Does Kelly Gay keep up her good work in The Hour of Dust and Ashes? Yes, she most definitely does. She has that rare ability of being able to keep her writing tight, very tight. That and her spelling and grammar helps the reader keep from being distracted. Add to that a pretty good plot, fun characters and talent and you have the flow.
Charlie Madigan is an interesting character. She is a believable woman in a fantastic yet believable world. Yes, this is all science fiction and fantasy, but the plot is about recognisable problems and her characters are flawed and gifted like the rest of us. Fanatics are fanatics and greed is greed.
Charlie suffers from a save-the-world-all-on-her-own syndrome. That makes it easy for her to take the blame for her sister’s ash addiction. It is true that Bryn got addicted to ash while helping Charlie out, but Charlie tends to forget that Bryn has her own will and this is creating trouble between the sisters.
When ash addicts begin taking their own lives, Charlie becomes desperate to make certain Bryn stays alive. Thus far the hunt for a cure has led nowhere. When Charlie goes to the oracle, Allessandra for help, she is told that she will need sylphs. On to Charbydon she must go and Hank and Rex get to go along with her.
Rex (the ex-jinn now revenant), Brimstone (the hellhound) and Hank (the Adonai) make themselves better known to us. We also get to see Charbydon at its best and worst. No wonder the people there think of Earth as a vacation spot.
We get tons of action and some of the fighting is explicit. If you don’t like that, consider yourself warned.
Christian McGrath’s portrayal of Charlie Madigan is gritty and strong complementing the writing of Kelly Gay. Gay’s writing continues to engage me as a reader. She maintains the balance between too much and too little keeping her novel tight and well-written.
The Darkest Edge of Dawn begins where The Better Part of Darkness left off. Atlanta became more in tune with the Charbydons living there. Charlie feels responsible for the “accidental darkening” and in a sense that is true. So, being the kind of person she is, Charlie sets a goal of saving Atlanta.
As we all know, the world is full of nutters. Being from Charbydon or Elysia makes no difference. Crazy people are found among all races. Sadly, some of the crazies go serial. In The Darkest Edge of Dawn Charlie and Hank investigate a warehouse where a dead body was found. Both find the place creepy and for good reason. In this lovely warehouse a pile of dead bodies and a pregnant hellhound is discovered. Something is off about the mound of bodies.
That was the second problem Charlie feels the need to save the world from. On a more personal level, the changes in her DNA are worrisome. What is she turning into and how is she supposed to control the powers she seems to have gained?
Trying to deceive your own daughter works like a charm unless she is psychic. And guess what, Emma is psychic. When Will died and his body was taken over by Rex, Charlie decided that they had to wait until Emma was ready before she could be told. Talk about messed up life. But Charlie also has the pleasure of having a hellhound living at her home, a hellhound that Emma has a mysterious link to.
That’s not all that is going on in Charlie’s life. Her sister Bryn was affected by the drug Ash while trying to help Charlie. Now she has to take regular doses of the drug in order to stay alive.
Charlie’s partner, Hank, still has his voice modifier fused to his neck – joy of joy – hindering his ability to be a proper Elysian.
One of the things Charlie has trouble with is accepting help from others. She is going to need help in The Darkest Edge of Dawn just as she did in The Better Part of Darkness. I get that. Asking for help is difficult even when it is obvious assistance is needed. Just because you are adult age, does not necessarily mean that you are able to act maturely. I guess that is part of the reason why I like Charlie so much. She is vulnerable and strong, prejudiced and willing to look beyond those prejudices.
I think Charlie Madigan could a be a good role model for young women out there.
There is something about Charlie that I find appealing. Her life is a mess in so many respects, but she, herself, is a really decent person. Kelly’s writing is, of course, alpha and omega in making the series work and helping me like it. I find it amazing that this is actually Gay’s writing debut.
The Charlie Madigan series is an urban fantasy one. They are meant to entertain. There are issues that come up in the books that are important ones, but like most novels out there on the market this is for the general public and not an esoteric philosophical LSD audience (Ok, that might have been a bit mean).
As with a great deal of the other urban fantasies out there the Charlie Madigan has a male/female action team. Since both Hank and Charlie work together, have a bantering tone between them and look quite good – well …
In The Better Part of Darkness we find ourselves in an Atlanta city in a possible future where scientists have discovered two parallel planes of existence. Surprise, surprise, angels and demons do exist although not exactly in the heaven and hell version that we humans are so fond of. We have been visited by them for thousands of years and they have been using us and the earth as a battleground for working out their differences.
Now that humans know about them, we won’t put up with their nonsense any longer and have laid down the law for them. A police-department has been established dealing especially with extraterrestrials. They are called the ITF (Integration Task Force). Charlie Madigan is one of the officers working for the Department and her partner, Hank.
Pretty early on in The Better Part of Darkness, we find out that Charlie had a dead-then-alive experience that seems to be changing her physically.
Charlie’s partner, Hank, is a siren from Elysia. He has the kind of voice that needs to be dampened, otherwise men and women would throw themselves at his feet and do anything he asked of them. This comes in handy in police-work as people really want to tell him the truth.
Her daughter, Emma, is a highly intuitive child, one with a great degree of empathy. She goes to Hope Ridge, a school for rich kids. Charlie can’t afford it on her salary, but her ex-husband, Will, is paying for it.
When Charlie gets called to her daughters’ school (with her partner Hank) she becomes extremely worried. The victim is Emma’s old baby-sitter, Amanda Mott. At first thought dead, it turns out that Amanda is “just” in a coma of some kind. Making the situation a whole lot worse is the fact that there are several others who have been found like Amanda, and they have all died in the end. It seems all of them have been exposed to a new drug called “ash”. It’s extremely addictive and once it leaves a person’s system, they die.
This is the mystery Charlie and Hank are to investigate. As you might imagine unexpected twists and turns do appear. As stated above, Kelly Gay’s writing is of high quality and kept me reading until the end.