Staying Dead (Retrievers, #1)
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Staying Dead (Retrievers #1)

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  2,405 ratings  ·  143 reviews
Wren Valere specializes in finding things gone missing and then bringing them back, no questions asked...only this time there is a magical complication and what is required to get things done is enough to give even Wren nightmares.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Luna (first published August 1st 2004)
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Bridgette Redman
I can think of few things more frustrating than to see interesting characters, promising plotlines, and a singular setting squandered by a writer who ignores her craft and buries all those alluring aspects in poor writing and turgid style. It’s especially surprising when the author spent 15 years as an editor and has no excuse for the elementary errors that spoiled what could have been a fascinating read.

No reader should be forced to excavate characters, setting, and story from writing that is...more
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's a paranormal PI type story, with really great character development. I loved the interactions between the heroine (Wren) and her partner Sergei. It reminded me of the chemisty between Bones and Kat in Frost's Night huntress series, minus the steamy sex scenes (or at least not in book one of the series.) I also liked the idea of magic as electrical current and the various non-human magic users (fae, angels, demons - none coresponding to traditional my...more
Bethany C
I didn't completely hate this book, but I frequently found myself zoning out, uninterested. The story was okay, I just couldn't get into it at all. This book/author probably does have a lot of fans, but for some reason it just didn't do it for me. It seemed like it took me forever to finish, especially since I had to keep rereading paragraphs that I realized I wasn't really paying attention to. I actually genuinely liked the characters; like I said, there was just something about the way it was...more
Sep 28, 2012 Ithlilian marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I wanted to read this for a long time, it sounded interesting, and it's a series that has been around for a bit. In my quest to read any urban fantasy I can get my hands on, this was a must try. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. This novel is agonizingly slow. The mystery solving was ridiculous, and there was nothing else to take it's place. The characters are unlikable and uninteresting, the world isn't special, the romance is not enjoyable, the writing style is choppy, and the plot isn't exci...more
Staying Dead, by Laura Anne Gilman, is an urban fantasy that has a good combination of expected and unexpected to it. The story was comfortable without being horribly predictable. Gilman started with a typical lineup, then put her particular flavor and seasoning on it. In this world, there are not one but two All-Powerful Councils (at least, they think so) who are trying to take care of the world. There are the Talents (magic users) of various flavors, the non-magic using humans, and then everyo...more
Competently written, albeit completely generic, urban fantasy.

Spunky feisty female protagonist: check.
Calm and collect male partner with mysterious past: check.
Potential romance between the two: check.
Magic powered by electrical current: pretty cool.
A Council of mages: check.
Secret organization that manipulate behind-the-scenes: check.
A variety of magic creature blending into the urban landscape: check.
Dark hints of things to come: check.

Word by word, scene by scene, it is all generic. Plot, cha...more
Fun, light series and a very light intro to it.

It's modern fantasy variant #7: mages/magical animals/etc. are in hiding, have their own politics and so forth. Butcher, Buffy, yadda yadda yadda.

Our heroine is a re-thief: she takes stolen items back to their rightful owners. I can't imagine there is *that* much work in it, but I can suspend disbelief. I can also imagine that her definition of "rightful owners" is pretty flexible.

The story plays out like a heist movie: she has a mission, she finds...more
Janice (Janicu)
The book starts with Wren beginning a job. The client is missing the cornerstone of their building and Wren has been tasked to find it. The book goes straight into the story as if the reader has had some background from some prequel story. While I liked being considered smart enough to figure it out, and I did figure it out, I still wish that I knew their backstory earlier on in the book. I'm afraid that not knowing for as long as I was made the book boring at first. I thought the first couple o...more
Stephanie Griffin
STAYING DEAD, by Laura Anne Gilman, is a fantasy book about a thief named Wren. Wren has the Talent to harness electrical power from her surroundings, and use that energy to fight bad guys while she works as a Retriever of stolen property.
Someone has stolen the cornerstone of a very large business building. Wren has been hired to bring it back, but there is a soul locked in the cornerstone, and when that soul gets out, it opens a big can of worms for Wren to peck away at. Who wants her dead? Who...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
While in the end I enjoyed this story, as I was reading it, I couldn't always make up my mind. I really enjoy the Sergei storyline and the mystery behind him, and his and Wren's interactions, but something about the story seemed to drag. In some places there is long, drawn out world building that didn't seem entirely relevant (though it may be relevant in future books, I couldn't say), and other story lines were wrapped up really hastily and clumsily. In the end, I'm glad I powered through it an...more
Kenya Wright
Jun 06, 2010 Kenya Wright rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody who likes to be enetertained!
I found the book rather boring and unexciting... The concept of energy was wierd and unimpressive. I found myself not remembering the main character's name or even caring if she died or lived which is a big sign for me that I don't like the book. Additionally, none of the other characters were interesting... It was like I was back in high school reading an urban fantasy book keyed to SAT study.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a series recommended by Goodreads. It's worth buying the whole set, but check out the first book to make sure it's up your alley!

The main characters are attracted to each other, as they should be - the series is enhanced by their ever changing relationship and chemistry.

The female lead has abilities that help her locate missing stuff, which the series throws in for a pretty good side-story. The main stuff is secret societies and politics, which thankfully don't dominate the story! Poli...more
I never finished this book, although I kept trying since I actually paid for it. I picked it up because there is a legitimately interesting premise here. Unfortunately, the entire book seems to consist of explanation of the world, mostly through flashbacks. The initial mystery (Oh no somebody stole a piece of a building!) seemed boring, and by the time I found out what made it interesting, I was turned off by the heroine's lack of empathy. Wren's crush on her partner, Sergei, piqued my interest...more
While I was reading this book, I got interrupted by a book I had reserved from the library coming in (because they never come in until you are in the middle of another book). I set this one down to read the library book, which should have been my first sign. Then another book I had reserved came in, so I put off picking this book back up to read the second library book. Sign number two. By the time I finally picked Staying Dead back up, I found it hard to make myself finish. For some reason, I j...more
Brad Foley
I was angry with myself for weeks for bothering to read this series. In my defense, I started it because one of the associated "PUPI" series was recommended on NPR. I finished it because I couldn't believe it was quite so bad.

The characters are (maybe) tolerable, but none of them are compelling. The writing is barely acceptable (I've read worse). But the series is one set of post hoc contrivances after another to try and salvage a world whose logic is self-contradictory, and a plot full of unpa...more
May 06, 2012 Estara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Estara by: I liked the PI series by the author and this is the same worldbuilding
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2012
It is interesting to see how much better plot development and consistency are in the Bonnita Torres books compared to the first Cosa Nostradamus books.

The hints of fun characters are still there, but they're awkwardly paced, for my money and while the Torres books have still some problems with tell not show, here it is much worse for my taste. Wren is set up as such an uberelite Retriever in the eyes of her partner and everyone else (they say she is and everyone agrees) but you never see her be...more
Katharine Kimbriel
Our heroine is Wren Valere, a mercurial young woman in her late 20s who is a lonejack, a solo magic user raised up in a soloist tradition. She works as a “retriever” – essentially a thief with considerable magical talents. Someone stole something from you – something magical, dangerous, powerful? You pay Valere and her “manager” Sergei Didier, and she’ll steal it right back.

New York City is a vibrant place at any time, but in LAG’s world talents (those who feel and manipulate current) and nulls...more
It was a bit harder to get into than some of the urban fantasy I've read recently, but it had a pretty solid plot and character development (to me). I even purchased the second book from Second and Charles not long ago.

My one complaint was I got a little lost as to the focus of the story about halfway through but picked it right back up after about 20ish pages. It might have been because I read it over the span of about 4 weeks...I don't know......Now, really, this portion was probably the auth...more
The first book set in the Cosa Nostradamus world and an introduction to Wren and Sergei, a "talent" and her partner.

In the Cosa Nostradamus world there are two types of people - the "talents" and the nulls. The talents can feel and manipulate energy currents while the nulls can't. There are varying types and levels of both (for example nulls that can feel the currents) and Wren's particular skill is retrieving objects. Specifically, she's a thief who gets hired to steal (or steal back) various o...more
Edité en français sous le nom "la magie de l'orage"dans la collection Luna, cette petite lecture est plutôt agréable.
"Wren Valère est une enquêtrice d'un genre très particulier. Pour mener à bien ses missions - récupérer des objets volés ou perdus - elle se sert de ses dons exceptionnels de magicienne, captant la formidable énergie née des orages sur Manhattan. Elle appartient en effet à l'élite des magiciens, les Talents. Mais ce que Wren va découvrir, au cours d'une mission périlleuse, c'est q...more
Phule77 Erickson
Picked this up at the library on a whim, I'm going through the dark/urban fantasy they have.

I really enjoyed it. The writing style is easy to get into, and it has it's own definite universe and style. Probably the closest thing I could compare it to is the Kim Harrison "Hollows" series in tone, though it's third person rather than first person.

A lot of the other reviewers seem to feel that the mythos of the book is somehow disappointing, but this is an irritating view to me. It's sort of like if...more
I thought this was the second Retrievers novel, actually. Haha.

I've only read one book by Laura Anne Gilman before, and that was the first Vineart war novel. This is so different--in tone and genre--that I'm really surprised. Pleasantly so.

1, I don't really read urban fantasy novels of the female-wearing-leather-on-the-cover variety (I don't think it's trashy, as far as books go, come on, I read regency romances when I feel down!). It's only that I prefer books where people drink tea with their...more
Megan Schiffour
Some days I wish there was a way to give half stars.

I am torn on my feelings about this book, for one it took me entirely too long to read and at no point did I really have that moment where I couldn't stop. On the other hand, I didn't want to not finish it and I think it became after a while that I had dedicated so much time to it that I just needed to finish on principle's sake. The details of this book did not really stick with me from page to page and I found myself forget "important" event...more
First thing to know about this book: it is not primarily a romance. The two main characters are a male and a female, and they do have a close relationship. But they do not suddenly realize they have loved each other for years and fall into bed together in the middle of the story, or at the end of the story. That being said, there is a relationship that develops and changes as the story (and series) progresses.
This is a story about a modern day world in which magic and technology try to co-exist...more
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
Summary: In a world in which most people believe that magic doesn’t exist, there remains a sub-culture of Talent thriving. These folks use their powers in a way that keeps them hidden from the unbelievers. Wren Valere is a Retriever, a talent who locates things that have been missing for people who do not want the police involved. She returns the missing object to its owner for a fee negotiated by her partner and agent Sergei Didier. Both Sergei and Wren are loners who make a very good team prof...more
In a New York where magic is real - although no-one with true talent would use such a crass word as magic - Wren Valere and her partner Sergei work together to "retrieve" stolen objects. Sergei is the deal-maker, finding clients, arranging terms and deals and contracts. Wren is the one who does the actual fieldwork; able to manipulate energy, she can infiltrate, locate and retrieve the objects they have undertaken to return.

Businessman Oliver Frants wants the cornerstone of his office building...more
My buddy, Amy on Shelfari's Paranormal Mysteries, suggested I read this one ASAP when she heard I had it on Mt Git'r'Read. So...I did! I'd been looking for a quick reading story and this did the trick. I also wanted a title for What's in a Name Challenge 2 for the Medical Condition section. Ta-Da! I'd think 'staying dead' is the ultimate medical condition...anyway...
I really enjoyed reading this one, even if I had some difficulties keeping up with dialogue or changes in scenery and characters fr...more
I really, honestly enjoy the Luna line. I know they've made unpopular decisions (and, you know, rejected me thrice ;) ), but I really do enjoy the line, no matter how far behind I am.

As with Staying Dead, Laura Anne Gilman's first book in the Retrievers series.

Wren Valere is a Talent, or more simply put, a mage. She can use and control the energy currents in the world around her, to various ends, for good or ill. She is also a lonejack, someone who works freelance jobs, free of the controlling i...more
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By the time she was fourteen, Laura Anne Gilman knew she would be an editor, a teacher, or a writer.

By thirty, she was all three. She's a little focused that way (when not being distracted by -oooh shiny!).

After fifteen years working in NY publishing, Laura Anne became a full-time writer, with more than twenty novels under her various bylines, including the Nebula Award-nominated Vineart War trilo...more
More about Laura Anne Gilman...
Hard Magic (Paranormal Scene Investigations #1) Curse the Dark (Retrievers, #2) Pack of Lies (Paranormal Scene Investigations #2) Deep Water (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 3, #21) Bring It On (Retrievers, #3)

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