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Staying Dead (Retrievers, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 23, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
A cornerstone with a spell of protection has been stolen from the Fronts building and the owner wants to get it back. Wren and Sergei intend to retrieve it from the collector who hired a rogue mage to steal the spell. Before they can accomplish the deed, they also must deal with a ghost that was freed when the spell was stolen. If Sergei and Wren want to collect their fee, they have to stop the runaway spirit, who is intent on revenge
Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff and Mercedes Lackey are going to love STAYING DEAD, a romantic fantasy that stirs the senses and creates a story that is both fulfilling and magical (no pun intended). Laura Anne Gilman makes the reader believe that magic exists and creatures of myth and legend inhabit the earth. It will be very hard to wait for the next Retriever's novel coming in the summer of 2005 because Laura Anne Gilman has cast quite a spell on readers.
Gilman has written a great book here. I actually didn't like the opening few pages and darn near put it down -- but I was reading it on a plane, so I soldiered on. I'm glad I did. Within a few more pages I was hooked, and it really gathered steam as it went. Wonderfully developed lead characters, with well done romantic subplot (a feature that rarely interests me in a book). I think what I like best about it is that it offers a fully formed vision of an alternate New York where magic works and demons wander the streets, complete with prejudice, fanaticism, greed, foolishness and all those other human traits. Promises to be the start of a series, so more good stuff to come.
I REALLY dislike science fiction/fantasy books that have 90% of the book talking about the romantic relationship and 10% about the actual plot. If I wanted romance I'd read Harlequin, and since this book is in the SciFi/Fantasy section, I expect to get something along the lines of Sci/Fi Fantasy.
My real problem with this book, is the writing style. The author tends to start at the end of a scene and work backwards. Once or twice I didn't mind, but for EVERY SINGLE SCENE?! That's a little much. BAsically, in one chapter Wren would be trying to figure out what's going on and then in the next scene she's taking a course of action and while she's on this course she's leaving snippets of information on how she came to this conclusion. I'm not explaining it very well, but it made the story choppy and slow. I just found it made the story go 1 step forward and then 2 steps back.
The storyline was interesting, magic security block is stolen and it turns out that there is much more to this stone than Wren originally thought. Which is cool. I wish I could've learned a little more about what made Wren tick. I didn't feel like I truly got to know her in this book. I found Sergei a lot more interesting and I'm curious to see how his past will affect his new, "upstanding" life. But I don't know if I'm curious enough to buy the next book.
I had real hopes for this novel but was sorely disappointed. Gilman's writing just barely passes muster. The characters are a little flat and the plot is dull. I give massive kudos to the dust jacket writer because they managed to make an otherwise boring story sound riveting and I was sucked in. It looks like Gilman plans to try to make "Staying Dead" be the initial installment of a new series of books. If this is true, Gilman has a lot of work in front of her to make it work. I can't honestly say that I would read another book in this "series" based on my experience with this one.
Wren is a thief and a renegade magic user. She is sent out on a fairly easy job that becomes extremely complicated as it becomes more and more apparent that more is going on behind the scenes. There is excellent world building here and the urban setting works really well. I don't want to say too much more about the plot.
Wren and Sergei are fantastic characters and their interactions with each other and feelings for each other made much of the book. The budding romance between the two of them is very nice to watch, but it doesn't overshadow the rest of the book, merely it colors the characters' actions and motivations. They work very well together and actually trust each other which is nice to read about.
The writing is a little bit choppy, but I imagine this will improve in future books as the author gets her footing. If it were not for this choppiness in the writing style, I would have given this book 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first read this book when it came out in 2004. It was clearly a good book with an interesting world scape and strong characters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by E.P. McLean
slow read and too much detail to remember unless you want to be serious when reading sci-fiPublished 14 months ago by David Burrows
Could not put it down. Most realistic as if it could really exist somewhere. Will read more by this authorPublished 20 months ago by Barbara Turner
Fun, light series and a very light intro to it.
It's modern fantasy variant #7: mages/magical animals/etc. are in hiding, have their own politics and so forth. Read more
I read this series, and the related Paranormal Scene Investigation series during a month-long cheap-fiction bender. Read morePublished on October 26, 2012 by Brad Foley
This book was fun and engaging, I really liked the characters. It got a little slow and repetitive a few times, as if the author wasn't sure how to bridge between the current... Read morePublished on September 12, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Our heroine is Wren Valere, a talented young woman in her late 20s who is a lonejack, a solo magic user raised up in a soloist tradition. Read morePublished on August 11, 2012 by Katharine Kimbriel