Inara Caan is an embittered vestal to The Order of the Avenging Hand. Her job, traveling worldwide with her demon partner, using magic to destroy monsters and mythological creatures wherever the Order finds them. Her next hunt takes her to Boston. She expects to find villainy beyond compare. Instead, she has been tasked with killing a happy family with a young daughter.
For reasons she doesn’t understand, the Order betrays Inara and sends a winged assassin to kill her. She goes on the run, taking the family with her. She battles her way through the streets of Boston, finding help in the unlikeliest of places. As enemies close in from all sides, she stretches the limits of her power trying to save everyone. She may escape the Order but not the demon bound to her soul.
Explosions, car chases, and sword fights abound in this fun paranormal mystery. Inara is a classic urban fantasy badass: a disillusioned operator with serious magic chops, excellent combat skills, and a dark backstory. Other portrayals may put off some readers: one point-of-view character repeatedly uses offensive terms for Japanese people, and the characters of Asian descent are more one-note than, for example, the Irish puca, a nuanced twist on European mythology.
The magic is flashy and fun, and the book doesn't waste time on technical explanations. The story moves at a rapid clip, balancing action with humor. Between car chases in a bright orange Mini Cooper and demon battles in Fenway Park, there is never a dull moment. Readers will find it a diverting escape and a promising start to a new series.
Takeaway: The nonstop supernatural action and snarky quips make this a great autumnal version of a beach read.
Great for fans of: Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: N/A