Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think it is important to approach this book with the right expectations.
If you think you will read some kick-ass Urban Fantasy with a strong heroine à la Kate Daniels, forget about it and go pick up something else with a lot of steel and leather on the cover because, really, what did you expect from a book with THIS cover?
On the contrary, if you like rather grotesque stories with a twisted sense of humor and the OPPOSITE of a kick-ass heroine, this might be just right up your alley.
Jane is from Rockabill, Maine. She works in a bookshop, lives with her father and is a swimmer. She is well-known in town because she is the daughter of a woman who suddenly disappeared 20 years earlier, abandoning her and her father, and also for being involved in the death of her boyfriend Jason, in a weird suicide-rescue attempt case.
But when, during a swim, she finds the (murdered) body of a villager she knew, she becomes unwillingly involved in a mystery which will lead to the truth about her (supernatural) origins and which will make her fear for her life.
This is a book in which the Main Character is fundamental. If you don't like her persona, her continuous internal monologue or her sense of humor, you will not like this book. I liked her very much. She is very different from all heroines I've encountered so far, but in a good way for me. She is a goofy character who talks about herself in a very self-deprecating way and she makes the lamest jokes. To which I laughed, of course. To me she is a very enjoyable character to whom I could relate. Thinking about the most absurd, superfluous and just downright stupid details during either highly dramatic or romantic moments? Story of my life. So I totally got her in all her goofy moments. This is also why, during the first sex scene, one of the most "off-turning" (am I making up words here?) I have ever read, I was laughing my ass off at the mention of "chesticles" and "undercarriage". I felt like I was watching The Naked Gun.Totally comic.
On the other hand, I didn't care much for Ryu. Something felt off about him and I didn't like his veiled condescending attitude towards Jane, treating her like a rare specimen of some exotic plant that he needed for his collection. But then again, it is pretty obvious Ryu is not going to stay so the author is clearly trying not to make us sympathize too much with him. I'm curious to see how she develops that.
What I liked less about this book and which led me to the 4 star rating has to do with the plot which can be summed up in two words for you: Sookie Stackhouse.
While, in my opinion, the two heroines bear close to no resemblance to each other, Jane's role in the plot, the plot itself and all that political-intrigue-at-court mumbo jumbo strongly reminded me of the Southern Vampires Mysteries.
In the second part of the book, BECAUSE of the mumbo jumbo, the narration lost a bit of its verve, and I realized that my eyes got the tendency to glaze over occasionally. Fortunately the finale, although quite predictable, opens up new territory which I will be glad to explore in the next books of the series - which I have been guaranteed that get better and better.
All in all, a good first installment to what I hope will be a fresh, filled-with-humour, supernatural-with-a-twist series for people who, just sometimes, don't like to take themselves - and what they read - too seriously.
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