Thursday, 17 May 2007

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong


Okay, I thought I should make it clear that I have a little bias here. So for anyone who may be reading these reviews with the view to getting an objective opinion. This one might not be as objective as usual - though reading through it just before posting, I think it is. :) (Note to self I must find another word to use instead of love - LOL)

A quick summary of the plot - Jaime Vegas (necromancer) hopes taking part in a television programme which intends to raise the ghost of Marilyn Monroe will lead to her being offered a show of her own. However, before that can happen she finds out the gardens of the house she is staying in hold a far nastier secret. Jaime calls on her fellow supernaturals for help – Jeremy Danvers the alpha werewolf and Eve Levine her 'ghostly' contact on the other side. It quickly becomes apparent that something evil is at work and Jaime may need to push herself and her powers farther than she’s dared to before.

I loved this book. Jaime is one of my favourite Otherworld characters, maybe because with her insecurities she is the most human of the supernaturals we have met. And I think of all the characters she is the one I can relate to. I think the scene I love most in Haunted (Book #5) is when she's on the phone to Jeremy wincing at the words coming out of her mouth yet unable to stop herself talking. And here we have a whole book of her. :)

Her relationship with Jeremy is touching and believable and takes a big step forward. He, the alpha werewolf who gives no outward signs of his feelings and Jaime who almost seems to overflow with emotion at times. I have been looking forward to them appearing in a book together ever since it became apparent how she felt about him and I think the relationship works beautifully. I always find it a worry when I really love a character and I know they're getting their own book. I have a tendency to be disappointed because I've built my expectations up so high, but that didn't happen here.

Kelley Armstrong’s characters are always a delight to read, every one an individual with their own motivations, quirks, fears and desires. As a bonus they also talk like real people – not just like characters in a book. (My favourite one-liner being Eve’s sock puppet reference towards the end of the story.) We also get a sneak peek at how Marsten and Hope’s relationship has been developing, which makes me look forward even more to the next book. (My second favourite line being Marsten's comment to Hope about checking her security.)

Some readers may question the presence of Lucas and Paige as they do seem slightly superfluous to the storyline. However, Savannah is necessary to the plot and without her adoptive parents it would be harder to explain why she suddenly appeared. So I can understand why they are included, though they don’t appear to contribute much to the story. For the first time I almost like Savannah, I think partly because of the way she doesn't insult Jaime. Maybe she's slowly growing out of that horrible teenage brat phase she was in. Though I still don't think I'm quite ready to read a book about her yet.

I can't end this review without mentioning Jaime's other relationship - the working relationship she now has with Eve. The final scene of them together I loved - LOL it made me think of Cagney and Lacey, or Charlie's Angels (except there are only two of them.) Although I guess it won't happen for a while (we have Hope and Cassandra's stories to come first) I very much look forward to the next time we catch up with Eve and Jaime.

If you’ve not read the previous six books of The Otherworld series and don't want to start at the beginning this is a pretty accessible entry. (Though I would really recommend checking out the other books, especially Bitten.) There are references to characters and events from previous books but the main plotline is pretty much standalone. Bitten remains my favourite Otherworld book, but No Humans Involved definitely makes my top three. And I’m already looking forward to Book 8.


Marg said...

I am slowly working my way through this series. My next one is Dime Store Magic I think!

Naomi said...

Jamie is easily my favourite Kelley Armstrong character, but whilst I adore her werewolf books, I enjoyed the two Paige books less. I'm reluctant to get "No Humans Involved" in hardback for that reason, so it'll be a while before I get to this one.

clare said...

I LOVED it >squeeeeeeee< um, excuse me!

Jeremy is adorable I really liked that there was a glimpse behind his facade of all knowing alpha, enough for us to feel the connection with Jaime but no overwrought emotions that wouldn't have suited him.

Jamie is definitely my favourite Kelley heroine too. The normal one despite her gift/curse. I LOL at the test seance scene and when she's asked for an autograph. Was glad she didn't just jump Jeremy so to speak but that there was the build-up.

The Savannah and co. part was necessary in the sense it's a series and keeps all characters in the frame. Personally I don't rate their books as good as the werewolf ones but think you do need to read them to appreciate the world more.

Poor Marsten, not getting his own way is he? I look forward to more of them too.

Nicole said...

I loved it, too. This is probably my second favorite of the series, after Industrial Magic and (barely) before Bitten.

I thought that having Paige & Lucas there was normal. I think I said on Kelley's forums that in earlier books, we have people that show up in the series just to give a piece of information, and then they leave. The difference in this case is that we already KNOW the people who are providing a touch of info. Unlike in Dime Store Magic, for example, when Savannah was watching some TV show about this celebrity necromancer... ;)

Nicole said...

Oh - I meant to add:

it made me think of Cagney and Lacey, or Charlie's Angels (except there are only two of them.)

Do you think Hope may become a third? They all seemed to work well together in parts of this book, once Eve got over her paranoia.

LesleyW said...

Marg - I liked Dime Store Magic on my second read through more. I wasn't too sure about Paige. But unlike some readers I never actively disliked her. I saved that for Cassandra the vampire - who I now actually like.

Naomi - I think a lot of readers prefer the werewolf books because Bitten was such a fantastic book. But I also think Kelley Armstrong was probably right not to get sucked into just writing about werewolves. You'll just be able to look forward to NHI a lot longer - and it is worth the wait. Look out for the sock puppet line. :)

Clare - It was a squeeeee for me too. :) We learn a lot about him here. For anyone who hasn't read the short stories on Kelley's site, there is stuff there about Jeremy's mother and father so they are well worth checking out.

Nicole - I love that Eve is paranoid. It's so in keeping with her character. And I totally didn't think about Hope being the third. You're right they did seem to work well together.

clare said...

I think the werewolf books had such an energy to them they won a lot of people over. I disliked Paige when she first appeared but was really glad I picked up DSM. Cassandra I've always found interesting but it's Jamie's book I was really looking forward to.

I really like Kelley's idea of changing main character pov through the series and have a huge respect her for ability to bring a different tone to each book. One of very few authors able to give characters a voice totally of their own (and very different to each other) and maintain it.