Series: Jane True #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit Books on 1 November 2009
You know the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Although the cover art was fantastic, the book didn’t have the same attention to detail or charm. In this novel Jane discovers that she is half-selkie and has to adjust to a whole new world. Unlike her mother who presumably looked like a seal when at sea until she shed her skin and became human, Jane just has an affinity with the water. Selkies can only spend a short period of time on land before they have to return to the sea which explains why Jane has been raised by her father. I thought the Goodreads blurb which claims that “if you love Sookie Stackhouse, then you’ll want to dive into Nicole Peeler’s enchanting debut novel” was a bit of a misnomer. The humour and style of this series is far more akin to Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. While Peeler throws many jokes and one-liners at the reader, only some of them stick.
Jane’s inner voice is surprisingly immature and pops up at awkward times for example when Ryu is clearly interested in seducing her, she wonders where she keeps her Band-Aids. Way to kill a mood. She goes from hardly dating any men to losing all self-control around him because he is gorgeous. I really wished she had slightly higher standards. The secondary characters are quite stereotypical, especially her lesbian bookshop bosses, Grizelda and Tracey. Do normal people hand out a seven pack of thongs to an eleven-year old? Ryu is also a fairly stock-standard vampire. He has pointy teeth, he bites, is superficial and loves sex. He has a one track mind and Jane doesn’t discourage him – after all, he’s gorgeous. After discovering the hacked up body of a Goblin lawyer, Jane is naturally a bit discombobulated – Ryu suggests a picnic on the beach and Jane immediately starts thinking about skinny-dipping. Shallow. Poor dead guy who no one really cared about. Anyan the Barghest (hell hound) however was a delight and had more personality and depth in one paw than most of the Seelie Court put together.
The superficiality carries over into the plot. One night while out swimming near The Old Sow whirlpool, she discovers a body in the water. When she dragged the man to shore, she realised that he had been murdered. Rather than contact the police and be even more of a social pariah, she stages the body so some old guy with a dog can find him. Three supes tell her she needs to be involved in the murder investigation even though she has no experience whatsoever. The big reveal that she was half-selkie didn’t have the gravitas or even dramatic flair that it could have. In fact the plot was fairly pedestrian as whenever things started to get interesting, Jane and Ryu had sex. She ends up at the Seelie Court ostensibly to solve the mystery but people are mean to her and she has sex, again. Almost by accident Jane works out what happens.
I hadn’t read a story involving selkies so I was really excited to try this one. More of the mystery and less superficiality would have made me a fan. I actually found it hard to work out who the target audience was. It isn’t really Sookie Stackhouse fans as the two characters are nothing alike, it can’t be paranormal romance fans as the sex scenes were too short and there wasn’t enough depth (pun not intended) and urban fantasy crowds tend to like a bit more plot. Jane is quite juvenile at times which might put off some adults but her language etc. means it can’t be suitable for young adults. I didn’t dislike the novel, I just hoped it would go in a different direction – hopefully one with more Anyan in it.