When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit …strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.But Harper’s not crazy. Her “death” has made her a Greywalker-able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts. Whether she likes it or not.
Okay, let’s first get the ridiculous name out of the way: HARPER FREAKING BLAINE. Harper is okay, and I guess Blaine is okay but together they are all that is awful in the world. (Hyperbole? What’s that?) Secondly, this is a book that’s a little different from the others we’ve reviewed here. I even had to add a new tag: urban fantasy. This is my favorite genre because it’s a nice mix of fantasy and sci-fi, we get to see how the supernatural gets around all our technology, and urban fantasy has a lot of bad ass women killing things. What’s not to love? (And if you haven’t read Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, you need to do that.) The supernatural element is high and so is the mystery, but romance is very low. Urban fantasy isn’t really a genre that lends itself well to romance, given all the weird things usually out to eat our heroine and torture her loved ones. Also, there are no teenagers in this book. Sorry, guys. Third, there will be NO SPOILERS in this review, because it’s just too convoluted to even attempt to explain. Onward!
This book is basically everything I’ve ever hoped for in a novel like this. Harper is independent and awesome, recovering really quickly after being murdered in the first chapter of the book. That part was really horrifying to read, by the way. One of the most gripping introductions I have ever read. Harper is quickly introduced to Ben and Mara Danziger, who are magical in their own way and help Harper navigate through her new world of the Grey. They are not always right and they get pissed at Harper a few times (and vice versa) but they are funny and two-dimensional and really good as sidekicks in a book like this (especially because Mara is a witch). We also meet Quinton, a hacker or something, who is very sweet and has an obvious crush on Harper. He helps her out at least three times in the book. (I also have my suspicions about him, but I won’t say anything here.) And there’s Will, the one-book love interest, who is human, but he and Harper can’t really get it together.
One thing I really liked about this book was that Harper didn’t spend her time moping around or shrieking, “This isimpossible!” at the Danzigers like 75% of hero/ines in epic/urban fantasy. She has to get over her initial resistance, but she’s nothing like that girl from the Fever series who is, quite frankly, one of the most hardheaded “heroines” of all time. Maybe I should say “thick-headed,” but either way, Harper is neither of those things.
Harper’s big problem is learning to control the Grey. She falls into it without being able to stop it, and she’s gotten hurt in it before. While working this out, she gets a job from two clients: one looking for her son and the other looking for a family heirloom. There’s exactly nothing I can say about the first of the two because of spoilers, and very little I can say about the second, exceptt that the “heirloom” is a haunted organ. I laugh during (almost) every scene it’s in.
This book can be really scary as well. Vampires are vampires in this novel, and in two separate scenes, I had to put the book down for a second because my heart was pounding. Harper finds herself sucked into the Grey by a psychopathic vampire named Wygan, and I literally shrieked at the end of that scene. Like, so loud the cats jumped up out of a sound sleep and disappeared. This book is not for the faint of heart.
And now for my soapbox: This book would have gotten five stars if not for some serious instances of body shaming. There is a girl in the books who everyone calls “Lady Gwendolyn of Anorexia” and everyone seems to get a big laugh out of it, including Harper. That did not sit well with me AT ALL, especially after learning the poor girl’s history. And I mean, I know it’s really realistic for people to act like that and think it’s funny and say stupid things, but I don’t like it when my heroine agrees. Like, Harper doesn’t always have to take the moral high ground, but it would have been nice if there was some acknowledgment of wrongdoing after she meets Gwen face-to-face. And I guess there was, just a little, and Harper is kind of taken aback by Gwen but I wish that scene was done differently.
Anyway, in all, this book has Everything That is Awesome contained within: witches, vampires, mysteries, magic, ghosts, and a heroine who is, FOR ONCE, not too stupid to live. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series in the future.