Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-21 19:59:44 UTC
Ciel Halligan is an aura adaptor. Don't call her a shape shifter,
aura adaptors don't like that. Nonetheless, this small clanish
group can assume the shape (and voice and mannerisms) of anyone
they come into contact with, and keep those "auras" on file
It's obviously a talent with commercial applications, especially
as it's unknown or unbelieved-in by the world at large. Ceil's
idea for making money is to act as a stand-in/body double for her
clients. If you pay her enough, she will play you as "you" go over
life's rough spots. Don't interview well? Ceil will get you in
like Flynn. Need to get out of town while still keeping commitments
you can't get out of? Ceil will show the flag for you. Need to
get your boyfriend to propose? Well, that's where Ceil starts this
book: aura adapted as a beautiful woman on a tropic isle vacation
with her hunky boyfriend. It's probably one of the less convincing
hooks for her applying her talent once it's explained, but it gets
the book off to a pretty good start.
Just as Ceil has started to implement her plan for seducing said
boyfriend into a proposal (she conviently has her client's permission
to have sex..), all hell breaks loose as their cottage is blown up,
and Ceil is snared in hunky boyfriend's secret CIA life and enemies.
Quickly on the scene to bail Ceil out are two other aura adaptors,
both childhood friends and both potential (and more than potential)
love interests. We gradually get more of Ceil's backstory and how
she is desperately trying to forge a life of her own independent
of these two (and of her meddling brother) or at least get them to
treat her as an adult instead of a brat, and how as she becomes
emeshed in their schemes, that becomes more and more difficult.
Along the way, Ceil will be captured by modern Vikings, be shot
from a catapult and pee on someone's head...
With Ciel Halligan Grimes seems to be going for the "Urban Fantasy
as Sex Farce" territory occupied mainly by Karen Chance and her
Cassie Palmer stories. She hits the mark more often than she misses,
but she does miss more often than Chance. Chance has a way of
putting likeable characters in real danger amidst the general
absurdity which Grimes has not yet quite mastered. She also misses
some fairly obvious uses Ceil could put her talent to. The most
glaring is making a point of introducing Ceil to a champion swimmer
a little bit before she is nearly drowned and not having her adopt
his aura when needed. The modern Viking plotline is also very
forced and their plan is so ludicrous that it's hard to take them
as a real threat.
Still it's a good start for a series that doesn't take itself too
seriously, and I will check out the next book when and if.