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Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover
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's review
Apr 28, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, mystery, urban-fantasy
Read in April, 2012

Daniel Abraham under yet another pseudonym. Typical urban fantasy setup -- attractive and disaffected girl in her twenties inherits untold wealth when her estranged uncle dies, and also his supernatural fight with creepy demon thingies.

I always react a little . . . complicatedly to men writing female POV urban fantasy. And by "always" I mean here and for Tim Pratt, the only other example that springs to mind. These guys write books that actively respond to all the bitching I do about urban fantasy written by women -- need better worldbuilding, less bad sex, tell me more about the cool magic -- and it obscurely pisses me off. That it's happening, that I'm categorizing it that way, etc. A lot of women's urban fantasy is pretty crappy, but it's hugely popular, and in the same way I try not to judge the romance field, I don't want to judge urban fantasy as inferior just because it's a women's literature. Women like things! That's okay! And then these guys come along and write stuff that is higher quality in many respects, and it pisses me off that my brain takes their stuff more seriously without passing go. Like it's more urban fantasy and less paranormal romance just by having a dude's name on the cover, and like that's automatically a good thing. Complicated, like I said, and I don't really know what to do with it.

(Though I find it obscurely pleasing that the guys tend not to do hugely well with the female POV urban fantasy, in a market sense).

Anyway. File this one under 'wanted to like more than I actually did.' It's doing some amusing things. The heroine has the requisite ridiculous name (Jayne pronounced Zha-nay, doncha know), but everyone spends the entire book mispronouncing it. Ha. And she also has a lovely habit of calling men on their patronizing bullshit, including an excellent "I already walked away from my real daddy, what the fuck do you think I need you for" speech. But . . . eh. The romance is irritating, the plot straightforward and uninspired, the characters relatively static. Nothing to see here.

Daniel Abraham is a better writer than this. Hell, James S.A. Corey is a better writer than this.
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