Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review – “Unclean Spirits” by M.L.N. Hanover

In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules.

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers — and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means — magical or mundane — so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions — Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities — Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast — or break them completely....
Unclean Spirits is Book One of the Black Sun's Daughter, a new urban fantasy series by Daniel Abraham (writing as M.L.N Hanover). The book blurb above is actually an excellent synopsis of the storyline and key characters. Jayné (pronounced zha-nay) is a fresh, likable heroine who grows from a being a directionless college student into a vigorous confident leader as she discovers and accepts her mission in life.

In a way Unclean Spirits reads like a pilot for a television series or a graphic novel—methodically introducing the characters, establishing their purpose (the battle between good and evil), building the team (putting them through their paces with a series of confrontations) and revealing the enemy (demon riders).

The Demon Riders are an interesting twist on the usual paranormal cast of vampires, demons and werewolves; in this case demons usurp the bodies of humans casting out their souls. The individual nature of the demon allows it to manifests itself as one of the many different traditional supernatural creatures tossed in with some additional magical and sorcerous abilities.

One of the more refreshing aspects of the character portrayal of these strong heroic types was how they each acknowledged fear and dealt with it. This humanized them in a way I found unusual for the genre and made them more appealing. The action elements of the story are surprisingly subdued, low-key, but nevertheless intriguing and tension building. For romance fans there is some chemistry between Jayné and Aubrey that is appealing but inconclusive in this first installment.

The events of Unclean Spirits are unveiled in Denver, but we learn early on that Jayné has inherited properties all over the world from her uncle so we can only surmise that future stories will migrate to new and interesting locales. Unclean Spirits, like many first-of-a-series-novels is mildly hampered by the constraints of initial world building and character development that does not allow the author to fully explore their potential. With a solid concept and eclectic cast of characters established, I have high expectations for Book 2 of the Black Sun’s Daughter.

Read an excerpt of Chapter 1.

Simon & Schuster
Published: December 2008
ISBN #: 9781416575979
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 368


  1. Awesome. Thanks so much Kimberley!

  2. Hey Scifi Guy..

    I'll be finished with Underground today (would have been sooner( But my purse was stolen this past weekend & the book was in the bag. Needless to say, I wasn't happy about that. But the funny thing is that I was even more annoyed because I was down to the last two chapters. I brought the book again & couldn't help myself and also brought Unclean Spirits.

    Now I don't know which book to start reading, Gods behaving badly or Unclean Spirits (which I already read an excerpt too) hmmmmm

  3. Hi Tanya sorry to hear about the purse, what a pain it is to get new ID and stuff. You win the dedicated reader award for replacing the book so quickly though. You obviously enjoyed Underground.

  4. ahem..Thank You for the award lol

    -yea its the holidays and unfortunately you have be very careful.

    -On a brighter note, I replaced the book and finally finished it. Underground is great...Richardson makes Blaine into a real person and nothing comes easy to her. I also like that cliffhanger with the box at the end. I am curious to see how Richardson developes this mystery on her next book, Vanished.

    Over all this series continues to be unpredictable and still contains many mysteries for the reader which continue from book 1 and onto the 4th installment.

    over all one my favorite series..

    -I'm currently reading Living with the dead by Kelly Armstrong lol I have a TBR pile that is continuing to grow...

  5. Yep Vanished is on my preorder list too. Living with the Dead was good too. I won an ARC of Kelley's Men of the Otherworld and plan to read and review it over the holidays.


For bloggers comments are like water to a man (or woman) wandering in the desert. A precious commodity. I love to hear from everyone and do my best to respond to every post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...