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The Reading Jackalope

Iron & Velvet

Iron & Velvet  - Alexis Hall The book isn't terrible taken all together, though if it hadn't improved half-way through this would have been a hate read, but it's just not particularly memorable either.

Kate is a private detective operating in London, despite this being a first novel, she's got quite a past involving vampires, the Wild Hunt, a dead partner, and other sundry things. Most of those things aren't connected and they all lead to info dumps about Kate's past. There's a murder in the alleyway behind a club owned by a vampire prince, and this prince hires Kate to solve the murder. The book is written in a pastiche of noir detective novels, which isn't my favorite type of writing when it's done well, and this one has enough purple prose to choke a unicorn.

Of note, Kate is a lesbian and the vampire prince is a woman, so is the were-wolf leader and the head of the witches in the city. Guess who flirts with and/or dates all three of them. I mean, props for being a f/f novel, but old tropes are tropey even when you add a new twist. Speaking of old tropes, I don't think that the one where a woman is kidnapped and needs to be rescued by a lover is all that improved if said lover is also a woman.

What irritated me most about the novel though is that it's not very original. It's a bunch of sci-fi/urban fantasy tropes and characters thrown together. There's Patrick the ex-vampire lover who sparkles and watches Kate sleep, for example. It's cute, but the novel is FULL of those kind of meta-references to various fandoms.

The story, despite my irritation at some of the plot lines, does pick up about half-way through and it was enough to wipe the irritation at lines like "Kauri's eyelashes swept across his eyes" from my mouth. It probably helps that by this time I was skimming the book and so most of the actual language of the book never made it to my brain, just the pertinent plot points.

Despite my frustrated and more negative review, I don't think the book is terrible. It was ok, the problem is that I can't really think of anything I enjoyed all that much but I can think of several things that irritated me. I suspect the second book is probably better, but I won't be picking it up. Plus I'm annoyed that the book isn't better because I think there is a wealth of material to mine for LGBT paranormal romance novels, this one just didn't do it very well.