Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar #review

Title: Blood, Smoke and Mirrors
Author: Robyn Bachar
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, 2010

While some reviewers bitched about our protagonist, Cat, being too stupid to live, I’ll disagree because I felt Cat made some honest mistakes. Yes, she’s somewhat self-centred, but hell, I know a couple of crazy cat ladies who’re somewhat similar. They’re not bad people, and I feel part of the story’s charm is seeing how Cat’s bad choices dump her in hot water. Whether she’ll learn from her bad choices, now that’s going to be worth finding out. If anything, author Robyn Bachar could have worked a little more on Cat’s motivations, but other than that, it was a case of sitting back to watch her muddle through her problems.

Because for all her self-centredness and bad choices, Cat’s an incredibly loyal, caring person for those close to her, even if it’s to her detriment. She’s a down-to-earth, everywoman kind of lass who’s found herself in a situation where she has a position of power thrust upon her.

Cat found herself in a bad situation in the past when she fried some guy who attacked her—only it goes against her path to harm others, hence the business of her being outcast. The double whammy came in when her boyfriend, Lex, who’s some sort of a hotshot enforcer among the supernaturals, a guardian, was the one who turned her in.

Basically, Lex is the honourable Southern gentleman sort, whose hang-ups for doing things right can make him a bit of a pain in the hoo-ha, if you get my drift. Which is exactly why Lex and Cat’s relationship went south in the first place—because he so stubbornly clings to his role as guardian to the detriment of personal happiness. And yes, this is a major stumbling block in their relationship. Put two stubborn people convinced of their own point of view together and you’re bound to get misunderstandings. We’ve all been there.

We pick up with Lex coming back into Cat’s life as well as the fact that she’s been nominated to take on the role of ambassador between earth and the realm of Faerie. And from there things get a wee bit more complicated when some of the demons from Cat’s past get resurrected. The lady’s got major beef with her past issues. So much so that it can and does cloud her judgment.

Then when Cat reckons she’s got a handle on the whole vibe about taking on the role of Titania, there’s trouble with the vampires. I won’t say what sort of trouble, but as always, Cat goes into a situation without taking full cognisance of the full ramifications of her choices. And yes, it’s a rather lovely mess.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book and I hope there’s more where this came from. Bachar offers a very good balance of romance and narrative, with just enough of both elements. The world-building is imaginative and well realised, and makes me want to spend more time in her setting. Her characters come across as real people, with doubts and faults. The writing is solid and, while the actual story arcs could have used a bit of tightening, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and would definitely pick up another by this author.

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