- Title: The Better Part of Darkness
- Author: Kelly Gay
- Series: Charlie Madigan, #1
- Genre: Urban Fantasy with a lick of Science Fiction
- Format: eBook
- Source: Own Copy
- Reviewed by: Sonja
- Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Description: Atlanta: it’s the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil….
Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She’s recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.’s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim — but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?
Review: I am having a lot of trouble with this review. Might be because it seems to be more of the same. But, when a formula works, why mess with it? Maybe because we as readers like something a little different. Or, at least we *think* we do – then we go out and purchase more of the same.
I gotta say, this book reminded me a *lot* of Kate Daniels. But, maybe that was just the Atlanta setting. Or, maybe it was the mystifying powers that Charlie had. It certainly wasn’t the presence of a shape shifting cat. I really missed the shape shifting cat.
Ms. Gay does take an unusual step in her tale: the magical elements here in Atlanta (and one supposed the remainder of the earth) come from other planets. Specifically, Elysia and Charbydon. There are goblins and orcs and trolls aplenty. Of course, many of these types are uber villainous.
Charlie is a little unusual in the urban fantasy world. She is involved in *tons* of relationships. This made my little co-dependent heart *very* happy. First of all, she has parents. That are wonderful. And, a sister whom she adores. She has a precocious daughter with her ex-husband. That she still loves. And, she has a partner that is a siren. And, to round this off, she even has a decent boss. All of these people love her and rally round her. Which she often needs because she – wait for it – frequently gets in over her head. Which is, of course, why she needed to come back from the dead. Sound familiar?
I really did enjoy the gang that Charlie has around her – the unconditional love and support they offer her in her times of need. The back story of her husband, his cheating and their ultimate divorce was original to me. And, I thought I had heard it all. But, I found it fascinating. The obligatory ‘love triangle’ gets turned on its head a bit here with Charlie and her partner Hank – who is a friend – and her ex-husband. So, not really a ‘love triangle’ more of a ‘friendship triangle’. I will read on in this series – I am curious to see to where it goes.
While the familiarity to other urban fantasies cannot be denied, The Better Part of Darkness takes enough departures from standard stereotypes that I found it to be very enjoyable. And, the bath scene is priceless. Completely and utterly priceless. It is worth the price of the book just for that one scene.
Because I could walk away from this book, it didn’t quite meet my 4 star criteria – so I gave it 3.5 – which I then round up to 4 for the bath scene. (See how I cheat the system? Even *my own* system?)