Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eye of the Tempest, by Nicole Peeler

Eye of the Tempest, by Nicole Peeler.  Orbit Books, 2011.  338 pp.  978-0-316-12808-7.

... in which Jane True, half-selkie, saves her friends and works to stop a major magical disaster.

This book is the fourth book in the Jane True series.  If this review seems early... that's because it is.  The book isn't supposed to be released until July 26, but the Borders near me put it on the shelves a week early.  For whatever reason, I seem to have reviewed book one, but not books two and three.  Jane, the daughter of a selkie mother and a human father, has managed to survive many dangerous events in the past three books.  At the end of book three, Jane learned of a widespread threat against the future of all magical halflings and humans.  Book four starts with her returning home after some very dangerous events, only to be attacked again on her home turf.  Jane and her friends (most notably, the barghest Anyan) hear news of an ancient powerful being asleep under her hometown of Rockabill, Maine.  Whoever manages to find and awaken this creature gets its power, and therefore a huge advantage in the coming magical war.  As events unfold, it becomes clear that this sleeping creature could destroy most of North America, and as Jane's friends are incapacitated one by one, it's up to Jane to fix the problem herself.

This book suffers from the same problems that the rest of the series has had: slightly flat characters and a fairly predictable plot.  I guess this is not the sort of book you read for its epic complexity and its life-like characters, so given its genre, these are fairly major complaints.  To be fair, Jane herself has become a much more likeable character, and has come a very long way from where she was at the beginning of book one.  Another plus is that the irritating vampire Ryu, a very prominent character in the first three books, is almost completely absent in this book.  Instead, the spotlight moves to Anyan, and his developing relationship with Jane.  This developing relationship would have been more interesting if Peeler made Anyan less mysterious, but I still think that Anyan is a huge improvement over Ryu.

The plot in this book was a little uneven.  In past books, particularly book three, the plots were pretty action-driven, with a lot of dangerous situations and such.  This book is a lot tamer... There's the attack on Jane and Anyan in the first chapter, and then not a lot of big events until close to the end.  There are lots of minor surprises along the way, but for the most part, this is a book that revolves around people searching for clues.  Despite the more sedate pacing of the book, however, the ending is a lot bigger in its scope and implications than anything else Jane has seen.  I'll forgive the book its uneven pacing since the ending promises a great deal for the future.

I think this is probably my least favorite Jane True book so far, but it's also the most promising, in its own way, since it sets up a lot of really interesting events for the future.  It's a common pitfall in middle books, as characters are moved around to facilitate bigger plots yet to come.  Like the other books in this series, it's a really fast read, and certainly good for a lazy day.  I would still recommend this for anyone who enjoys the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, and I will still continue to follow this series because I enjoy the premise and I'm intrigued by what is yet to come, but based on the merits of this book alone, I have to give it 3 stars.

3/5 stars

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