Erica Hayes’s prose in the Shadowfae novels reminds me of Francesca Lia Block, particularly the Weetzie Bat books. It’s hallucinatory dreamy and often has a strong sense of rhythm, due to repetition or anaphora or other techniques. I like it, but she does change up her style a little for each narrator. Mina, the narrator of Poison Kissed, is more straightforward and thinks more straightforwardly than most of the other characters.
Mina has a fairly simple goal: find the man who killed her mother and kill him. That and convince her boss Joey to sleep with her. Joey, unfortunately, misreads all the signs of Mina’s desire as disgust since he’s a snake-shifter and doesn’t go all the way back to human in his bipedal form. This is the third book Mina and Joey appear in and his inability to see what every other character sees is annoying. He manages to decide that Mina backing off during a make-out session is because she realized she didn’t want to touch him at all, when really is was just going too fast for her.
In her quest to find her mother’s killer, Mina manages to implicate herself as a traitor to Joey and lose her banshee powers. This works pretty well to alleviate some of my annoyance with Joey, as he manages to trust Mina quite a bit despite the evidence to the contrary. Mina also wavers between trusting Joey or not. It builds the emotional side of their romance fairly well.
Hayes hasn’t sold me on erotica. The sex is well-described, but most of the sex is either between people who don’t like each other, interrupted, or later regretted. I think I’d like the sex more if the characters enjoyed it more.
Poison Kissed is my least favorite of the series so far. Mina and Joey are on the opposite side of the protagonists of the previous two books, who all worked for Kane. Kane is the demon who controls Melbourne despite all the others who’d like his slice of the pie. Thus, the Kane storyline, which ties the books together, seemed disconnected from the rest of the action and slowed things down when it interrupted. Usually, it pushes the rest of the story forward.
I am going to continue reading the Shadowfae series even though I thought Poison Kissed was a weaker entry. I find the overarching storyline intriguing and I like Hayes’s writing style. (I was a fan of the Weetzie Bat books as a teenager.) Okay, and I like fairies. Hayes’s has done well in shaping a city of supernatural beings who can do almost anything they want since the demon-in-charge wants his people focused on their desires.
Mina is a banshee whose greatest power lies in her siren song. She’s beholden to her boss Joey, a snake-shifter who once saved her life and now employs her as a gang enforcer. She refuses to upset the fragile balance between them by admitting that she longs for him, that his embrace is the only thing she craves more than revenge for her mother’s death…
When Mina learns that Joey may have been involved in her mother’s murder, fury threatens to spill out of her note by vicious note. She and Joey have always trusted each other to stay alive, but now she’s not sure what to believe. The evidence stacked against him—or the one man who haunts her dreams and burns her blood…
Read an excerpt here.
Other books in this series: