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Dark Currents: Agent of Hel - Jacqueline Carey Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.
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Resentful beings call Daisy a hell-spawn – and in a way they’re right. She isn’t the daughter of the devil himself, but her father is a demon and if she gets too close to being like him, this might cause chaos or even the end of the world.
So far, she isn’t interested in her father’s proposal and lives a more or less normal life, ignoring the fact she is the liaison of Hel, who rules over the local underworld, and carries out her law. This always meant reprimanding supernaturals who step out of line, but that changes with a young man found dead. Soon it’s clear magic has been involved, but who is responsible for it? Daisy gets involved in the investigations, though that provokes situations in which her father’s words seem more tempting than ever.


While some authors always stay in one genre, Jacqueline Carey explores what fantasy has to offer. Now it’s Urban Fantasy’s turn, so the story is set in our modern world, only that it is inhabited by supernatural beings. The locals know about it, though most never see one of them. Usually, nobody tells what he really is to avoid the prejudices. Daisy is an exception as her heritage is well-known.
The author presents many creatures. Of course there are vampires and werewolves, obviously demons, too, as well as fairies. That’s not all, though. We get naiads, undines, a lamia, ghouls, hags, Nordic deities such as Hel along with a frost giant and norns and so on and so forth … there are even more deities out there, for example the Slavic Peklenc. And well, yes, demons are fallen angels, so those have to lurk somewhere, too.
You have to like such a muddle, and I didn’t mind it. Why should only one mythology be the right one? It’s fun to see them all together for once, especially since the supernaturals keep to themselves and don’t know much about others, though they could learn a lot.

It’s a book by Jacqueline Carey, so you can expect it to be well written. You shouldn’t expect a second (or rather ninth) Kushiel book though; “Dark Currents” has with Daisy its very own voice: casual, sometimes thoughtful, gladly sarcastic and definitely likable. It’s obvious that the 24-year-old didn’t have it easy thanks to her heritage, but she’s getting along. It’s because of her mother who raised her despite everything and did it as a loving mother not someone who does their duty. Mrs. Johanssen loves her daughter and others do the same: Daisy’s best friend Jen, her part-time cat Mogwai kind of too, her sort-of-godmother Lurine and the chief at the police, whom she works for now. Those are the main second characters and they are a varied group. I didn’t love all of them instantly, but they all struck me as interesting. Still, my favourite is Daisy; I just had to read that she has a tail – thanks Dad – and she had already won me. Of course it helped that she is a strong and funny woman (like most in this book) in her own way. However, being like that is only possible because of her family and friends; it’s a nice message. Even a “child from hell” can be good; it is only a question of how you treat it.
Talking about the characters: There are three men who should be mentioned. All three of them Daisy might choose as a partner or none at all. To call it a love triangle (or rather love quadrangle) would be exaggerated. There is some mention of the looks and her (partly sexual) interest, but otherwise the book takes it slowly. Daisy has had a crush on Cody – a werewolf – for forever, meaning: since school. Whether there will ever be more between them cannot be said just now; Daise put her cards on the table, now it’s up to him. The other two she only meets in this book. We don’t get to see much of Sinclair, the only human of them, because he gets introduced rather late. Likewise, I wouldn’t say we really get to know Stefan. He’s a ghoul and therefore someone who feeds on emotions and is immortal. Otherwise? He seems to be a polite and patient man, who expects loyalty from those who swore it to him. Seeing that he is very old (not literally of course), there is still much we have to learn about him. Be it as it may, all three of them are likable; we’ll see how it ends.

Mainly, this is a criminal story though. Daisy is supposed and wants to solve the murder; everything else is a secondary plot. The pacing of the case solving is rather slow, which I didn’t mind too much. Daise and Cody are doing police work and it doesn’t matter how much you try; you won’t have final results the next day. Besides, other duties are not willing to wait. So, I was rather content with the pacing, though there’s no doubt I would have enjoyed a quicker one with more suspense a little bit more.
The story partly lives through its characters; I might have wanted to know who the murderer is (the butler didn’t do it this time), but that alone wouldn’t have kept me reading – however, I’ve never been a big fan of crime stories to be honest. The resolution wasn’t entirely surprising, but neither was it foreseeable. It’s a solid part of the book.

Another problem that is addressed is not new: some people who know about the supernaturals aren’t exactly happy about an underworld being under their very feet. They’d prefer to destroy it or at least ban the supernaturals from their everyday life. They don’t seem to realize that they are privileged here, as they cannot be held accountable for crimes against the supernatural population – those have no papers, so officially they don’t exist. Maybe they don’t want to see it. It will be interesting to see how Jacqueline Carey is planning to go on with that aspect.


“Dark Currents” is a good book, though not outstanding. It convinces with a solid crime story, a likable and interesting protagonist and a lot of secondary characters you will be looking forward to meet again. It’ll be fun to see where Jacqueline Carey is going to take us and Daisy – especially when it comes to her career and the city’s future.