Lynne Perednia's Reviews > Darker Angels

Darker Angels by M.L.N. Hanover
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's review
Mar 02, 2010

it was amazing

In Unclean Spirits, the first novel featuring Jayne Heller, she discovered her late uncle's demon-fighting legacy, a fortune and potential powers of her own.

As she continues on a quest of self-discovery, she encounters friends and foes, learning how to work with both and keep both at arm's length in Darker Angels.

Because Jayne has kept her uncle's phone, she gets a call from a someone who knew him -- and who needs help. Jayne and her band of hunters, who gathered around her in the opening novel, head to post-Katrina New Orleans to help former FBI agent Karen Black.

Once there, this "don't want to be the Scoooby gang" faces individual and group moments of truth, partly from the voodoo-inspired threat and partly from their own reluctance to face facts about how these former lovers now depend on each other.

Karen is everything Jayne thinks she is not -- self-confident, knowledgeable and kick-ass in battle. But why does she think she needs help from, if not Uncle Eric, then from his niece? And why does the youngest member of the Voodoo Heart Temple know more about Jayne than Jayne herself?

Hanover's story is a layered portrait of a young woman coming into her own. Jayne is coping with the new-found knowledge of her favorite uncle's wealth and what he really was. She is dealing with continuing a relationship with a man she is attracted to, but feels she needs to keep her distance because of a former relationship of his that hasn't quite been finished. Her other new friends, also employees, have baggage of their own and are accustomed to doing their own thing even though they consider themselves a team now.

New Orleans and the emotional price in prolonged recovery plays a subtle role in this story. The voodoo aspect is handled not with tackiness, but with trepidation and respect. The city receives a love letter from Hanover.

Although it's not known if other Jayne Heller novels are in the works, they would be welcome. The characters have compelling storylines that have not yet come to fruition, and Hanover (fantasy author Daniel Abraham) is very talented at having their exploits serve their inner journeys. Both Unclean Spirits and Darker Angels make The Black Sun Daughter's story well worth reading.
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