REVIEW: No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
Dear Ms. Armstrong:
I first fell in love with you when I read Bitten in 2001. Since then I believe I’ve read the book, oh 10 times. Throughout the Women of the Underworld series, one man has been present–quiet, strong, steady. Jaime Vegas is a necromancer with a crush on said man, the Alpha of the Werewolf Pack. The inclusion of a quiet but meaningful romance between Jaime and Jeremy Danvers is an added bonus to this strong entry in the Women of the Underworld series.
Jaime is a stage performer who uses her necromancer skills to build a successful but not big time sensationalist show. She’s offered the opportunity to do a “reality” show with two other sensationalists. If she shows well on this stage, it could launch her television career where the serious money is. She’s not quite sure of herself as she is getting older and wonders whether she’s still got it. After all, Jaime truly can talk to the dead and see ghosts unlike the other “performers”. The thing is when Jaime shows up at the shoot location, a house in Brentwood, it is haunted and by young children too. The children won’t leave Jaime alone and she feels compelled to solve their mystery in order to free their spirits.
Jeremy Danvers, the Alpha of the Werewolf Pack, is coming to visit her for a week. This is a big step in their non relationship. Jaime, who is usually so confident and self assured, is a bit of mess when it comes to Jeremy. She views it as karmic payback for all the relationships she was able to blithely walk away from. Jeremy is the one guy she needs to chase. But balancing a romance with her dream guy with the increasing demands of the ghosts is making Jaime a bit on edge.
I love the new twist that you bring to the necromancer mythology. Jaime views herself as one of the lesser paranormal beings. She has no increased physical strength nor the ability to heal rapidly. She can’t cast spells, start fires or create havoc. During the course of the book, Jaime recognizes that necromancy, the power over the dead, is a fearsome ability and she comes to grips with her power and her place, not only within the supernatural world, but also in the corporeal realm. You also showed the downsides of being paranormal. Jaime is constantly being hounded by ghosts to carry out their last wishes whether it is to say goodbye to a loved one or to find a lost companion or to solve the mystery of their deaths. This constant harassment leads Jaime and other necromancers to ignore the ghosts at times and it is a device that is creatively used to show how important balance is in Jaime’s life.
Balance seems to be the theme of the book. Jeremy has to balance that Alpha pack duties with his desire to have a relationship with Jaime. It’s refreshing to see how adult the two handle their attraction, the consummation, and the future. Jaime has to balance her desire to help with her seeming need for fame. In the end, it’s clear that she makes the right decision for herself. Your books, at their best, are about more than just a really cool supernatural world and this one delivers with action, emotion, sexiness and suspense. My complaint would be there was almost too much inclusion of past characters who were nice to revisit but I thought were gratuitous.
This a book that readers could pick up and enjoy without having read the previous in the series but it also rewards the longtime reader. That is also a tough balance for someone to maintain. I can’t wait to read more about the family that you have created. B+