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Dark Currents: Agent of Hel Hardcover – October 2, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 165 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Agent of Hel Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Jacqueline Carey

“A writer to watch—as the cliché goes—but more important, a writer to read.”--Storm Constatine
“[Jacqueline Carey] has a flair for character development and intricate plotting and world-building that recalls [George R.R.] Martin’s.”--SF Reviews
"Carey's storytelling ability is top-notch."--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Carey is the author of the critically acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology and postmodern fables Santa Olivia and Saints Astray. Jacqueline enjoys doing research on a wide variety of arcane topics, and an affinity for travel has taken her from Finland to China. She currently lives in west Michigan. Although often asked by inquiring fans, she does not, in fact, have any tattoos.
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Product Details

  • Series: Agent of Hel (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451464788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451464781
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jacqueline Carey is one of my favourite authors - her ability to weave an intricate plot with character development and emotional turmoil and romance astound me. I have read the Kushiel series many times (Phedre and Imriel), the Naamah's series (Moirin), and Sainta Olivia. In my opinion, Dark Currents is no where near the same quality as these. If you are looking for an urban fantasy or mystery novel that is a fun and easy read, you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for an epic story of a hero's journey like Kushiel's Avatar, you will be left wanting more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Dark Currents" is paint-by-numbers Urban Fantasy: there is a not too hard to figure out mystery, a pretty and somewhat outcast half-breed for a heroine, and multiple love interests.
Carey's writing style does not do "Dark Currents" any favors. It is simplistic, overly repetitive, and totally indistinct from the hundreds of other Urban Fantasy novels out there. In fact, the writing feels pretty lazy. The reader frequently gets told what Daisy, the protagonist, is wearing (either directly or using the "character stands in front of the mirror and describes themselves" routine) and, when something makes her angry or aroused, her tail twitches. Her tail twitches a lot throughout the book. Pop-culture references are common, with mentions of "Twilight" and Sookie Stackhouse. While these references may make Daisy seem more relateable to the reader (look, she sniggers at "Twilight" too!), they also cheapen the work, and will quickly date it.
The mystery is not too much of one. The protagonist's mother has a set of fortune telling cards which spell out what happened all too literally. Because of this, Daisy is not required to think, she just has to follow the images: there is a spider card and there is a guy with a spider tattoo! Maybe he is involved somehow....
"Dark Currents" gives Daisy not just two love interests but three -- all of which are totally hot in different ways. There is the dark, sexy, and mysterious ghoul, the hot boy-scout werewolf, and the flirtatious and friendly tour-bus driver who can see auras. The reader is constantly told that they are hot. Constantly. If you did not get the idea that they were hot the first three times they were mentioned, that is okay, because Carey will tell you again, and again.
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book from my local library instead of buying it, and for that I am grateful, because it was just awful. I have been a fan of Carey for a long time and I normally love her writing--with the exception of one other book, she always has interesting and unique concepts, well-developed and relatable characters, and paints vivid settings that feel wonderfully real.

Dark Currents, on the other hand, has none of these positive attributes. Everything about it fell short: the setting is not well-developed, the main character Daisy is not especially loveable (I was totally ambivalent toward her), and everything from the love interests to the humor felt incredibly recycled. I felt like Carey's incredible writer's voice had been lost in this stupid main character, who says "Gah!" when she's upset and talks way too much about her tail, which she hides between her legs when she wears jeans. The first-person narration was full of random and often juvenile asides to the reader that were supposed to be funny but just came off as strange--for example, at one point Daisy interrupts the storyline to say of her tail being between her legs, "And yeah, in case you were wondering, it does feel kind of good tucked up there" (paraphrasing). Ugh.

But my biggest problem with the book was that there was no character development whatsoever! I mean, AT ALL! The saddest thing was that I could tell Carey was trying, and there were lines now and again that implied she was trying to make Daisy grow in some way, but at the end of the book, Daisy was exactly the same as when she started. For example, the last line of the book (don't worry it's not a spoiler) is something about how she's okay with being "just nice"--and that's supposed to be some huge revelation for her character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jacqueline Carey is one of my favorite authors. She has an amazing voice; her writing generally has emotional depth, subtlety, intelligence and grace. Her female characters should be held up as an example of how to write women who are powerful, smart and resourceful while still feeling female (rather than an essentially a man in a woman's body with girl-like problems). To add to this, I think she is both a gifted writer as well as a gifted story teller--which pushes her books from guilty pleasures to something more substantive.

I also love urban fantasy. I read a lot of it. If I were to analyze much of what I read in the genre, rather than just experience it, I would say that while many of the authors tell a good story, often than aren't actually great technical writers. Also, I feel like many of the lead female characters try too hard to be the not-really-a-girlie-girl to the point where they have essentially male worldviews. Then, to make the characters more "female", the authors give them a host of personal problems, insecurities, and flaws that often carry from book to book without any character growth. Too often the two states the lead female character is supposed to be in are either super tough badass or super sexy badass. (Obviously I am not describing all urban fantasy here, but even some of my favorites have these tendencies.)

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Jacqueline Carey was going to write an urban fantasy. My hope is that she would take what was best in the genre and add her own creative twist plus an amazing lead character. When I analyze "Dark Currents", I am indeed impressed by her creativity. Her world fits neatly into urban fantasy while at the same time being unlike any other I've read.
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