Hunter of Demons by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A police procedural, a paranormal, and an urban fantasy walk into a bar…
Caleb Jansen is an unregistered paranormal in a world where those with paranormal abilities have to register with the government. When he helps his sister-in-law reclaim his brother’s corpse from a demon that’s walked off in it, he’s possessed by a drakul–a vampire. He meets John Starkweather, a special agent with SPECTR, when John attempts to exorcise the demon.
What I liked about this are the different take on the vampire (she really did her research with that), the urban fantasy type world (set in Charleston; I don’t think I’ve ever read anything set in Charleston), and the flawed characters. In a matter of 127 pages, Hawk manages to create a world I can’t wait to go back to.
I read this in one, fast-paced sitting, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next in the series.
3 of 5 stars
If you’re a fan of superhero movies and comics, this is the novella you didn’t know you wanted.
It’s about getting caught in the crossfire (metaphorically) between Heroes and Villains in a corrupt, Gotham-like city called Panopolis. Edward Dinges (yes, it’s pronounced ding-us) is an ordinary dude working at a bank when a Villain called the Mad Bombardier robs it. The robbery is a strange beginning to a life-changing relationship for Edward.
This little story takes the moralistic superhero paradigm and turns it on its head. The main Villain is a nuanced character with an interesting backstory and a moral code. The main Hero is a pushy tool who is a borderline stalker. Edward follows a blog that reports on the goings-on of Panopolis called the Supertruther blog, and it asks some questions about what it means to be an on-looker and consumer. By consuming the show that the Heroes and Villains put on everyday when they clash throughout the city, are the so-called ordinary citizens contributing to the unsafe status quo? Are they, with their expectations and admiration of the Heroes, perpetuating the corruption and dysfunction of Panopolis?
As for the writing, it’s pretty tight, as it should be in a novella, and transparent. Each scene has a cinematic sensibility with its focus on action rather than introspection. That’s not to say that there’s no introspection. The first person POV from Edward’s perspective lends itself to introspection when needed.
The serialized presentation of the first two novellas mirrors the format of comics nicely.
And now I’m off to read the second one!
4 of 5 stars
If you knew the world was going to end, but you could save it, would you? That’s the question Henry, our sarcastic narrator and protagonist, has to answer.
I did not expect the beautiful gut punch this novel is. With its unique treatment of grief and mental illness, it’s like no other YA novel I’ve read (granted, I don’t read a ton of YA, though I did when I was a kid). Also, the fact that the main character just so happens to be on the LGBTQ+ spectrum is refreshing. This is not a coming out novel. It’s more like a coming to novel–as in, coming to life again. Sort of.
Have I mentioned the aliens yet? (That’s actually what initially intrigued me about the description for this book.) They’ve been abducting Henry for years and have given him 144 days to decide whether to save the world. His journey to deciding is made all the more interesting when he meets Diego–who has just as fraught a past as he does and might be interested in more than just friendship–and by the compulsively readable first person narration we get from Henry.
Hutchinson’s descriptions of Henry’s grief due to his boyfriend’s suicide are spot on and made this book a stand out for me.