Oh Demon Underground. One point five steps forward in storytelling, and at least ten more in the case for homophobia. I don't even know what to call that. I mean, barring the obvious, it's not like things got worse in this last installment than they were in any others, and it was better in some - well, one aspect. Still, any good in this book is nowhere near enough to make up for the pivotal bad, and the blandness of the series as a whole.
Yeah, we're going to go with bullets again, because there's not much to say and I'm saving the effort of writing transitions for more interesting books. So here we go!
- The payoff - the books so far have all been pretty run-of-the-mill in subject matter, and plot resolutions have been lackluster at best. A standoff here, a fist fight there, both easily solved by Val's super-succubus powers. While both of those things did happen in this book, the actual boss fight in Fang Me was pretty cool. It's appropriately mystical and exotic and action-packed, what with Shade transporting in super-powerful mage demons from another dimension under duress, and Val using her succubus magic in a whole new way to fight them back. That final fight included more creative and interesting elements than the last three books put together (+1 step), and I still say that Shade and all of the alternate dimension shit is the best part of this series.
-Val's badassedness - I suppose I've been so busy bitching about other things in the last three reviews that I haven't really given Val much credit for being a pretty active heroine. As annoying as she often is, Val doesn't let anyone boss her around or control where she goes and what she does, and out-powered or not, she is always involved in the action. That may seem like a weird thing to praise, but really, a heroine's activeness in the conflicts can be hit or miss, even in "badass something-hunter" books, and I'm one of those people who wants the protagonist swinging fists in the fray, whether they should be there or not *glares at Mercy Thompson books*.
- The same shit I've been bitching about through the entire series - not even twenty pages in and Blue completely stops the action so that Val can spend an entire page recapping and explaining in detail every single pro and con related to the quandary having Virgin Powers put her in. As if we didn't remember/couldn't have figured out why not being able to have sex with your boyfriend without losing your superspecial abilities sucks on our own. Thanks again for the vote of confidence, Blue.
- The plot - while the payoff may have been interesting and fun to read about, the whole thing was fueled by a blatant MacGuffin. The search for the books was long and winding, and Blue had to go to such great lengths to get around her own road blocks that Val's investigation felt much longer and more pointless than it actually was. The true solution was so obvious that Blue spent half the book finding ways to stall its reveal, but once we got through with the set-up and close enough to the conclusion that these indicators could start popping up, the whole thing got painfully predictable...
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