Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Book Report: Darkling

You may have figured this out already from my book reports, but I love series. I love recurring characters and learning things from different characters' points of view. For these reasons, Yasmine Galenorn's Darkling suits me perfectly. This is the third book in Galenorn's Sisters of the Moon series. Had I written this review a few weeks ago I would have written trilogy, but I found out recently that she is continuing the series with a second go-around with each of the half fae half human sisters. The first book, Witchling concerned the oldest sister, Camille (a witch); the second book, Changeling concerned the middle sister Delilah (a shapeshifter), and this third book concerns the youngest sister Menolly, who was captured during a reconnaissance mission ten years ago and made a vampire.

I never quite understood Menolly in the first two books. I know that by design the focus was on the other two sisters, but she didn't have much of a voice. She separated herself from her family, worked opposite hours (as a vampire must), and had a reputation for saving the day by ripping apart the bad guys. She did her best to not fall into her base urges and live her life as normally as possible through her involvement in Vampires Anonymous, a self help group. Imagine my happiness when Galenorn let Menolly go and become a larger than life character all of her own!

The D'Artigo sisters are doing the best the can Earthside while a civil war is waged in the Otherworld. They have lost contact with their family and they know that there are forces that would like nothing more to see them dead. Menolly runs the Wayfarer, a pub enjoyed by Otherworlders and wannabees, and hides the fact that there is a portal to the Otherworld right in her bar. The sisters learn that new vampires have been turned in different areas of Seattle, and in turn creating nests and vampires of their own. It is up to the Menolly, Delilah, Camille and their cohorts to figure who is spawning the vampires and why. It is soon discovered that Menolly's sire, the sociopathic and sadistic Dredge, has made his way Earthside from the Sub Realms and is looking to set himself up in Seattle with lots of minions and food.

The beginning of the story was a bit awkward, involving a team meeting at the D'Artigo house. The scene felt very stiff, as if Galenorn didn't know how to push all the characters out the door and onto their respective quests. However, once they were on their way, it was a great ride. Menolly meets up with Nerissa, a were-puma with who she feels an immense and intense attraction. Everyone seems happy for Menolly as she has kept to herself for far too long. She also teams up with a incubus named Roz, who was sent from Otherworld to help the sisters and who also has some personal bones to pick with Dredge. As her sire, Dredge has some control over Menolly, and she is willing to do anything to sever this tie to Dredge (who, in his turning of Menolly, savagely raped and tortured her). To complete this quest, Menolly, along with her sister Camille and friend Morio (the fox demon) travel back to Otherworld so that she can undergo therapy (of a sort) with Jareth, a priest in the Temple of Reckoning. It is not until she is able to separate herself from Dredge that she has any hope of defeating him.

Can I say how much I love the fact that Galenorn has created a bisexual character in Menolly? Too many times, and Anita Blake/Merry Gentry are the first examples that come to mind, authors fritz around with the idea, and inevitably either have secondary female characters experience unrequited attraction to the female lead or have the female lead be totally squicked by any potential attraction. It is so refreshing to have characters be who they are without any subterfuge or pussyfooting around on the author's part.

I don't want to go too much more into the story because I want you all to read it! Galenorn is continuing this series in the summer with a return to Camille's point of view in Dragon Wytch and I cannot wait. Galenorn has quickly become an author who I will pick up and sacrifice all my sleep for (oh, who needs sleep when you have strong coffee?)