15 janeiro 2012

Review: Dante Valentine - Books 1-3 (Lilith Saintcrow)

Dante Valentine: The Complete Series by Lilith Saintcrow
Publisher: Orbit (2011)
Format: Paperback | 770 of 1820 pages
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Description (GR): "Necromancer. Bounty hunter. Killer.Dante Valentine has been all three in her life. But in the beginning, she was a Necromancer for hire. And while she was choosy about her jobs, there were just some she couldn't turn down. Like when the Devil showed up at the door and offered her a deal. Her life - in exchange for the capture and elimination of a renegade demon. But how do you kill something that can't die?
Dante Valentine, one of urban fantasy's hottest series, is compiled into one volume for the first time. Included in this omnibus edition are: Working for the Devil, Dead Man Rising, The Devil's Right Hand, Saint City Sinners, and To Hell and Back."
WARNING: SPOILERS!
BOOK 1: Working for the Devil
I was pleasantly surprised by this first book in the Dante Valentine series. I bought this five book omnibus because the price was good and the series was completed. I really thought it would be a standard urban fantasy, and in many aspects it is. But... the setting is slightly different, as it's the future and there are plasguns and holo-vids. The world-building reminded me a lot of the "Downside Ghosts" series by Stacia Kane (or maybe it's the other way around since the Dante Valentine series is older?) which is a plus, of course, since I love Downside Ghosts. I was also surprised that I liked Dante so much since I was convinced she would be a very stereotypical character... again, in a few ways she is, but there is also something appealing in her.

Overall, I liked this first book. It was a good introduction to the series and the characters and world-building make it interesting enough. Sure, the world needs more explaining but there are four more books.


Book 2: Dead Man Rising
WARNING: SPOILERS for book 1
In this second book of the Dante Valentine series we are treated to more development of the world although many parts aren't very well explained still. Dante is now a little more than human after what happened to her in the first book and she is dealing with Japhrimel's death by throwing herself into work. But when her friend Gabe asks for her help in an awful murder investigation Dante may just have to revisit her past.

This book was less impressive than the first. It was useful because we got to know more about the world and more about Dante's past but the mystery was pretty simple and there wasn't a lot of suspense. I think the whole thing with Japhrimel was pretty obvious too. This book is clearly meant to develop the characters and little more. That said I didn't particularly like where Dante is going as a character, but oh well. I'd also like to know more about Anubis and the other gods.

Overall a nice UF read but nothing special.


Book 3: The Devil's Right Hand
WARNING: Spoilers and Rant ahead
Really? With a fully developed world filled with supernaturals and psionic humans and still so much to discover we're back to 'Hell's denizens'? Really?

Book 3 sounded a lot like book 1, except there is no resolution, there's less action, the mystery plot is almost nonexistent, Japhrimel is an idiot and Dante is an even bigger idiot (and a whiner). Oh there are explosions and stuff, but there's not much development in terms of story (seems like the last three books are the same big story arc) and there were tons of things that could have been explored but weren't. All Dante does in this book is to whine, cry and feel cheated because her boyfriend is abusive but she luuurves him so! But she is independent! But she also luuurves him so! Woes, the hurt. It hurts.

In the middle of all the angst (Japhrimel really is a bastard in this book, to give Dante some credit), there is some story about the Prince of Hell wreaking havoc in everyone's life. What annoyed me is that Dante doesn't evolve as a character. In most urban fantasy books heroines either develop the skills to fight stronger foes or try against all odds; not Dante. She just goes on and on about how demons are stronger and she could never ever hope to fight them and she's so lucky Japh is so big and strong and can protect her.

Basically the characters in this book were mostly awfully annoying and boring. Dante alternates between damsel in distress and though 'I-don't-need-no-man' chick and Japhrimel's possessiveness towards his 'woman' and general treatment of her was frankly revolting. So it's getting difficult to like Dante, Japhrimel outlived his usefulness and nothing much happens.
We get it, demons are strong. What about writing about the other supernaturals in your world Ms Saintcrow? Diversity makes a UF series thrive, me thinks. I don't think it's going to happen since the series is finished, but it's still a pity. There is much that could be done with this series world which still is the series' best feature. 

2 comentários :

Ana C. Nunes disse...

Já tive oportunidade de ler dois contos desta autora, incluídos na antologia "The Mamoth Book of Vampire Romance" e um desses contos passava-se no 'mundo' de Dante Valentine e sinceridade não me cativou nada.
E pelo tua opinião dos primeiros três livros, parece que não perdi nada de especial. É realmente uma pena que o primeiro livro, segundo dizes, até seja interessante e depois o terceiro estrague tudo (já estou a imaginar as personagens).

Fiquei um pouco confusa porque dizes que compraste um Omnibus dos 5 livros, mas aqui só revês 3. Vais ler os restantes?

slayra disse...

Sim, estou a ler os restantes (ia parar no 3º e fazer uma pausa, mas não consigo deixar um livro inacabado, lol), mas como o blogue não posts de jeito há algum tempo decidi pôr já aqui as críticas aos 3 primeiros livros. ^_^