The employment of the Morrigan in a story about vampires was not something that I expected. Neither was the merging of a vampire and a witch into one incredibly powerful being. However, it worked brilliantly! Cin Craven is everything that I love in a heroine – and the fact that she is a vampire was a different twist. Unlike a lot of vampire stories that have become popular in our modern culture, her condition as this type of paranormal creature is not fully romanticised, nor is it portrayed as something that all simpering teens desire. It was a lot darker and, due to this, felt a lot truer.
I enjoy anything set in the Jane Yellowrock world – it is always sassy, strong and constantly reminds you that no matter how odd you may be, there is somewhere in the world that you can fit in. If anything, I found this short story easier to relate to than the others so far – the twin Everhart witches are not only trying to cope with their sad past, but they are forced to confront a school bully. For those of us who have been bullied, we all imagine that day that we are reunited and can show that person how wonderful we are now that we’re not in school. When you’ve found a place in society that you can actually fit into, you want to show others that all of the hurt in the past doesn’t matter anymore (even when it does). The Devil’s Left Boot allows the twin witches to do this. And it works brilliantly.
There is something so tantalising about a main character that is so obviously not good. Whether it’s someone like Cherry Kisses’ Lena Falco, or a morally ambiguous hero like Batman, the blurred line in morality makes these characters both more relatable and scandalous. Especially when the tale ends in a truly moral dilemma and the choice made really isn’t what the truly good heroes would make.
How Do You Feel? was a completely unexpected short story – it was quite dark, with a twisted and unexpected strain of humour throughout it. The completely unforeseeable love story that rounded it out just polished it off to make me want to read the rest of the Nightside series. The use of a main character whose name is Dead Boy should have given me a hint to what kind of story I was in for though.
This story took a lot of unexpected turns – first, the journey started at an auction house, then Clare finds out that she’s actually up for auction, and then she finds out more about her true heritage. All in all, the combination of these facts created a tumulus ride which spanned a number of beautifully constructed settings. The fact that the alliances and loyalties of the obvious love interest within the story were vague and difficult to pin down helped to add to the unpredictable, fast-paced track of this novella.
From the very first sentence of this short story, you are thrown into the middle of the conflict. Lia’s self-berating and gradual realisation of the culprits in her attack help to add to this immediate sense of drama and action. The twists and turns of the plot are impossible to predict as her inner strength and moxie are revealed. To me, this is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story – once the cause of one point of conflict is revealed, a number of other problems quickly arise.
Recruit touches on a couple of issues for the werewolf pack. Firstly, they need to find new recruits without telegraphing their vulnerability to those who wish them ill. Secondly, when they do find someone who wishes to join them, the need to assess their suitability becomes increasingly difficult. Roy’s attempted blackmail and slightly skewed way in which he attempts to ingratiate himself with the pack is a great way to remind us of this.