So, I decided on a change of pace the last few weeks and only got back into Urban Fantasy after I’d finished my own novel. I was recommended the Darby Shaw Chronicles by a good friend of mine. They looked like a nice superhero story, so I decided to see how they were.
The books are a slightly futuristic police drama. This is a world with hover cars and private police, but essentially identical to the current world. The drama starts on the first pages, where the hero has, inexplicably, become superhuman.
Under certain circumstances, she can bring back the dead.
This world does not seem to be a ‘superhero’ universe, with costumed crusaders knocking down villains. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a costume in sight. Also, the only supervillains are in the US government. There is a reasonably good set of characters, including other superhumans, and a reasonable level of understandable politics.
Now, and I think this is the most important point, the stories don’t forget their concept. I’ve seen a lot of good stories go off the rails as soon as the hero “transforms.”
They start with the hero as a police officer, and at the end of the day the hero is punching bad guys. He can’t remember the basics of police procedure and evidence as soon as he is bulletproof and strong. These are stories of police, and crimes, where there is a breath of supernatural.
As I have mentioned, these are police stories. Not as much procedural as some I’ve read, more than others. They are decent little stories. There is no sex and not a lot of violence, so the stories are perfectly acceptable to any age reader. The heroine’s relationships are generally healthy and the world confronts the issues that are generated in the story.
I’d say that the author is a little weak on description. I’ve little idea what the characters look like and there are few markers which stand out. The character names get a little confused for me (since I’m terrible at names), so I’ve gotten off track a couple times. Nothing too serious, as that is usually the background characters, but I’d appreciate a slightly richer world-view.
Yeah, these are good novellas. There aren’t any “drop this” moments, and I was stuck reading Retaliation past midnight last night, to finish up the rescue. I’m not sure the ‘fun’ value rises to five, but a solid three and a half with four moments. Overall, I’ll give it a four stars rating. I’m reading them all.