Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre

Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blonde and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows what I’m running from. And I’d like to keep it that way…

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border to Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance…

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic…

I was lucky enough to be on Twitter when Ann asked if anyone was interested in receiving an ARC of Blue Diablo, the first book in her new series. I said yes and the rest, as they say, is history. :)

I received my ARC on Monday, immediately inhaled it, thought it over and was able to chat w/ Ann on Facebook about the book.

Let me see if I can give you a basic rundown of the story. It's pretty insane, so I'll do my best. Corine (Core-een) is a handler. She can touch something and see it's past and sometimes its future. Since this gift is not something she was born with, there are...not so pleasant side effects (won't tell you). 18 months ago, she ran away from her lover and partner. She wanted a chance at a "normal" life and ended up in Mexico where she runs a small shop that caters to the lost and forgotten items (i.e. antiques).

When Chance (the ex) shows up on her doorstep unexpectedly, Corine is...not necessarily surprised. When she left she'd had enough of him not committing himself more to their relationship. She'd always expected him to find her and is surprised it took him so long. She finds out his mother is missing and that's when everything goes haywire.

My Thoughts:

Huh...well, to be honest, I really enjoyed this book. When Ann & I were talking, she said she'd tried to make Corine as "normal" as possible. She's definitely an atypical UF heroine. The story is told from her POV, so we get a lot of her mental thoughts, but what I like about her is that she's not some sort of crazy, super-powered, super woman who can kick butt while keeping her nails pretty. Corine is, other than her special gift, very normal. She has a hard time even shooting a gun (great scene, by the way).

When Chance shows up, she's conflicted. She still loves him, but hates him for all of the things he put her through before she walked away. There's a truly heartbreaking scene between them (which I won't go into too much detail about) that showed just how they felt/feel about each other. And what I like is that the conflict she feels about the relationship ISN'T resolved with a nifty "He's my mate or destiny or whatever. Because the gods decreed it we MUST be together" nonsense you hear so much about.

Instead she tries to be mature about it and won't let him lead her around by the nose. Ann introduces other men who might be a potential love interest for Corine and makes these characters so compelling that you wonder just which one she'll choose. But it's not an obvious love-triangle, which I appreciate as well. There's potential for all of them.

The writing is fast-paced, funny, self-depricating, intense and just plain fun to read. I read the book so fast I'm amazed I remember any of it! LOL!

Overall Impression:

Again, I really liked it. I thought it was fun and interesting. She added some definite unexpected twists. Changed the future for a couple of people and really added some nice flavor to an otherwise "normal" UF formula.

I liked Corine, so it was easy to fall right into the book. Her humor is very evident from the beginning and the way she handles things when things start to get rough is a lot of fun to read about.

The secondary characters are well-written and fascinating and I can't wait to see what happens to them in the future books.

Since I don't drink, I found it interesting to find out that the names of the books are different cocktails. The next couple of books have awesome titles! Ann is so lucky.

All-in-all, you can't beat the book. If you enjoy fast-paced, action-packed UF w/ romantic undertones, then this is the book for you. I hope I get to read book 2 when it comes out!

Rating: B+


Marg said...

I am really looking forward to reading this book!

orannia said...

...she's not some sort of crazy, super-powered, super woman who can kick butt while keeping her nails pretty. Corine is, other than her special gift, very normal.

That has me itching to read the book. I am so over kick-a*s heroines...give me realism :) Will definitely keep an eye out for this. Thank you for the great review!

Christine said...

Thanks for the review! I'm really looking forward to reading Blue Diablo. Although I have only read Ann's Sirantha Jax books so far, it sounds like her talent truly lies in writing really genuine, relatable heroines who are very "normal" ... but still very special. And lots of entertaining action and intrigue! Love that!

Ann Aguirre said...

What a great review! Thanks so much. Can't to hear what you all think.