Dante “Danny” Valente is a Necromance in the Saint City. Her job is to bring back the sprits of the dead for a final chat. Her patron god is Anubis, she carries a katana, and her face bears the tattoos and the jewel of her trade. She’s also a bounty hunter and is known to be one of the toughest in the business.

The setting is a far future Earth where some, rare, humans have started to manifest psionic powers. In addition to speaking with the dead, some psions can heal or use sex for magic. There are also Magi who cast spells and try to communicate with demons. Shamans seem to be similar with Necromances except that they have a loa or two as their patron god(s). The psionic gifts are noticed very early, during a person’s childhood, and apparently then a psion’s destiny is sealed: he or she will serve according to his or her strongest talent or maybe has to become a breeder or is sold in a black market.

The world is high-tech but it’s a technology which does essentially the same things as today but only fancier: hovercrafts for helicopters and airplanes, datalinks for computers etc. The one thing which is different are the slicboards which are essentially skateboards with antigravity tech. Otherwise, the world is pretty much modern USA: everything costs money and everyone’s lives revolve around earning money one way or the other. Even the Mob is still around. The only thing that seems to be really different are the religions: apparently, Christianity lost a lot of followers during and after the Awakening when the psionic people were officially acknowledged to exist.

Both the setting and the characters have a lot of attitude and style which seems to be the main point of both. However, the story is also quick paced and has a few quick twists. Dante herself seems to have more attitude than brains and more luck than skill. She’s very angry or frustrated or generally in a bad mood all the time and still has to relay heavily on her friends.

Dante’s morning doesnät start well. A demon, Jaf, comes to her house and forces her to a meeting in Hell with Lucifer himself. Lucifer has a job for Danny. One of his demons has escaped and taken with him the Egg which could bring about the end of world. Lucifer wants Danny to find both the demon and the Egg. To her dismay, she finds out that the escaped demon is someone she knows: Santino, a serial killer who killed Danny’s best friend, Doreen, a few years ago. Danny agrees to do the job and Lucifer gives him Jaf as a familiar to “help” Danny in her job. Danny, of course, isn’t happy.

Jaf reveals that he’s Lucifer’s personal assassin and could therefore be quite useful to her. He isn’t happy about being tied to an uppity mortal, either. Jaf, or Japhrimel, is the quiet and strong type. In fact, he rarely volunteers any information at all. Danny contacts old friends in order to first track down Santino and then to fight the demon. Her current best friend is Gabriele “Gabe” Spocarelli who is a police officer even though she’s very wealthy. She’s also a Necromance. Despite Danny’s protestations that she works alone, both Gabe and her boyfriend dirtwitch Eddie invite themselves to her hunt. Gabe was the officer in charge of Doreen’s security when she was murdered and Gabe was also Doreen’s friend.

Together the three psions and the demon find out that Santino has moved to another city, Nuevo Rio, where Danny’s ex-boyfriend Jace Monroe lives. Jace is also a Shaman. Nuevo Rio is a Mob city. Danny doesn’t have any choice; she has to follow Santino and avenge her friend.

Danny is such an unlikable character that I’m amazed how she can inspire such friendship and loyal as she does. She’s suspicious of even her friends, acerbic, and crude. But she’s a very interesting main character and proactive which is always a plus. I was also quite intrigued by the changes she goes through and I hope they aren’t going to be just quickly reversed in the next book.

I was a bit disappointed about how Jaf’s and Danny’s relationship evolved. That was way too predictable. I’m also a bit weirded out by this trend (okay, maybe two books aren’t yet a trend :)) of using a species called “demon” and then insisting that demons aren’t evil. Or deceptive. Or out to get human souls to Hell. If you just want an exotic, mythical race which isn’t evil, maybe you could, you know, use some other name for it…? Maybe it’s another twist on using blood-sucking fiends as romantic leads?

Advertisements