Series: In a Fix #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor on 4 September 2012
Reading Challenges: 2013 Bachelorette Challenge
Ciel Halligan not only possesses an unusual name, she also has a very unusual ability. She is an aura adaptor which means she can copy a person’s aura and to all intents and purposes, become them. She was going to use her skill for the greater good and become a spook but it sounded too scary. Instead, she ‘becomes’ her clients and takes care of anything they don’t want to deal with like dinner with their mother-in-law. Her latest client wants her to secure a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. Ciel was thoroughly enjoying the job until the guy got himself kidnapped and their bungalow got blown up. Hijinks ensue.
Ciel may be lovable but she is a magnet for trouble. Following instructions from the overbearing men in her life isn’t a strong point and she gets kidnapped a number of times. I don’t want to give the impression that she is a TSTL heroine as her skill often gets her out of trouble just as easily as she gets into it. She is also remarkably resourceful and able to triumph in tough situations. Ciel can be a little immature at times because everyone tries to protect her from the big bad world. She is quite naive when it comes to relationships and I enjoyed watching her mature over the course of the novel.
Of the two potential love interests, I indefinitely preferred Billy, the pseudo-cousin and practical joker. I couldn’t really see why Ciel was attracted to Mark, her brother’s best friend, as he was so dismissive of her. He treated her like a little sister and expected her to just do as she was told. Billy on the other hand respected her and her abilities. As they spent so much time together when they were growing up, Billy knew Ciel’s flaws intimately and yet was still attracted to her.
The plot is pretty crazy and I’m afraid if I reveal too much beyond the presence of neo-Vikings with a grudge, I will spoil it. Trust me when I say there is plenty of action and humour with a side-helping of romance. The climax and denouement were particularly satisfying and I was left thoroughly entertained. Much of the humour comes from Ciel, Billy and Mark adopting different auras to get out of jams. Some of the scenes were flat out hilarious and I giggled my way through the book. Grimes spent so much time fleshing out her characters that the world-building took a back seat. I found the premise of the novel really fascinating and I hope she expands on it in later novels. I want to know how this aura adaptor thingy works and if it can be somehow manipulated to enhance certain skills. Are there any other people with similar abilities and if so will they be hostile or friendly?
If you are looking for an angst-ridden urban fantasy then you are going to have to look elsewhere. In a Fix is an enjoyable romp and a fun, quick read.