Somehow this lovely book fell from library heaven into my lap. I cannot even remember how, but I believe it was the author looking for people who read her genre. Suffice it to say I lost my mind into the happy zone of awesomeness which is the book.
I love Urban Fantasy reads and like other people have said the one thing which has happened, just like with zombie reads (yes this is an important thing to mention in conjunction with this book), the fact is the genre has reached the “been there done that.. oh no you didn’t use that cliché again” stage. Sure a lot of times this is fine and dandy. Well unless you name your leading man Zed and you’re a elf/gnome/brownie hybrid who has gone into the detective business for yourself, then you will get more eye rolls and expletives as I read it till the cat runs for cover and my husband has to remove it from my hand asking me to take a break. (Kidding.. sort of, the cat usually just stairs at me and my husband tells me there are no more good books written anymore so he does not count). At any rate, they always fall somewhere in there.
Let’s face it folks, fantasy has done it to us over and over. One of the reasons we love it. Faraway lands, elven princes and brownie housekeepers for your wee cabin in the woods where the hero grew up and dragons either fighting with or against you. It is all OK. Urban Fantasy takes us to a slightly narrower window where it is very difficult to find new things. The way to top an Urban Fantasy is to either a) make it original in the story telling ie: a loveable character, an incredibly awesome, inticing well written story etc.. and it means even if it is the same old conventions it still is a great read.
That leaves b) an original plot, a character cast whose interaction and personalities balance out to not fit the normal conventions and… the best thing?? Original fantasy creatures which fit into the urban world with the ease and distinction like they have been part of fairytales since Hans put pen to paper. You’re asking yourself how could this even happen, can’t add more to them, they are classics and you can throw a leather jacket on a troll but you cannot create a new class of creatures or fae, right? WRONG.
Ms. Shrum did it. Not only is there a new creature, with a politically correct name, but it is not a race or a creature it is just a gal who happens to have the genetic markings and “powers” of a hybrid human called a Necronite, or for you rude people, she is a zombie. But don’t say that because Jesse (our protagonist) will be extremely unhappy. And she’s pretty much a badass.
I love Urban Fantasy and I have read so much that I have come to expect thinking, "Yeah, seen this before, but I love it so that's okay." Most of the time it IS okay. There are enough differences from one book to the next to make it okay, but I can honestly say in this book I did not find myself doing this ONCE.
What makes her special in this book is her Ncronite status means she can die for you. Yep, she can die for you if the conditions of your death qualify you and you have at least $50,000 (or around there or more) She suffers the complete death, including Rigor Mortis etc..
Enter in the conflict, not everyone likes the idea of Necronites, you see the church does exist in this alternative reality too and the world will always have someone to complain about someone.
The story had a bit of world building and a slower pace at the beginning, but I found it worked on purpose. It was not to slow it was just like living in a day of Jesse’s life. Until the “conflict” and their player’s steps in and then life and the story picks up speed and does not stop.
The protagonist, Jesse, is pretty unique. Sure there are other characters who are snarky, but the way Ms. Shum was able to communicate the idea of “otherness” in the form of a girl who died for you a living for people was really great. I got her, got how different she was and how as special as she was supposed to be to everyone around her, she just found it… wait.. I just heard her sigh and mutter something about getting over my analytical self! *grin* She trusted very few people and those she did, she still never let all the way in.
Everything affects how a person grows up and deals with situations. Her first death to the last death. She is dealing with it with the tools she has collected in her emotional toolbox. I love how she is not perfect, how even the love scene was stilted and reflecting she was not OK in her own body. She made decisions that made me want to yell at her and tell her not to do it, but at the same time I love that about her more than wanting to her to do the right thing, because it wouldn’t be the right thing for her.
Can you tell I became highly emotional and involved with the Jesse and the whole book? I cannot wait for book two because this book was so focused on Jesse. I fell in love with her best friend, I liked how all of them messed with each other and were all so believable.
So jump onto the Urban Fantasy which I truly believe will become the next BITTEN on TV in the future and be a series and an author whom we have special dedicated shelves too.
I said it on other social media and I will say it again here:
I take my urban fantasy very seriously, almost as seriously as zombies.. WAIT, did I say ZOMBIES? HAH! YES ZOMBIES but not the kind you are thinking of because zombies is JUST not politically correct! .. RUN I TELL YOU. RUN and trip your friends up to get your copy today!!!!!