy and seems to get over the fact that she's been abducted and dressed in some rather dodgy gowns.
This book is a romance - supposedly - but I didn't find it all that romantic. I found it a very interesting police crime-solving book which was left with some loose ends (which I thought was good - how often are real crimes wrapped up 100%?) and also a book which considered issues of children born of mixed-race liaisons, honour versus love and even matricide. The romantic side of the book failed, in my opinion, because of our heroine. Mia probably needs to have a shedload of counselling about spousal abuse - her idea of foreplay is to punch Kyrin in the chops. She spends most of their scenes together hitting him, slapping him, punching him, elbowing him - although she wisely seems to avoid his groin as a battle area. If this were turned around and Kyrin was attacking her we would have detested him - I wasn't entirely sure that the woman being violent to the man was a great deal better. Fortunately he heals well but if I were him I would have run the other way screaming - it is very unattractive to have a gutter-mouth woman physically attacking you most of the time. Of course, being a hero he was able to cope with all that and still seemed to like Mia but this violence and general distrust between Mia and Kyrin rather spoiled the romance element for me. Still, he was a good hero most of the time and the book moved along quickly and was interesting to read.
Having read it again, I'll look out for some other books by this author and see what I think of them. I suppose a quick summary (after this huge long explanation) is that if you like Eve Dallas and Anita Blake's characters then you'll probably really enjoy this book.