Saturday, December 10, 2011

Unclean Spirit: The Black Sun's Daughter Series

By M.L.N. Hanover
New York, Pocket Books, 2009
400 pages     Fiction
The Shortlist

Today, I introduce my son-in-law Isa Ford as a guest blogger. When I was sent the Black Sun’s Daughter series, (4 books currently—the fifth book is forthcoming), I was at a bit of a loss. I was committed to reading another fantasy series, and I am a bit of a novice with the concept of urban fantasy (Does it qualify that I saw the movie, Sin City?), so I passed this series on to Isa, who reads a lot of fantasy. Here is his take on book one of the series: Unclean Spirit.

Jayné Heller is the heir of a massive fortune that she never knew about, which was left to her by an uncle that she thought she knew. She is thrown together with a group of over protective men to find her uncle’s killer. She is told that her uncle was killed by a demon possessed man and that monsters and magic are real. If she wants revenge, she must expect that the world is bigger than she ever imagined. The only way to kill a monster is with magic. So her only option is to start believing in magic or die.

Unclean Spirit is a good introduction into a world that has a unique way of looking at the supernatural, while having the basic concepts expected in this genre. There were some slow points and it was a little predictable when it came to the interpersonal relationships of all the characters. The main character is written in a way that makes me want to follow her as she progresses into the role of urban hero.

Now back to me. M.L.N. Hanover is the pen name for the fantasist Daniel Abraham, the author of the Long Price Quartet Series. On his website, Abraham defines urban fantasy as a combination of horror, mystery, romance, and science fiction. “Urban Fantasy doesn’t take its power from having roots in other genres.  It didn’t bloom into one of the most important areas in publishing because it was horror or romance or mystery.  It took root because the story it’s telling matters to us, and it’s a story that wasn’t getting told elsewhere.  So, in fact, urban fantasy exists as a genre because it’s not horror and not romance and not mystery.  It gives us something else, and it’s something we as a culture are hungry for.” Reviewers commented that the Black Sun's Daughter series is so very different from Abraham's other writings, that his signature style is barely identifiable--thus the pen name.

The four books currently out in the Black Sun’s Daughter series include: Unclean Spirits, Darker Angels, Vicious Grace, and Killing Rites. Book 5 comes out in the summer. Some reviewers complained that the introductory book was just that—introductory. But now that the series has four books, reviewers recommended moving right on to the second book where the action picks up.

Daniel Abraham’s website:

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