Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Living with the Dead
Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1-84149-396-1
Pages: 440
Series: Otherworld #9
Type: Adult Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Robyn Peltier is a completely normal person trying to recover from the loss of her husband. When her new boss is murdered and she finds herself the prime suspect in a murder investigation, Robyn is way out of her depth and turns to her best friend Hope Adams for help. But Robyn doesn't know she's accidentally stumbled into a supernatural turf war, or that Hope is a half-demon and her boyfriend Karl is a werewolf. Now Robyn is forced to accept a whole new reality to save her life.

This is the ninth book in the Otherworld series (which started with Bitten) and sees a change in style. Previously the books had featured one or two narrators, while this one features five giving the story a somewhat disjointed feel. It also continues on from Hope's story in Personal Demon and this means that although this is supposed to be Robyn's book, it never really feels truly hers while the massive cast makes it hard to connect with the new characters.

The plot is cleverly written and well plotted with plenty of twists and turns, and the idea of a human being sucked in to the Otherworld is interesting. The storyline feels darker than the other books, featuring several abusive situations and unsympathetic characters. Even one character who I started the book feeling sorry for ended up being someone I despised by the end of the book. There is also pretty much no romance in the book, except in those scenes featuring Hope and Karl who are toning down their relationship so as not to upset Robyn.

The world building focuses mainly on clairvoyants who haven't received a massive amount of attention in previous installments due to their rarity. It is interesting to see how a group of supernaturals have separated themselves from others in order to protect themselves. It has been made clear in the past that the Cabals are desperate for clairvoyants so to see that relationship from the clairvoyants perspective adds a new dimension.

It does feel that this is setting up the end-game of the series (which will play out in the final three books Waking The Witch, Spell Bound and 13), especially when the book ends with Hope considering all of the unusual events from Broken (book 6) onwards. It does bring these events to the front of the readers mind, but it is another feature that makes this book feel less like Robyn's and more like a gap filler in the series.

All in all, this was an interesting read and I'm looking forward to Frostbitten.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 7/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 39/50

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