Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn

For the month of July, my book club read Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn.  I would categorize Witchling as adult Urban Fantasy.  There are a few racier scenes in book one of the Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon  series so I would say this book is for adults or older teens. 

At first, I couldn’t get into the book.  I don’t know if that’s the fault of the writing, or whether it had to do with external circumstances in my life.  I eventually got down to business, and finished the book rather quickly. 

Witchling is the first book in a series about three sisters who are half faery and half human.  The faery blood and human don’t mix well, so the three sisters have some rather unusual and complicated abilities.  Camille is a witch, and the human blood often causes her spells to misfire or have unusual consequences.  Witchling is told from Camille’s point of view.  Delilah is a werecat.  Yeah, that’s right – werecat.  The human blood causes her to turn into a golden tabby cat – not a fierce puma, leopard or tiger.  Menolly is a vampire.  She wasn't born a vampire she was attacked and turned about five years before this story takes place.  As far as special abilities – hers kind of suck – well pre-vamp anyway.  She was a really good climber.  She could climb high and vast.  Her human blood however caused her climbing to fail her and she fell into a pit of vampires.  As far as powers go, I’m not really seeing anything special about climbing.

Anyway… the sisters are all agents for the OIA, the CIA of the magic world.  They got sent to earth to take on positions that are considered less than desirable – all due to the fact that they’re considered screw-ups in the Otherworld.  While the queen of the otherworld is lost in an opium haze, a demon leader has gained control of the Subterranean Realm and is plotting to take over the Otherworld and Earth as well.  He sends a harpy and two demons to gather intelligence and find one of nine mystical seals that when put together will allow for total worlds domination.

I enjoyed reading this book once I got into it, but I only rate it at a three star level.  It’s obvious that this is a freshman attempt at writing urban fantasy (I’m told by the book club member who suggested this book as July’s selection that the author has other books – but this is the first UF).  The author spends a lot of time trying to create backstory.  Yasmine Galenorn is very descriptive – which is usually a good thing; however, Ms. Galenorn tends to tell us over and over that Camille is busty and has stars in her yes and Menolly has red Bo Derek braids.  Sometimes she describes the characters physical attributes just pages apart.  I didn’t forget what Camille or anyone else looked like between page one and page five.   Another thing we are regularly reminded of is the fact that Faery don’t look at copulating and relationships the same way humans do – which serves as a way to show us that Camille isn’t doing anything wrong by dating and sleeping with several …uh…mythological creatures at the same time.

Something about the series that I both like and dislike is the number of magical creatures involved.  On the one hand I think it’s cool that there is a kitsune – and a dragon that takes human form, and faeries, and wereanimals, etc.  The problem is that she throws so many into this first book in the series that it almost seems like a cliché.  I do think it is ok to have all these beings, but maybe to have spread them over the series would have been better.  It seems like we’re getting a crash course in mythical and fantastical creatures 101. 

That being said, I would like to restate that I did enjoy the book.  The dialogue was nicely done and I found many parts humorous.  I like the fantasy world that Ms. Galenorn depicts and many of the characters we are introduced to in this first book.

I will be reading the next book in the series, Changeling, which is told from Delilah’s point of view as aprt of a reading challenge next month.  I am interested to see how Ms. Galenorn’s writing develops and whether it improves over the next 12 books in the series.  I’d like to learn more about Delilah and Menolly as we learn only the basics about them in Witchling.   

Goodreads Synopsis:  We’re the D’Artigo sisters: Half-human, half-Faerie, we’re savvy—and sexy—operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency.  But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times.  My sister Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she’s stressed.  Menolly’s a vampire who’s still trying to get the hang of being undead.  And me?  I’m Camille—a wicked-good witch.  Except my magic’s as unpredictable as the weather, as my enemies are about to find out the hard way... At the Wayfarer Inn, a portal to Otherworld and the local hangout for humans and beasties alike, a fellow operative, Jocko, has been murdered.  Every clue points to Shadow Wing, the soul-munching, badass leader of the Subterranean Realms.  He’s made it clear that he aims to raze humankind to the ground, turning both Earth and Otherworld into his private playground.  Our assignment:  Keep Shadow Wing and his minions from creeping into Earth via the Wayfarer.  The demons figure they’re in like Flynn.  After all, with only my bumbling sisters and me standing in the way, how can they miss?  But we’ve got a secret for them:  Faulty wiring or not, nobody kicks ass like the D’Artigo girls...

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