The Fury
by Sloan McBride, fantasy (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-213-8


It is always a nice change of pace to read an urban fantasy type of romance where the author has struck a nice balance between foreign jargon and ordinary words. There are some fancy words here, but the author incorporates them in such a way that one can deduce the meaning without having to refer to the handy glossary. No guessing games, no awkward names full of apostrophes, no pointless capitalization of ordinary words - just a nice smooth-flowing story that doesn't distract me with technical clutter.

In a way, this story reminds me of Ursula Bauer's Immortal Protector, not because the author has ripped off Ms Bauer but because of some similarity in storyline and pacing. We have an archeologist, Reese Whitaker, whose life takes a turn for the more interesting (and dangerous) when she literally bumps into a cute but strange fellow, Dagan. He claims to have come to protect her, and what do you know, Reese soon finds herself being shot at and more by demons and other villains. Dagan is the son of Enlil, the Sumerian god, and he is also a fancy law man with powers charged to protect folks like Reese. As the story progresses and our two main characters go on the run, Reese learns of Dagan's background and the reason why she is suddenly so popular with supernatural folks.

The Fury is a cleanly written and enjoyable story. As I've mentioned earlier, I find this story refreshingly free from much of the distracting technical clutter that make many other stories of this sort an awkward read. The pacing is fine, the emotional component in the romance is presented well enough for me to accept that there is more between the main characters than merely hormones going wild, and the last few pages are really romantic to read indeed. The characters are also likable and I especially appreciate how Dagan doesn't try so hard to be the most emo fellow in the world.

But I have one issue with this story and that's with the frequent disconnect between the heroine's feelings and her situation. Oh, Reese is feisty and what not - in a positive way, of course, rather than in an irritating manner. But for someone who has been shot at and more, Reese seems curiously more preoccupied with her relationship with Dagan. I'd think someone in her shoes would be more... worried, I suppose, if not confused or scared, but Reese is surprisingly sanguine about things. She even suggests to Dagan at one point to pretty much relax a little and shag. Even when she is injured, she is thinking about how she needs Dagan to hold and comfort her. There is something rather robotic about her lack of natural response to various situations in this story. I'm not saying that she needs to be hysterical about everything, mind you, it's just that Reese seems rather fixated on Dagan and her feelings about him when a more natural response in a particular situation would be to at least show some fear.

Still, The Fury is an enjoyable story that has enough romance and action to keep me happy. This is a pretty good start for a new series.

Rating: 85


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