I liked Sarah Zettel’s Camelot quartet a lot on first reading, but it didn’t stand up very well to me writing an essay on it. This… I felt the whole way through how she was manipulating the readers’ thoughts and feelings. I could feel it, and it annoyed the heck out of me… but I still couldn’t put it down. So I’m wavering between two and three stars here. I don’t know if I can explain how ambivalent I feel about it. (I’ve changed the star rating three times so far in typing this paragraph.)
I wasn’t in love with the characters. I was reminded constantly of other books — Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, for one, with the first person female narrator who loves to cook, isn’t conventionally brave, and gets messed up with vampires, and has two men with whom she has sexual attraction, one of whom is a vampire and the other of whom is a warlock… (I don’t remember exactly the details of Mel in Sunshine, but I seem to recall some details which pointed in that direction.) And of other urban fantasy books. The tone really didn’t come across as anything new, and sorry, but I don’t think Zettel is that skilled at writing mysteries. She doesn’t give you the tools to solve it yourself, which makes it confusing and that bit boring.
And yet. I wanted to know which guy she picked. I wanted to know her brother’d be okay and she’d reopen her restaurant. There was enough there to keep me turning the pages. I even think I’ll probably read the sequel, though I’m in no hurry. I’m just… disappointed.