The Evie Scelan series one I’ve been following for a little while now. It’s a urban fantasy set in Boston and it centers on Evie, a bike messenger with a side business: finding lost things with her abilities as a Hound. What keeps me coming back is the true-to-life characters and the Boston setting.
The Premise: After Evie’s last tussle with supernatural forces in a battle to protect her beloved Boston, she’s left with the price of her endeavors. Firstly, Evie’s talent just doesn’t work the way it used to: it’s unreliable, starting and stopping unexpectedly. Scents can be hard to find, and Evie feels drained by a simple tracking. Secondly, Evie has something that doesn’t really belong to her — the Horn of the Wild Hunt. She has to return it to its rightful owners, who will not like that she sounded it. While this is going on, strange things are afoot in Boston. A mysterious fire on a yacht and bystanders paralyzed by fear is the first sign in a wave of disquiet in Boston’s Undercurrent.
My Thoughts: I have to admit, it’s been a while since I read the second book in this series. I seem to jump back into the Evie Scelan books every couple of years, so I remembered the ending and some very big plot points of Wild Hunt, but I was fuzzy on some of the details. I could fudge it, but I really wish I remembered some more of the details or that they were spelled out to me a bit more. This is not the first time in the series where the previous book’s events has had an impact on the plot, so I don’t recommend reading Soul Hunt without a least reading Wild Hunt, and I don’t recommend reading Wild Hunt without reading Spiral Hunt. Basically, you need to read these books in order.
The big plot points from the earlier book are these: Evie has the Horn of the Wild Hunt and needs to return it to it’s rightful owner or owners. Due to her possession of the horn, she brings the the hounds of the hunt with her wherever she goes, and the hounds are quite willing to give her their two cents on her life. Also, ever since she rescued rescued boyfriend Nate, she has noticed that her power has gotten weaker. She isn’t sure why, but she suspects it has to do with an exchange she had with the water spirit who had him. In the meantime, Evie’s relationships continue as before: she and Nate are in a serious relationship and his young sister is someone Evie has taken under he wing. Her friend Sarah is as optimistic as ever and is trying to organize the Undercurrent for future outside threats – a neighborhood watch with an emergency phone tree if you will. And Evie still is on the outs with Rena, a cop who was once a close friend, but got blames Evie for bringing her trouble and “bruja shit”.
While Evie has the remnants of her latest adventures to deal with, another issue springs up. An associate in the Undercurrent asks for her help and that leads Evie to a strange occurrence: a burning yacht. This isn’t that strange, but the behavior of other members of Boston’s magic community is. People tell Evie that they feel fear, but they cannot tell her what is causing it. Then the man whose boat burned down asks Evie to find something for him, something stolen generations ago.
With everything going on in Evie’s life: the Horn, her relationships, Nate’s curse, Nate’s sister’s Sight, the budding Undercurrent organization, her fatigue, issues with her talent, and her work (both as a bike messenger and a finder), the plot of Soul Hunt felt very fragmented. There were too many disasters vying for attention and Evie spends the story flitting from place to the next in order to deal with them all. I wasn’t sure what was the most important: the repercussions of having the Horn, fixing the problem with her talent, or this new mystery that has the Boston Undercurrent with its hair standing on end. When the story ends, one of these three becomes the main focus while the other two, dragged along for most of the book, are resolved very conveniently. There was something very dissatisfying about that after watching Evie trying to juggle it all throughout the book. I wanted something less pat for those two threads.
What I did like is that Evie is now part of a family in this story and she has support that she did not really have before. I think what did work with the tumbled mess of troubles Evie has, was the sense that Evie shouldn’t be trying to fix everything herself and there are people willing to help her. I loved the relationships, but didn’t love that the plot got too scattered while trying to prove this point.
This is the third book in the series and it ends in a satisfying place, but with enough leeway for more books. I don’t know if there will be any more though, as Soul Hunt was published in 2010 and no other books have been announced.
Overall: OK plot-wise, solid everything else. I recommend this one for urban fantasy fans who like a down-to-earth, working girl kind of protagonist who has relationships that are nuanced and true-to-life. This is the type of series where I care more about the characters and their developing relationships than the current disaster to be averted.
Calico reaction – 8 (Excellent) ” Frankly, this whole series is a must read for urban fantasy fans who want more female relationships in their stories and, if there MUST be romance, then said romance must be balanced with the story and not become the story”