by Mercedes Lackey
So this is a collection of the marginally-infamous series of books that will never be getting sequels because they caused
Anyway, they're presented in a particular order, even though the copyright suggests they were maybe not written in this order? I don't know. I'm going to go by presented order, if I get anything horribly wrong it's because I did no research. Book-by-book thoughts, HUGE SPOILERS:
"Children of the Night" - Professional work-for-hire romance novelist Diana Tregarde is a GUARDIAN WITCH, kind of a minor superheroine whose powers revolve around protecting people. A sadistic soul-eating ghost and a bunch of psychic vampires show up in the city where she is and start killing and emotionally draining people. Diana spends about 250 pages getting around to dealing with this via various investigative means, has sex with a vampire (so you know this is real urban fantasy) and then successfully offs the bad guys. She also deals with severe PTSD.
This one kinda goes overboard on the overwrought italic internal dialogue!! but... eh, it's a pretty good ride. It does suffer a bit from the sense that while we're watching Diana work out her personal issues and pull her friends together to battle darkness, we're ALSO cutting away every fifteen paragraphs to our villains being evil and killing people. So there's a mingled sense of "That is a LOT of emotional trauma, I hope she gets over it" cut with "...sometime before the entire city is dead on the sidewalk perhaps?"
Meanwhile Diana-the-novelist is constantly battling her own romance novel characters, trying to get them to be more proactive and get the fuck back on the plot boat. I'm not sayin' anything here, I'm just gesturing at it.
Also, this book introduces Andre, Diana's French vampire squeeze. I hope you like Andre from the scenes he has in this book, because although she references and remembers him over the next two books he is never seen again. This surprised the hell out of me, because the first book in this series I read (back in the 90s) was...
"Burning Water" - In which Diana talks about Andre a bit but he is never seen. No, the plot of this one involves an Aztec God trying to break free and bring himself back to life by manipulating a number of mentally-dominated pawns. Diana is called in by Mark Valdez, a police investigator, which is GREAT because instead of dealing with PTSD and other internal issues, they can run all around the city being proactive, fighting crime, running down leads -- just in the wrong directions. Di and Mark get a HELL of a lot done, it's just that none of it actually matters until the end of the book when all the pieces suddenly click and shit can be dealt with.
Of the trilogy this one's probably my favorite, and it's a good thing I hit this one first because it really stands up on its own. The previous book is reference-mined in such a way to make her seem like a FORCE, having Mark around gives her someone to bounce off of who is neatly grounded, and the whole thing has a real... Gabriel Knight sort of vibe to it. By now the dialogue is snapping and... if not for the body count (holy CRIPES is there a body count) this'd make a great TV pilot movie. So from there we go to...
"Jinx High" - Which is about teenagers being stupid and hormonal. In the middle of Teenage Hormone Central comes Diana, who is called in to give a course on how to actually write novels... which feels like Lackey passing on her writing advice through a mouthpiece. Given that she's openly admitted that the Tregarde books were written to pay the bills, I can't see anything wrong with that.
Anyway, in the middle of all this we have an immortal sorceress who is using teenage hormones to power her immortality or somesuch, and there is investigation and backstory and so on.
If you're a fan of other Lackey work, the names "Deke Kestral" and "Tannim" may stand out to you. Tannim in particular shows up towards the end of the book to take up a big chunk of a chapter being Mysteriously Appealing to Diana, as if to say "I will have my own book soon. Perhaps you would like to see my adventures continue?" He then leaps in his red sports car and speeds away, which is a good thing because he clearly hit the lifeboats just before this novel franchise imploded and sank.
I loved this series, because I really have the mentality of a teenager. I'm kind of sad there will never be more of it... but really, if I want a book where a witch bangs a vampire and solves supernatural crimes, I'm pretty sure there is an entire WING of my local B&N that can pander to my needs. Perhaps one of the two can be a werewolf instead. I am flexible.
Will I read these again: Aw hell yes.
This entry was originally posted at http://xyzzysqrl.dreamwidth.org/358569.h