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Dark Currents: Agent of Hel - Jacqueline Carey Daisy

Full review on Fiction Vixen Book Reviews

Dark Currents is the first book in a new urban fantasy series by Jacqueline Carey. To quote the blurb:

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

Daisy Johanssen is Hel’s liaison and enforcer. She is half-human and half-eldritch. Her eldritch half just happens to be incubus and hell spawn which means she has the potential to cause a lot of problems. If at any time she were to given in to her hell spawn side she would cause a breach between the mortal plain and the ‘other’ plain allowing demons free to wreak havoc. Everyone in town knows of Daisy’s birthright and they are very careful to not give her any reason to invoke it. Daisy is a bit sweet so any invoking that might be done would not be done on purpose but the chance is still there.

When a human boy turns up dead in Daisy, part timer for the local cops, is asked to team up with Cody Fairfax to solve the case. Something is off about the drowning and the police suspect eldritch involvement. Cody is also eldritch but he happens to be in the closet. His werewolf committee is very insular so not many people know much about him or his family. Daisy has had a crush on Cody since she was a little girl and the opportunity to work with him makes her happy.

Since Dark Currents is the first book in an urban fantasy series there is a lot to introduce. I wouldn’t say there is info dumping going on but it seemed like with every chapter I read there was a new species introduced. At one point I started to question who was what and what part they played. The mystery of the human’s death was the main plot here but the purpose of this book was more to immerse the reader in life in Pemkowet and the main characters.

Daisy in the lead and the book is told from her point of view. Dark Currents falls solidly into the urban fantasy category because there is no HEA and we do not have one main love interest for Daisy. We have several potential love interest. As always, I have my favorite choice but I couldn’t tell if that is way Ms. Carey wanted me to go or if she will move forward with one of the other players.

Cody, the werewolf, has a step up on the other players because Daisy has had a crush on him for so long. However, he doesn’t seem to be into her as he states that his species is encouraged to mate within to perpetuate the families. Nothing much goes on between them even though the spend the whole book together solving the case.

Stefan, the ghoul, is the most interesting character in the book, to me anyway. Ghouls drain emotions from people. Stefan is new in town, old and powerful, and has taken over responsibility for the ghouls. He offers to help Daisy siphon off unwanted emotions to keep from causing a rift in plains. She tells him no but it is clear she is really tempted by the offer. In a moment of strong emotion she allows him to calm her which causes a sort of bond between them. From now on Stefan will be able to feel Daisy when she is running high.

Sinclair, a plain old human, with a little eldritch vibe to him. He is new in town and running a tour company. Daisy speculates that it might be nice to date someone like him, more normal than most.

There were a couple of things that bothered me about the book. Daisy uses the word “Gah” about every 3 pages. That is a lot of Gah’s. I wish I had this in e-book so I could count the precise number of Gah’s but suffice to say it got old. Also, being a hell spawn, Daisy has a tail. Tori, from Smexy Books, and I had a serious conversation over this tail. It was just weird. Take this quote for example:

Within the confines of my jeans, my tail lashed with righteous outrage. I stilled in with a conscious effort, curling it between my thighs. And in case you were wondering, yes, it does feel kind of good there. I try not to think about it at inappropriate interval.

Ok, no. I was never actually wondering how the tail felt between her legs. Both Tori and I found the tail to be a bit distracting and mentioned way too many times.

My final issue is with the bog climax. It was not big. At all. Most UF books have an epic final battle that gets my blood flowing. After reading this whole book to get to the big fight scene, it all fizzled. The way it was resolved was so fluffy I had blink and then go back and read again. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I blinked it didn’t get any more exciting.

Parts of the book were good yet parts were not good. I am a little confused as to how I really feel about it. I think I might read the next book just for Stefan. He could be a hero from a gritty UF book and do it well. Final grade- C

Favorite Quote:

“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”