Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor
I’ve found that book series I like tend to go in one of two directions: either I like the first book, but subsequent books never quite live up to the first, or I like the first and each successive book just keeps getting better and better.
Luckily for me, Tempest’s Legacy–the third book in Nicole Peeler’s Jane True series–definitely falls into the latter category. I liked the series from the beginning, but as Jane’s character has grown so has my love for the series. Tempest’s Legacy is funny, exciting, and fun, and I love how Jane’s character has grown and matured since the first book. This has become one of my favorite series, and–although it’s still early–I suspect that Legacy will be among my favorite books of 2011.
The series centers around Jane, a young woman who’s always been a bit different–a fact that doesn’t endear her to the population of her small Maine town. In the first book, she discovers that she’s half selkie (a magical being that can shape-shift into a seal) and becomes drawn into the supernatural world. By the third book, she has gained more control over her abilities and has become stronger and more confident. Yet things aren’t exactly rosy for Jane. She’s managed to piss off some very powerful beings in the supernatural world, leaving her fearful for the safety of her human friends and family. She’s still confused about her feelings for Ryu, the baobhan sith (basically, a vampire) who helped ease her introduction into the supernatural world, and Anyan, the barghest (can shape-shift into a large dog) who had once been a renowned warrior. And she’s still wonders about her selkie mother, who abandoned her and her father when she was young.
With that, the book description, courtesy of the Hachette Book Group website:
After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl – at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane’s world to its very core.
After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females — supernatural, halfling, and human — Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.
And she’s not sure which she finds more frightening.
There’s not much more I can say about the story beyond that. To do so would be risking some major spoilers. Although each book is a self-contained story, I’d recommend reading them in order. I think Legacy will make sense even if you don’t, but a lot of what happens here is contingent upon character growth and plot developments that happened in the first two books.
I think what I love most about these books is Jane herself, especially her voice and her humor. At several points while reading the book I found myself laughing out loud. (So loudly, in fact, that I’m surprised my neighbors in my apartment building didn’t report me!) Her virtue and her libido have conversations with one another. She has to pee during hostage rescue raids. While she’s being attacked by an evil sea creature, she thinks about how much he looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Her inner monologue is both inopportune and inappropriate, and I love it. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who has such weird, random thoughts! Urban fantasy tends to be, on the whole, somewhat dark, so Jane’s levity–even in the face of difficulties and obstacles–is refreshing.
I’ve seen this series compared to chick lit, but I’m not sure that’s an apt comparison. Yes, tone-wise, it is lighter and funnier than most urban fantasy. But chick lit is primarily about a girl getting a guy–usually to the exclusion of everything and everyone else (which is why, overall, I can’t stand it). Whereas Jane’s story is about her finding herself and her inner strength. One of her defining characteristics throughout the series is how much she cares about other people. The other is the way she slowly grows more self-assured. The combination makes her a very likeable character.
That’s not to say that Jane’s love life doesn’t play a role in the series. I confess, when I got this book for review, one of my first thoughts was, “I hope there’s more Anyan in it!” I can say, happily, that I was not disappointed. I’ve been a fan of the enigmatic barghest since the first book, and we learn a lot more about him and what makes him tick. We also see more of Ryu, and it becomes very, very clear which one of these suitors is more appropriate for her–and why. But again, the evolution of these relationships is a natural outgrowth of her character development. (Of course, that didn’t stop my heart from racing–just a little–whenever Anyan appeared.)
Tempest’s Legacy is a great read for a relaxing afternoon. After Legacy, the Jane True series is on my must-read list, and I’m already anxiously awaiting the fourth book.
Books in the Jane True series
Tracking the Tempest
Note: I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley. Tempest’s Legacy will be available in both hard copy and e-book form from Orbit Books on January 1.