Sunday, July 4, 2010

ann aguirre's blue diablo brings new dimension to overcrowded urban fantasy genre

For lovers of urban fantasy, Ann Aguirre's Blue Diablo is the first in a new series – the Corine Solomon series – that looks set to bring a new dimension to the already overcrowded genre.
Unlike the usual type of urban fantasy there aren't any vampires or werewolves – thank goodness – but there is magic and mayhem a plenty, and a bit of love interest as well. But so far no raunchy sex, which is actually a good thing, considering it's everywhere else.
Corine Solomon is what's called a 'handler', when she touches objects a certain way she can read information about who had held it previously, what they were feeling or doing and the history of the thing they held.
Unfortunately, it's not an easy skill to have, and although she had previously used her talent to help people, she'd eventually burned out after a number of harrowing experiences with murders, rapists etc.
So, she's run away to Mexico to hide from her previous life and try to regain her sanity. Unfortunately, her peace is disrupted by her ex, a guy called Chance who has a talent for being unbelievably lucky. His mother has gone missing, and he needs Corine to help him find her.
Naturally there's plenty of sexual tension, but Corine doesn't jump into bed with him, she's more concerned about getting trapped in her old life, and with finding Chance's mother, whom she loves.
From the opening set-up, Aguirre just pushes the pace along, adding characters and back story in a jumble of new faces and histories, as well as setting up her world.
There are lots of references to traditional South American practices, voodoo, Native American magic and myth, as well as the usual round up of remote viewing, mediums, witches and possible devil or demon worshippers.
Wrapped up in the fantastic is a solid whodunit, with human trafficking, the Mafia, drug and gun running and a side attraction to a very helpful policeman.
All in all, Aguirre manages to mix her magic, mayhem and material into a nice read; the plot is twisted enough to be interesting without being confusing, the characters slowly develop and the action is well-written.
Touches of Mexicana in the food, drinks, language and culture, all add a nice difference to Blue Diablo, making it a solid first book in a series that looks set to do well; it's already won the PEARL Award , which bodes well.

Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre is published by Gollancz and is available from good book stores and online.


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