Thursday, 7 October 2010

To Kill a Warlock by H. P. Mallory

"The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.
Dulcie O'Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She's a Regulator - law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world.
When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she's either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim.
Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie's got her hands full.
As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals."

I first heard about this title via a Teaser Tuesday post on another blog a couple weeks back (sorry but I forget which one!!) and the teaser made me laugh so I checked the book out. As a pretty cheap read on the Kindle, I decided to give it a shot and I wasn't disappointed. It took just a couple of paragraphs to make me laugh as when Dulcie is introduced, she' a little bit of a sticky situation. A very funny one.

Dulcie is a fairy, working in law enforcement, her best friend is a witch, she's self conscious, dedicated, smart, a struggling writer and has a crush on her very hot boss. She's working a particularly hard case, with some interesting twists. One of the biggest being Knight Vander, who is working undercover. Only Dulcie is allowed to know why he's there, who he is (well, to a certain extent) and other select details about the case. I found Knight as entertaining as Dulcie, especially towards the end when, erm, something happened that made things that much more interesting. Not that they weren't before, because they were. But I think my favourite character was actually Sam, Dulcie's best friend. She'd not seen too much, but she's everything a best friend should be. Smarter, totally trust worthy, and willing to tease and push Dulcie when it's needed. Also, Sam is a witch and with some of the situations Dulcie finds herself in, this makes for a very useful job and an entertaining one as well.

I don't often read lighter, humorous fantasy. I'm a much bigger fan of dark urban fantasy. It just tends to suit me better, dark, dangerous, constantly facing difficult decisions and life threatening...threats. I can find works like this where its got a lighter feel to it, where humor is one of the biggest focuses (in all aspects of the story), tedious, dull and irritating. I can't often find myself really getting in to them. But in this case, I did. I actually struggled to put it down (well, okay, not when WEG was on, but no book will deter me from WEG coverage right now, so it did take me several days to finish it).

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I really didn't figure out what was going on until the reveal. I guessed a couple things, but even those I only got partially right, a chapter or two before it happened. All the characters seem to have far more to them than you first assume. They're well rounded and believable. One of my favourite aspects of Dulcie is not actually her strength, but her self consciousness. It's not really a spoiler to say this so I'll explain a little more. Dulcie doesn't like having pointed ears. She thinks it's a big personal flaw and stops her being pretty despite being petite and slim. I think it's something that makes her very 'normal' for lack of a better word. Because I am certain every single person has something about themselves they wish they could change, something they worry about. And Dulcie has that, which helps make her that much easier to relate to, to care about. There were times when I did really wonder about Dulcie's sanity, I have to admit, but even when I was, I wasn't annoyed with her, I was laughing. And not really at her either, because I could see why she was thinking/doing what she was.

A fast paced read, a fun world to be a part of with some great world building. It's funny without being crazy or that feeling of the author trying too hard. The romantic aspect of the story wasn't actually given the page time I thought it would be, with other factors often over riding it. But it was fun and entertaining as well as having a unhurried feel to it, which I really liked. I actually only realised after I'd started the book (because apparently I didn't bother really looking in to it before buying it, I should stop doing that) that the author is self-published. So I admit I was more impressed at that point, because it really is a very well put together book with great characters and I was left wanting to know what happens next for Dulcie. It is well wrapped up, no major hanging plot lines and a satisfying conclusion, but plenty of room to explore more things in the next book. Which I'm really looking forward to and hope will be out sooner rather than later!! And I'm also really looking forward to trying her other book currently out, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, of which HP was kind enough to provide me with a copy of for review. I'm hoping to start it next week at some point, so look out for a review of that one as well. Currently HP's works are only available in ebook format, but don't let that put you off because really, you should read this!! Check out Smashwords for them, where they can be downloaded in various formats (or of course use Amazon directly for Kindle versions like me).

Rating: 8/10

Special Note: check back in a few days when I'll have an interview with H.P. and a chance to win a copy of one of her books!!

No comments: