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Book CoverGwen’s review of Spectre (Zoë Martinique, Book 2) by Phaedra Weldon
Contemporary urban fantasy released by Ace Trade 3 Jun 08

Attention authors! If you’re going to do first person, you may as well go all out and make it a conversation between the reader and your main character. Get personal, colloquial, and current.  I normally read first person POV with a very “hairy eyeball” (tm, Zoë Martinique) but Spectre won me over.  I felt like the character was sitting in the room telling me her story.  (Side note: Can anyone tell me why urban fantasies all seem to be first person POV?  Saintcrow, Harrison, Liu, etc., etc.  What’s up with that?) 

Weldon’s style reminds me of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.  Naturally, the two books are dramatically different in temperament, but because of the pacing and style, I felt very connected to both the girl in Bones and to Weldon’s indomitable heroine, Zoë.  Of course, I would have liked to get more head hopping with Spectre to learn more about the backstory and WTF is going on with the twisty, convoluted plot – but I didn’t mind the lack of perspective so much.  I just enjoyed the ride Zoë gave me.  She’s a funny, natural, “normal” (as much as a Wraith could be), and irreverent character.  A kick-ass heroine who wears bunny slippers.

There is a love interest in the shape of a police detective named Daniel — a love interest that never really seems right for our heroine.  Then there’s another leading man in her life that she loves to hate and that she has some serious chemistry with, named Joe.  There’s a potential for an interesting love triangle  in the next book (Joe is also a cop and, interestingly, Daniel’s ex-partner as well as a witch).

The overall story arc is a bit muddled near the end.  Perhaps that’s because I didn’t read Book 1 of the series (yes, yet another series I caught on Book 2), but I was following everything fine up until the “big reveal” of who and what was behind the killings in Spectre.  The sheer number of organizations and characters involved in the craziness that tied off all the various sub-arcs was a bit bewildering.  I finally had to just go with it — it was either that or re-read large portions of the book and I didn’t feel like it.

If you’re up for a romping fun time with some urban fantasy kick-assedness, and a unique first-person approach, I highly recommend this book.  If you liked Book 1, I have a feeling you’re going to adore this Book 2.  I’m looking forward to Book 3, Phantasm, (perhaps released in June 2009?) and hope we hear more about it soon.

faye.jpgGrade: B+


Zoë Martinique hasn’t been your ordinary still-single-but-looking twentysomething girl ever since she learned she has the extraordinary ability to travel outside of her body at will. As if that wasn’t weird enough, she gained additional powers that not only freak her out but have done damage to her budding relationship with Atlanta Homicide detective Daniel Frasier.

Zoë and Daniel are thrown back together when she’s drawn into the investigation of a series of bizzare murders (the sort where body parts are missing). She hopes to help Daniel stop the killer-one she’s sure is from the darkest levels of the astral plane-without letting him find out about her special abilities.

Then danger strikes close to home when Zoë’s mom disappears-and Zoë must use all the powers at her command to save her, even though she knows doing so miight permanently ruin her love life and turn her into something no longer entirely human…

No excerpt to be found.  (hint hint author – need to post an excerpt on your site)

Other books in the series:

Book Cover