Sunday, July 12, 2009

Awesome New Urban Fantasy: Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

Thursday afternoon I left work with an ARC of The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay, book one of a new urban fantasy series that comes out November 24th from Pocket Books. I cracked it open around three o'clock this afternoon and had a hard time putting it down later in the evening when I had to head out and meet some friends, so I promptly picked it back up again when I got home and stayed awake until it was finished.

Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren't the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they've become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens.

Charlie works for ITF (Integration Task Force). It's her job to see that the continued integration of our new "friends" goes smoothly and everyone obeys the law, but when a new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there's nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won't do to set things right.

So I've read a lot of urban fantasy with the kick-ass heroine, but what I liked most about Charlie Madigan as a character was that though she fit that mold, but she was also different and unique. Throughout The Better Part of Darkness, Charlie has a tough exterior as a result of numerous different experiences she's undergone - a few of those are reasons she became a cop, a few of them result from her career choice - but she also has a lot of real fears and insecurities. A few times, when everything appears as if it's falling apart and she knows she has to be strong, she still breaks down and loses it before picking herself back up again.

Another unique thing about Charlie is that she's a mother. Pregnant and married at 19, Charlie's now the divorced, single mom of a 12 year old, and she takes that seriously - even more seriously than her job as a cop. I can't think of any urban fantasy that I've read where the tough as nails female protagonist had a kid, and it's a realistic portrayal of a single mother who's also a cop. She's desperately trying to balance the needs of her job - fighting bad guys and saving the world - with the needs of (and promises she makes to) her daughter. And her daughter, Emma, is always in the back of her mind.

The other characters in the novel also have distinct personalities. Will, Charlie's ex husband, has definitely made his share of mistakes, and even though I was annoyed with him at times, I also felt sorry for him too. (Can't go into it more without giving something away.) Charlie's partner and also a siren, Hank, is funny, charismatic, and definitely a guy I could fall in love with during the span of several books. (One thing I particularly enjoyed about the minor characters was that while there were plenty of hot guys Charlie had to work with, they weren't all in love with her, and they weren't all potential love interests - which tends to happen in this genre.)

The plot is packed with action - so it moves quickly even though there is a lot going on. The "world" Kelly Gay has created draws upon Greek mythology with a twist giving the urban fantasy genre a whole new set of paranormal beings, rather than relying on the typical vampire and werewolf varieties, and it holds up against scrutiny. There are still a few of the paranormal "species" that I don't have quite a clear image of in my mind, but I also have to admit that I was reading fast because I was in page-turning mode and dying to know what was going to happen next.

Fans of Kim Harrison's The Hollows series (Dead Witch Walking) and Vicki Pettersson's Signs of the Zodiac Series (The Scent of Shadows) will love The Better Part of Darkness.

Check out Kelly's website here or visit her blog.

GIVEAWAY

After much deliberation, I'm going to part with my ARC to one lucky winner - the book doesn't come out until November so the winner will be very lucky indeed.

To win, post a comment by 7/30. For extra entries:
Let me know you’re a follower – or become one (+1)
Tweet about the contest on twitter (+1)
Blog about it (+1)

52 comments:

Lilibeth Ramos said...

Sounds awesome and a unique addition to the genre! Fantastic review, thanks for posting it!

Whitney said...

Sounds wonderful! Can I borrow it? :-)

suzie said...

Absolutely :) It's already packed in my bag for tomorrow night!

Anthony said...

I'd love to read any urban fantasy with a strong female lead who doesn't have an IQ of 36D.

Anthony said...

Oh ya, I tweeted this and posted on my blog too. And then I followed via Blogger.

Cause this ARC sounds ymmmy!

http://anthony-pacheco.com/2009/07/14/win-an-arc-of-the-better-part-of-darkness/

Lilibeth Ramos said...

I am/was already a follower of this fantabulous blog. Nice!

Lilibeth Ramos said...

Lol, Anthony. I also blogged about it on my contest sidebar: http://lilibethramos.blogspot.com

A. Grey said...

I just joined you, I twittered about the contest, and I loved the review! Been following Kelly Gay for a few months, so this has me all head-up and excited! Did I mention that my birthday is in November? Be nice to get an early present...:D

BrigidsBlest said...

Sounds like a fantastic book!

Became a follower. :)

californiameaghan said...

this onesounds good too! you ge all the good stuff!

i follow your blog.

meaghan_koci (at) yahoo (dot) com

Donna (Fantasy Dreamer) said...

I would happy for a chance to read it early, I've wanted to read it ever since I found out about it. This story sounds very unique to UF. I don't believe I've even read an UF yet that involves a heroine with a small child and divorced. Also luv the cover on this book. Enjoyed your review. Thanks!

I'm following your blog now. Found it from Kelly Gay's blog. :)

I also posted about this contest under Contest on my sidebar.

And I tweeted about your review & contest: http://twitter.com/FantasyDreamer/status/2643498210

Alexia561 said...

Please count me in! This book sounds fantastic!

I follow your blog, and sent out a tweet about this as well.

Thanks!

silverhartgirl said...

I want to know more about Charlie. I would love to read this book.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Your review had me hooked!

Tez Miller said...

If you're willing to post to Australia, I'd love to be in the running, please.

Rebecca said...

I'm commenting... I LOVE this author as a person because she is absolutely amazing in every way... I've known her for 22 years, in fact. And I'm dying to read this book!

I've started following your blog publicly (+1?)

And I'm going to tweet about it right now! (+another 1?)

Tracey O'Hara said...

What Tez said. I would Love ot win a copy of my fellow Pixie Chick Ms Kelly's Awesome debut.

Carrie Harris said...

I got here from Anthony's blog, and I'm staying! (i.e., I'm a new follower.)

Rebecca said...

P.S. I blogged about it too! http://makeatadpoleslapawhale.blogspot.com/2009/07/contest.html

Ninja Fanpire said...

+1 Commented
+1 Started following
+1 Tweeted: www.twitter.com/NinjaFanpire (Try checking my favorites for the Tweet)
+1 Blogged: http://ninjafanpire.blogspot.com/2009/07/win-copy-of-better-part-of-darkness-by.html

Blodeuedd said...

Hi,
The book looks great, and sure interesting.

is it open worldwide? If so then I'd like to enter

blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Tynga said...

Please sign me in!
I am a follower
BLogged about the contest here: http://tyngasreviews.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-giveaways.html

tynga85 @hotmail .com

Chris said...

Great review. Been waiting for this book to come out since Kelly's sister told me about it. Thanks for the review :)

Ashley said...

Sounds great! And I just subscribed.

donnas said...

Sounds great. Please include me.

I am already a follower.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

AllyKatt said...

Excellent review and I'd love a chance to win this ARC. I probably would have a hard time putting it down until I finished it.

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

AllyKatt said...

Following on Blogger (rubymoon/Ally)

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

Maija P. said...

Is this an international contest?
I'd love to win this book. I love urban fantasy!
chayanna82(at)hotmail(dot)com

Patti said...

I would love to win this book sounds good.

+ I follow.

budletsmom at yahoo dot com

elaing8 said...

please enter me in the giveaway

I'm already a follower

elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

Marie said...

Sounds like a great book!

I am a follower now.

marielay@gmail.com

infiniteshelf said...

This sounds a really great read, and it does looks like the main character is slightly different.
Please add me too! :)

infiniteshelf at gmail dot com

LadyVampire2u said...

I have this one on my wishlist already so please sign me up to win this book. Dying to read it.
I also am following you on Twitter and have Twittered about this contest. I am already a follower of your blog and have this contest posted up on my blog here: http://ladyvampire2u.blogspot.com/2009/07/contest-extravaganza.html
Thanks!
LadyVampire2u(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Mardel said...

Hi, I jumped over here from Kelly's blog. Review makes me want to read this, looks very interesting.

Following your blog now, also.

Wendy said...

It sounds so good and I love the cover!

Wendy said...

I became a follower, by the way. :)

Christina said...

Sounds like a great book and I would love an opportunity to win.

I am now a follower.

shylaloulou@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Would love to win. :)

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

I am a follower.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Tweet: http://twitter.com/morbidromantic/statuses/2718331025

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Valorie said...

Blogged: http://www.morbid-romantic.net/2009/07/14/book-giveaways-07-13-07-19/

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Leslie said...

I like the twist of having a heroine with a kid and an ex that's still in the picture.

I'm a follower. :)

gaby317 said...

this looks great - pls count me in

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

gaby317 said...

i'm a new follower

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Mishel said...

I've heard about this! It sounds great. I'd love a chance to read it early =)

- I'm a follower
- And I posted a link to this on my sidebar (http://creativitygone.blogspot.com)

M. said...

hi,
first time here,
i'm still a relative newbie to the UF genre so i'm interested when someone who's more well-read says a book stands out. i'd love to read this new-to-me author.

going to go become a follower now...

mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

Kimberly B. said...

I've heard great things about this book already, and can't wait to read it!
+1 I now follow you, yay!
+1 I tweeted it at www.twitter.com/KimBea

Tez Miller said...

If you're willing to post to Australia, I'd love to be in the running, please :-)

Misusedinnocence said...

I would love to read this. :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Llehn said...

The book sounds awesome!

I'm a follower.

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Phoenix said...

I can't wait to read this new book. I'm always looking for new, inventive stories and this one certainly sounds new and inventive.

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

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