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Kate Bond

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The Reapers Are the Angels
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Bite Me

Bite Me - I'm trying the sequel to this now, because I really, really WANT to like this series. I just...don't, quite. Val gets kicked out of her house on her 18th birthday (for being 1/8 succubus, which is 100% her crazy mother's fault because she's the one who fucked a demon, but I think there may be more going on with her mom than we've been told so far) and immediately walks into a job as a San Antonio police officer. So that's problem number one. She did not have to attend cop school. She did not, apparently, receive a badge or weapon. She is being unleashed on the Texas streets, as a detective, apparently, because she is part demon and good at killing vampires. Hoo boy. So she and her Boy Wonder partner, Dan (don't get me started on this guy), are basically the worst cops ever. They show up to question people and don't identify themselves as police officers first. The attack AND KILL vampires without identifying themselves as police officers. They sneak onto private property without probable cause or search warrants, and then when they DO have a good reason to go somewhere they're not allowed (an informant tells them a missing child is on the property), they ask for a search warrant and are turned down--and when Val goes anyway, there are ZERO consequences. She doesn't even get reprimanded. She breaks into a private citizen's house and kills a person and NOTHING HAPPENS TO HER. This is really annoying throughout the novel, and it's so easily remedied--just make Val work for a PRIVATE organization, like, say, the Demon Underground--you know, the organization the series is NAMED FOR. Grrr.And the Buffy thing. Yikes. Don't have everyone call your character The Slayer. Don't invite that comparison. And early in the book, Val quips(?), "The name's Val, not Buffy. Do I look like a blond cheerleader with questionable taste in men?" Hmmmm. Ok. So. Let's be clear: this novel, and the characters contained therein, is/are nowhere near as empathetic, interesting, nuanced, or witty as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a property that has impacted EVERY aspect of pop culture because it was so incredibly brilliant, and even the tiniest of throwaway side characters are nuanced and fresh-feeling. Furthermore, don't talk to me about questionable taste in men. Dan makes Riley, Buffy's did of a Season Four love interest, look like Rhett Fucking Butler. Dan pouts like a motherfucker when he finds out Val is part demon. He's a judgmental tool belt. Which leads me to my bigger issue, which is maybe just as much on the editors (and beta readers, I guess) as the author: everyone is either really good or really evil. Blue spends A LOT of time explaining everyone's feelings and how everyone means well and they're all doing their best, and a person has to be EVIL for anyone to get mad at them and it's just exhausting. It made me dislike every single character. Had Val stood up to Dan when he was a jerk and admitted--even to herself in her first person narrating head--that he was being uncool, I'd have liked him as a love interest. Look, my husband is a kind, handsome, very intelligent man who makes a shitton of money, and that means that he is also an obnoxious, judgmental pain in the ass. He drives me fucking crazy. And I love him. And I love arguing with him. It's all wonderful. Relationships NEED that, and fictional relationships need it especially. Conflict makes things interesting and REAL. Natural conflict and gray areas also set up better mysteries--the bad guy here is super-obvious almost the instant he/she is introduced, even before we know there is going to be a big bad guy--because it allows for the idea that seemingly good people can do bad things. If only bad people do bad things, you have no mystery, and also that's why I'm suspicious of Val's mom's meanness--homegirl's blood relations can't be terrible in this series (Val also has a real Dawn of an annoying little sister).Oh, and there's a really cute dog, but the way he speaks is a pet peeve for me: all caps directly into people's minds, Terry Pratchett's Death-style. But this dog isn't as funny or lovable as Pratchett's character(s? I guess the Death from Good Omens is different from that of Discworkd, since Good Omens occurs on Earth?), so it's just kind of a bummer. Jay Kristoff does this in Stormdancer, too, and it's why I haven't been able to finish that book. I don't know whether I'd recommend this. I guess if you read as much as I do. And maybe for middle grade kids (I read Gone with the Wind for the first time when I was nine; kids can handle a lot--and anyway, this thing is pretty PG). But I'm gonna read the sequel, so.