Monday, May 14, 2007

No Humans Involved, Kelley Armstrong

Title: No Humans Involved
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: 2007, Bantam Spectra
Category: Paranormal Suspense
Rating: 8.5/10

This is Kelley Armstrong’s latest in her Otherworld series. About Jaime, a necromancer--which sounds icky, but is in fact not really. Well, only a little.

Each book in the series is told in 1st person by some sort of paranormal woman. We’ve had Elena, a werewolf; Paige, a witch; and Eve, a dead witch. Jaime has been floating on the edges of the series for quite a while, helping out by contacting the spirits of the dead. She’s not what you’d think a necromancer would be: not gloomy or depressed, but vibrant and full of fun, a bit of a good-time girl. She’s made a career out of doing live shows in which she contacts the dead—usually just making up what people want to hear, with occasional real spirit communication thrown in for authenticity. Now she’s been offered a TV show, which has long been a dream for her, but in order to make the show a reality she’s given a sort of trial run—she and two other spiritualists are asked to contact the spirit of Marilyn Monroe. But once she arrives at the set, Jaime is harassed by a bunch of spirits who appear to be children. Jeremy, the Alpha of the werewolf pack (who’s been an interesting character in the series from the start), flies out to stay with Jaime and help investigate who or what could be killing the children.

This was an absolutely fabulous addition to the series! I was a bit disappointed by the last book—it was good, but rather forgettable. I wasn’t expecting too much from Jaime; she’s a character I’ve not been particularly enamored of, and she really doesn’t have any “cool” powers. That’s actually something she’s dealing with in the book—she wants to be a valuable member of the interracial council, but she most often ends up having to be rescued by someone. She doesn’t have superhuman strength or speed, or magical spells. She has to rely on her wits to see her through and she really does show that she’s a force to be reckoned with! I thought it was great. Anyway, we see so much more of her character in this book--her thoughtfulness, her giving nature--that I love her now! :)

And I’ve always loved Jeremy. He’s the quiet, responsible, strong leader who’s been interested in Jaime for a while (and she’s had a huge crush on him), but he's always put his love life way down on his list of priorities. I liked seeing their very mature relationship grow and develop. And the balcony scene! Hmmm.

As always, there are a couple scenes where the violence is a bit much for me. The body count is a little high for my taste; the violence is always justified by the fact that the world can’t be let in on the secret existence of paranormal beings, which I understand, but I can’t really get behind it as a reason to summarily execute the bad guys. But whatever.

The next book is Personal Demon, which will be narrated by a half-demon, Hope. Her powers are very interesting and her relationship with Karl has all kinds of good possibilities. Now I only need to wait until Spring '08. :( I just bought Dates from Hell, an anthology containing a short story about Hope. There are also a lot of the online stories I haven't read.

Question for people who read the series: In NHI, there were all those mentions of what Eve does in the afterlife. Is that explained in Haunted? Because I have to admit I skipped that book because I just couldn’t get into the idea of a dead main character. LOL. But from NHI, Eve's life sounded really interesting. So someone tell me if I should go back and read it.


Jess said...

Love, love, loved the balcony scene. Or, as I think about it, Balcony Scene A and Balcony Scene B. Eve's story is really interesting, actually, and she makes for a fun narrator, being a little bit, how shall we say, morally flexible? Or, I guess I could say she has her own particular sense of morality. That, and her relationship with Kristof, make the story fun to read. I recommend it.

In NHI, I liked Jaime more than I thought I would, and Jeremy... well... I knew he had it in him, but Holy Lycan Lover, Batman! Yum yum!

nath said...

I love this book as well! I mean, I've been a fan of Jaime and Jeremy for a long time, but I wonder how their relationship was going to turn out and I really like this resolution :D very mature way :) and oh man, the balcony scenes!!! Hot :D

As for Eve's role, yes, it is explained in Haunted... basically, here are the spoilers:

** spoilers**
Remember, in Industrial Magic, when Eve bargained with the Fates to send Paige and Lucas back to the mortal world... well, the Fates call in the favor. Basically, she had to catch/trap some kind of demon/monster... and in succeeding, she gained the status of angel. But since she wanted to remain with Kristof, she's a ghost 6 months per year and the rest of her time, an angel. So that's what all the mentions are referring to.

** end of spoilers**

Anonymous said...

You knew that Jeremy was a werewolf but you never really saw his animalistic side until this book. I loved the balcony scene (both A and B). I thought this was a great entry into the series and just loved the emotion that Armstrong brought to the series.

Rosario said...

...the violence is always justified by the fact that the world can’t be let in on the secret existence of paranormal beings, which I understand, but I can’t really get behind it as a reason to summarily execute the bad guys.

I've read only Bitten so far. I liked it quite a bit, but I never continued with the series, mostly because of what you say above. I remember in the first book when they execute this guy whose only sin had been (IIRC) to be the one on duty at the lab when the blood of one of the werewolves came in. Not a bad guy in the least, but still, kaput. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

That said, I think I'm tempted to read this one. Alyssa said she thought it stands alone well. Would you agree? Could I read this one without reading all the books in the middle.

Jennie said...

Jess--LOL! Yes, Jeremy seemed so mild-mannered and then yowza!! Shows that those quiet guys can still be exciting. ;) Eve is a cool character, I shouldn't discriminate against her just because she's dead. LOL.

Nath--Yay! Thanks for the answers. I didn't love the scenes in Industrial Magic that took place in the afterlife--they were a bit too out there for me. But I'll probably buy Haunted and it can sit in the TBR until I feel like reading it. :)

Jane--It was a particularly good entry I think. Jeremy was so reserved until all of a sudden he let loose. And wow, the fireworks!

Rosario--Yay! Someone else who's sensitive to uncalled-for deaths. I feel like such a wimp sometimes. :) I had this problem especially with the second book, Stolen, where they killed a whole slew of people just because they knew too much. In NHI, however, the violence is more excusable but ... I'm still not a fan of capital punishment, even in fiction.

Re: reading NHI--I think I agree with Alyssa. There will be things you don't pick up on. Lots of characters from previous books drop in, so you might be a bit bored in a couple scenes because you won't care about them. But everything is explained quite well. I think you might really like this one.

Andrea said...

I've never really been one for paranormal reads (not including ghost stories, for which I can't get enough), especially in romance novels but now I might just have to look into this series!

Jennie said...

Andrea--I'm not much for paranormals either, but these books are very good. Armstrong has a whole bunch of short stories available for free download on her website--you should check those out and see if you like. Then of the books, my faves are Bitten, Dime Store Magic, and this one. :)

Jane said...

My feeling about the violence was that these guys are animals. Remember Clay's line, "I am the local psycopath". It's so true. They did the dirty work and killed people, even seemingly innocent ones, to protect their clan, their pack over everything. That may be stomach turning, but I found it to be very "real".

Jennie said...

You're right, and that's what causes the great conflict in Bitten (and makes it such an interesting book). But my feeling is that when they choose to live as humans, they have to obey the rules of society. If they wanted to keep to themselves in Stonehaven and be wolves, then acting like animals is okay. Obviously they don't have this choice, because they are both human and wolf--and I think Armstrong does a great job of showing the struggle between their two natures (though you're right Clay seems to have no such trouble). The fact that they do struggle with it makes me able to stomach the violence.

ames said...

Ok-I read the review, but none of the case they are spoilerish.

I really want to read this book for Jeremy, and now I'm very intrigued about this balcony scene. :P

Jennie said...

Ames--It's a very good scene. :)