Review: The Grendel Affair

Title: The Grendel Affair
Author: Lisa Shearin
Format: Mass Market Paperback

The Plot: Makenna Fraser, a seer, loves her new job at SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations), an organization that protects humans and supernatural beings from each other while keeping humans unaware of the paranormal, but when she discovers a plot to set grendels loose in New York City on New Year’s Eve, her job description suddenly gets a lot more dangerous.

The Verdict: Although light, Lisa Shearin’s debut is a great little (literally; it doesn’t hit 300 pages) urban fantasy, with an engaging protagonist and plenty of action.

The Rating: 7/10

The Meh Bits:

  1. There are plot holes. To explain them would be to spoil things, but the plot points could have used a little more double-checking, as the villain’s main plan (and the reason SPI are trying to stop it [and how is SPI funded/maintained in the first place?]) are a bit thin on the reasoning.
  2. The characters aren’t investigated too deeply. Mac, the protagonist, is a quirky newb, and her handsome, enigmatic partner has a troubled past. That’s about all you need to know–and all you get to know–about them.

The Good Bits:

  1. It’s really fun. The latter half of the novel hops from one action scene to the next with the zeal of a bride taste-testing cake samples. There are several characters (members of another SPI team) introduced solely to partake in the action sequences, and they are amusing action-hero archetypes who aren’t focused on exclusively enough to grate.
  2. Mac, our not-entirely-fearless hero, is cute, quirky, and new enough to SPI that exposition comes, if not naturally, at least more easily than in many urban fantasy series openers.
  3. The action’s tense and well-written: gruesome enough to tantalize but not enough to gross you out.
  4. The worldbuilding’s well done for such a quick read. From page one, Shearin immerses you in Mac’s world, where vampires lurk on street corners and dragons invite you over for tea.
  5. The romance is sweet but takes place mostly in the background; at the end, the characters are hardly riding off into the sunset, and their relationship will be fun to watch through the upcoming books in the series.
  6. Mac’s partner, Ian, is quite protective of her, but it’s made obvious that this is because Mac is not a trained field agent and not because she’s a woman or his love interest.

The Rec: If you’re looking for some really fun urban fantasy with a happy, mostly angstless female lead, this is the book for you.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Top Ten Tuesdays : Top 10 Summer TBR Picks | in the land of the dragons

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