Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't Fear the Reaper-Jones: Cat's Claw Reveiw

The second Death's Daughter book is out and Callie is back!

Calliope Reaper-Jones is the eponymous Death's Daughter in Amber Benson's second book of the series, Cat's Claw. Like the first one, Callie is tossed into another adventure. This time not to save her dad and potential immortality, but return on all the favors book one cost her. Starting with returning the adorable little hell hound Runt (Griselda) to Hell, or rather the North Gate of Hell where Runt's father, Cerberus, needs Callie to do something for him.

Callie rushes of to Purgatory to find the soul of a long dead Egyptian architect, that has somehow fallen off the radar. In the mean-time she has to deal with the shade of her former-not-quite-lover Daniel, aka the Former Protégé of the Devil, some weird aura-expert that seems to know what Callie’s immortal unique kill is, and a mess of angry Egyptian gods.

I won’t go into all the detail here, that would be ruining it for everyone, but there are twists and turns and trips to Hell, Purgatory and Vegas.

Let’s instead talk about the author and her creation.

Amber Benson is the creator of this tale, but I would not be surprised if there wasn’t a tiny Callie in her brain screaming at her telling to write. And how to write. And when. And how much.

Callie is a wreck, but thankfully Amber Benson is not. This book is much better than the first one and the tale is very fun. I really did not want to put it down once I started. People have accused Callie as being too fashion conscious and maybe even a little shallow. Well that is how she is supposed to be. It’s all a façade. Callie doesn’t want to be immortal or the Scion of Death, or anything. She wants to be a New Yorker. She wants nice shoes and maybe a nice bag to go with them. A hot guy would be nice too. Trouble is Callie wants “Sex in the City” and she is stuck with “Dante’s Inferno”.

I think Amber does a fantastic job here of showing the superficial Callie and the REAL Callie that lies just beneath. If Callie was a vapid, air head she would have died in the first book; immortal or not. But she isn’t.

Now that we have the second book in hand we can see what we have in store. This is a modern Divine Comedy. Like Dante, our first tale was in Hell and our second in Purgatory. There are also many references to Dante’s magnum opus here too.

We get to know Callie a bit more here too. There is less focus on the secondary characters and more on her. This is good, but I did miss seeing the scenes with her sister, Clio. I liked the introduction of Callie’s magic; the girl has some power and I hope we get to see it in the next book.

Just like it took me a while to like Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, it took me a bit to like Calliope Reaper-Jones, but now I do. I see through the façade to the real Callie now. I can’t wait till she sees it too!

If you like modern-supernatural-horror/chick-lit books and are not afraid to pick up some new terms (I did have to look up what Manolos are and how much they cost…yikes!) this is an fun read.

Cat's Claw is a fun book that manages to improve on the first one of the series and makes me excited for the third.  Don't know if we will have more after that, a trilogy seems about right, but if we do then I am up for that one too.


Shiai said...

A very insightful review. I have appreciated how Amber has created such a comfortable world for the reader, making it so easy to settle into it. She's been building a very engaging story, and I can't wait to see where she brings it to with the third book.

Pulp Herb said...

I will admit the author's name sold me on the first one and I got through about 10-20 pages and dropped it. I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll try again based on your statement that the second is much better.

I find it interesting you had difficultly getting into both Calliope and Rachel Morgan. Clearly I agree with the first, but I was sold on Rachel in about three pages.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Herb. Your experience is not unique. I have a buddy who loves all things Ghosts of Albion, but hated the first book of Death's Daughter.

The second book is much better and I liked the characters a lot more.

Rachel: I thought Rachel was an airhead at first, making stupid mistakes because she refused to plan. She is still doing "dumb" things, but if she were dumb she would have been dead a long time ago. Compare this to Elena Michaels/Danvers from KElley Armstrong's books who I liked from the start (and I didn't like Clay till about 7 books in! Now I think he is great).

Both characters have grown on me now, despite of or maybe even because of their faults. Rachel and Callie would rather have normal lives I think, but they would get board with that and start poking a dangerous demon with a stick.