Friday, May 12, 2017

Saturday #Review - Darklands by @NancyHolzner #Urban #Fantasy @AceRocBooks

Series: Deadtown # 4
Format: Paperback, 324 pages
Release Date: July 31st 2012
Publisher: Ace
Source: Borrowed from Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…
Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers. 
But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.

Darklands is the fourth installment in author Nancy Holzner's Deadtown series featuring Victory Vaughn as its protagonist. For those who may not have started this series yet, Victory is a Cerddorion shape-shifter. She lives in an alternative reality Boston where she makes a living hunting demons who prey on humans in their dreams. She shares an apartment with Juliet Capulet, yes, that Juliet who just happens to be a vampire. She used to have an apprentice name Tina, but Tina has chosen other paths. 

Tina, who still wants to learn more about demon hunting, also happens to be one of Boston's Zombies who was infected by a virus created by one of the Old One's. Victory's life gets even more complicated when her beau Alexander Kane, who also happens to be a werewolf attorney, gets a bit more serious with their relationship. A relationship that sees more than a few tests in this installment. Another important character in this series, is Victory's aunt Mab, who took Victory under her wing and taught her almost everything she knows. There is a storyline here which you might want to pay attention to that may lead to an end game somewhere along the line.

As the story opens, Vicky is doing a show and tell for her once apprentice & zombie, Tina. As Boston's only professional demon slayer, she slays personal demons that infect people's dreams. But, things turn in a new direction quickly. First, a Harpy attacks Victory. Harpy's can only appear if they have been conjured, so, who conjured the Harpy and why? Second, demons are disappearing. That doesn't sound so bad, right? Well, it is because it takes away from Victory's business. She makes her bread solving problems, but when the problems suddenly go away, or are stolen away for some unknown reason, she starts to question what is really happening. 

During one of her jobs, Victory discovers that Pryce, her demi-demon cousin, is collecting people's personal demons. Pryce, if you have read this series, was defeated by Victory in a previous installment. Pryce and Victory have a hate/hate relationship. Victory is perhaps known best as being a lone ranger. She likes to work by herself. She doesn't want anyone underhand because she is still dealing with issues of blame for her father's death years before. The only person she can fully trust, is Mab, and yet Mab is not fully telling her all she needs to know either.

Victory makes a deal with the Night Hag to enter Darklands. She not only has to stop Pryce from collecting back his demon side and ripping worlds apart, but she has to collect three prizes she agreed to in order to return to the human world. As the story shifts into the Darklands, Victory finds herself facing someone she never thought she'd see again. In the Darklands, we find a slew of new characters including King Arawn who once lost a cauldron to King Arthur and his knights. One of Victory's issues in this series, has been carrying a world of regret over believing she was responsible for her father's death. This issue is finally resolved and I will be curious to see where Holzner takes it from here.

Holzner intersperses her story with both Welsh and Demon mythology. Which works since Mab still lives in Wales, and her father grew up there as well. I have to warn you to be prepared to laugh as well as holding onto your seat in an action packed story. You will laugh over Victory's banter with a demon she names Butterfly, who just happens to prey on people's guilt. Victory's relationship with Kane has moved to a new place. I am not sure where the author will go from here, but the hot and cold between Victory and Kane truly needs to be decided one way or the other.

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