by Jaye Wells
After reading Green-Eyed Demon, and reading the product info for some other urban fantasy novels that have caught my eye over the last several months, I think New Orleans might be the third most popular city to use as a backdrop, surpassed only by New York City and Los Angeles. Regardless of which city Jaye decided to set her third novel in the Sabina Kane series, I was looking forward to this one. Red-Headed Stepchild was a great debut, and The Mage in Black was a strong followup, so I hoped Jaye could really make the third book a home-run.
The book kicks off with Sabina abducting one of the vampire head honchos in order to extract information on the whereabouts of Lavinia, her estranged--that's putting it mildly--grandmother and leader of the vampire races, and her twin sister Maisie who's been kidnapped by Lavinia. After learning they're in New Orleans, Sabina charges off to rescue her sister, with the help of her demon minion, Giguhl, and mage love-interest, Adam. The trouble is Sabina is going to have to be on her best behavior when she's in the city, because she's relying not only the mage hierarchy, but the fae royalty now as well, and she already has developed a reputation of not playing well with others.
In one sense, the novel is pretty standard fare. There's a damsel in distress and a band of heroes are out to rescue her. They visit a new and strange city, meet some interesting characters, fight some foes, and then it boils down to a big showdown at the end. But what really made the book so enjoyable was Jaye's attention to detail with the characters. Sabina Kane is already a character I'm fully on board with thanks to the first two books, and it's the emotional turmoil and maturing she goes through in this third book that won me over even more. Giguhl is as entertaining as ever, and there's even more to his character that gets revealed. As for Adam, I thought this book probably highlighted him more than the other two books put together. He really stepped up to become the number two character in the series next to Sabina, and the hot-and-cold relationship those two have is one of the more fun--and contentious--relationships I've read in urban fantasy.
New Orleans is used to great effect when it is used, but for a city so rich it is really not explored as much as I thought it would be. Nowhere near the degree New York City was in the last book, I thought. I guess you could argue the city is highlighted through the local characters that Jaye introduces into the mix, with a voodoo witch, a fae burlesque dancer, and overtly gothic vampires, not to mention a mage turned rock singer that stole a couple of scenes in the book. The fight scenes are great and the big showdown at the end--I really don't think I'm spoiling anything by just saying that--is satisfying both in scope and consequences. It's not a brush-off type of ending where someone is shaking their fist in the air and shouting, "I'll get you next time!" This book really makes it clear that things are going to be different going forward. If this book capped off a trilogy, I'd be satisfied overall, but with the promise of two more novels (Silver-Tongued Devil released at the start of 2012 and Blue-Blood Vamp slated for the second half of 2012) I am heavily anticipating what is happening next--and where.