This book starts out with Harper looking into her past in Los Angeles, which is an interesting look at her history. As it turns out, her Greywalker abilities were from her father and he killed himself after not being able to handle this whole seeing ghosts business. Also, Harper had died once before the start of the series! There are a lot of little relevations, but we don’t get to linger on them for too long.
Before going on, I want to make a note on Harper’s mother. Being in dance myself as a kid, I have seen those mothers and there is nothing I question about Harper’s mother. This is exactly how some of them were, and I wasn’t even one of the kids who went to auditions. It’s uncanny how much she reminded me of some of the women in those change rooms during competitions.
Harper is called away to London, partially because Edward needs someone to check on what’s going on over there and partially because Will Novak insists on being in the plot again. She’s been dreaming of him being tortured and wants to check it out. Not to mention, the ghosts keep bringing up something ominous. After a quick visit with Quinton, she’s across the ocean and getting stalked by another Greywalker named Marsden and finding out that everything has gone awful because Egyptian vampires really want Harper.
Yeah, this book gets a little weird.
Let’s start with Marsden, the other Greywalker. He’s wonderful. He’s the grizzled old man who would have been Harper’s first mentor that eventually softened her her as she realized her potential if he came around earlier in the series. He gouged out his own eyes to get rid of his ability to see the Grey, but that didn’t work and now he’s trying to make sure the Pharaohn doesn’t get Harper if he has to half-kill or indefinitely imprison her himself. When she eventually wins him over, he lets us all know that the reason Harper’s so good at her job is because she’s magic.
Apparently Harper is magically persuasive. Now that she knows this, she is immediately able to use this unconscious ability consciously.
The Egyptian vampires have their own name, the astem, which appear to be magical vampires that are slower. Their whole goal in this is a little muddled for a while, but they need Harper to achieve their end goals. They work for a reference to the first book and a scene that felt like it came out of nowhere when it happened. Apparently this whole time it’s been building to this eventual plot, which I really like. I just wish it was more cohesive in the first place. Also, that the astem did or indicated in any way that they were significantly different from other vampires.
Then there’s Michael. Michael is Will Novak’s little brother and serves the purpose of guide and provider for the series, given that he’s the one who gets them all of their getaway vehicles and knows his way around the city. He’s along for this whole ride because, despite being perfectly normal, his brother has been replaced with a golem and he didn’t notice. And then Harper carves the fake Will up in front of him and Michael reacts a lot better to that than Will did to the zombie thing. I actually don’t mind the kid because I never found him too invasive and he was there just for the purposes that the plot needed him for.
They also call Edward Ned a few times in the book, which…
Well, let’s just say I don’t take Edward, the vampire king of Seattle all that seriously anymore.
And now, Tanya complaining about Google in the Greywalker series:
WHAT DO YOU MEAN 2009?! It is not allowed to be 2009.
Okay. Step back. Let me explain why telling me what year it is in this story is such an awful idea.
It’s pretty obvious this story was written several years before this date from the usage of technology. Putting a concrete date on it, especially a date when I was alive and can still remember fairly well, means that I know what technology was at the time. I remember what it could do and what was available. Harper being a PI and not looking up anything is an issue in 2009 because, in 2001, I was able to use Google to take someone’s forum username and turn it into their real name, home address, work address and work schedule. If you track people down and do background checks as part of your job, this is a skill you should have. And in 2009, never turning on your computer to look anything up is jarring.
Particularly when you have a kid in your party who is a student that never thinks to at least Wikipedia what a golem is. He may not have a computer on him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to bitch about the lack of internet anyway at least once.
Back to our regularly scheduled book talk.
I do love plot. Plot and characters suffering are my two favourite things. With this installment, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of both with even more on the way. While it was nice to have Harper out of her element, I like that I’m left wondering about the larger implications of what’s going on and what this is all building up to. I also really like that it’s tying back into everything else that’s going happened in previous books.
And a quick word on Harper/Quinton. I live that she’s not falling apart without him. I love that she’s calling him now and then when she’s feeling like she needs some support, but not angsting when he doesn’t call her back right away. The relationship continued to seem really healthy, and that always seems very rare in these urban fantasy novels with female protagonists. The romance isn’t even the focus of the series, which has left me very happy.
It’s also left me really wanting to know what’s next. I could not wait for Labyrinth.