Grade: Β — Fantastic book within the genre, probably worth reading regardless of which genre’s you like, but has a setting or style that may not appeal to individuals who are not fans of a given genre. Also, to avoid bias, the highest grade I’ll give a book by someone I know and like.
The first book in the series of the same name, Greywalker is a highly enjoyable Urban Fantasy. One part crime fiction, one part horror, Greywalker delivers a highly appealing main character and supporting cast. Though, as with most Urban Fantasy, I would have preferred a slower introduction into the supernatural, I admit that is no longer allowed and found myself truly enjoying the book despite my anachronistic tastes. If you have ever been tempted by the genre, this is a good one to start with.
Seattle, Washington (USA) — Modern Day
Told from the first person point-of-view, Greywalker is as much a gum-shoe detective story as it is a supernatural thriller. It begins with our intrepid heroine, Private Investigator Harper Blaine, being killed and picks up quickly from there. Harper (great name, by the way) is only dead for two minutes, but her death opens her life to the paranormal world that lies just beneath Seattle’s cloud covered surface.
While Greywalker is a great story with appealing supernatural beings, what really drew me in was the main character. Harper is a totally believable protagonist, a tough PI who remains feminine throughout. She can handle herself in a fight, but is no Rambo (or Ramba for that matter). She never comes across as a victim, but neither does she seem a superhero. She is, in other words, a totally believable, tough (but not butch) female character.
Indeed, my only critique of the story is that I would have liked to see a slower transition into the supernatural world than Kat provided. Don’t get me wrong, it had a great opening, but once she died, I would have liked to see her learn about the true meaning of her powers at a slower rate. That, unfortunately, is no longer allowed in modern fiction.
Though part of a series, the story does stand alone on its own, a rare treat these days. It has closure, but I still felt the desire to pick up the next in the series. From what I understand, the books get better as they progress. I look forward to the next installment.
For full disclosure: I have met Kat while she was on tour, enjoyed her company and have been known to correspond with her on line., It is therefore possible that my opinion has been biased. I will note, however, that I met her AFTER I had begun reading the book, so take that as you will.
- The Big Idea: Kat Richardson (whatever.scalzi.com)
- What Urban Fantasy Means to Me (tor.com)
- Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing November Releases in Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance (tor.com)
- Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing November Releases in Epic Fantasy (tor.com)
I really enjoyed GreyWalker and it got me on the hunt for other Urban Fantasy titles. Not all UF titles, or series, are created equal. Kat’s second book, Poltergeist isn’t my favorite in her series, but it didn’t stop me from picking up the next one and the next one.
It’s easy to fall head over heals for her characters, even the scary ones. If you have read her book, let me just say that Carlos has a certain appeal.
Just finished her 5th book Labyrinth. It was a great read. It makes me want to see the Grey.
Do you have any other UF writers you can recommend? I’m always on the hunt for another great writer I can read…
There is, of course, Jim Butcher and his series the Dresden Files, but I am a bit partial to Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, which begins with Magic to the Bone. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but…
Also, I am told that Deadtown, a new series by Nancy Holtzner is quite good. It has just started off in 2009, so you won’t have to read two dozen books to catch up.