Review: Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Dark Currents (Agent of Hel, #1)Dark Currents (Agent of Hel #1) by Jacqueline Carney
Urban Fantasy
October 2, 2012

Reviewed by Tori

In the small resort town of Pemkowet, wealthy humans and supernatural creatures (called eldritch) live together in an uneasy harmony, all under the unbending authority of an ancient Norse goddess, Hel. Daisy Johanssen, half incubus and half human, helps patrol the town and it’s inhabitants as an official agent of Hel and a liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department.

When a college student is found dead and all signs point to eldritch involvement, Daisy is paired with sexy police officer Cody Fairfax and charged with finding answers quick. Daisy has always had a crush on Cody, but this secretive werewolf has always made it clear that pack comes first. As Daisy puts her crush on hold and opens herself to the mystery surrounding her, she finds her emotions aren’t so easily held in check and that is a bad thing, because if her emotions exploded…so may the world.

Jacqueline Carey’s Dark Currents is a quirky urban fantasy with an interesting modern world set up and a cast of distinctive characters. Besides the normal supernatural cast-wolves, fae, vamps-we also have ghouls. Attractive ghouls. Attractive breathing, eating, body parts intact ghouls. Set in a small resort tourist town in the Midwest, our heroine, Daisy Johannsen, is a half breed incubus who uses her faith and mother’s love to offset her volatile emotions from her father’s side. Volatile emotions that should she give in to them, could start the beginning of Armageddon. Daisy is an agent of Hel. Hel is a Norse goddess who rules over the edritch that live in the town. Her word is law and Daisy is her enforcer.  The story, though presented as adult fiction, has a YA feel to it. I believe this is due to our heroine Daisy Johanssen.

Daisy is a contradiction. While she is a half demon, there is no dark past or tragic moment for her to overcome. Raised by her mother, she has had a pretty good life in this town. Due to a prophecy, she does have to avoid the temptation, called the seven deadlies, of giving in to her demon side, otherwise hell on earth will reign. We aren’t given much information on the ‘whys’ of this prophecy beyond she alone helps to keep her father and hell on one side of a mystic wall and giving in will allow her father and others to cross over and stay.  I did find her immature in ways that didn’t quite agree with the storyline presented. She is an adult but acts like a teenager at times. Her use of ‘gah’ and ‘huh’ became repetitive and annoying, she is forever unintentionally insulting people (especially friends), and she blows her top at the blink of an eye. Rather like a hormonal teen. There is also a physical attribute she possesses that, frankly, is weird and made me uncomfortable. Not the attribute itself, but the intimate manner in which it’s referred to. And it’s referred to CONSTANTLY throughout the story. I don’t want to spoil, but Jen from FictionVixenand I spoke of it at length and both agreed it was weird.

Though the romance is VERY low key in here with only vague promises and possibilities, there are three potential loves interests though Daisy is a single gal who has quite the wandering eye. First we have Cody Fairfax, a secretive werewolf police officer and a major life long crush. He is part of an insular pack and though he dates humans and other species, he will never settle down with anyone who is not pack. Then there is Sinclair, an aura reader who runs a local supernatural tour bus. We don’t know much about Sinclair but he has caught Daisy’s eye. Lastly, we have Stephan Ludovic, the head ghoul in town. He is sexy, in a biker gang, and his whispered promises to help Daisy with her emotional problems both excites and scares her. I am skeptical of this trope introduced so early in a series as it usually ends up dragging out far longer than necessary.

The mystery is intricate and intriguing despite the lightness of the overall storyline. Multiple subplots and characters come into play as Daisy and Cody attempt to find out who killed the college student and why. Ms.Carey uses prejudice, myths, and religious faith to further deepen the storyline and engage us to the characters.

Daisy experiences a growing period throughout the storyline, learning more about her self and other eldritch as the investigation progresses. Her “solving” of the mystery was another example though of the YA immaturity I felt in the story. It was all rather silly and anti climatic.

Carey’s Dark Currents is an easy to read Urban Fantasy that will entertain in some areas and roll eyes in others. Readers will certainly appreciate her imaginative world building and personable characters though maybe be disappointed by the juvenile tone of the story.

Overall Rating: C

Recent Reviews:
Dear Author – B
Paranormal Haven – 4/5
Fiction Vixen – C

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