Review No.232 – Hell Fire

Hell Fire (Corine Solomon No.2) – Ann Aguirre

Gollancz, 2010

Corine Solomon knows her life is a mess. Having nearly died rescuing her ex’s mother from a ruthless drug cartel, she’s now on a road trip to her childhood hometown – which just happens to be where her own mother was murdered. Last time Corine was in Kilmer, she was a teenage runaway. Now she’s all grown up and determined to shake loose some answers. But underneath Kilmer’s picture-book pretty exterior, there are more secrets festering than even Corine could have suspected…

Ignore the cover. This is standard operating procedure for reading urban fantasy. Corine Solomon does not, to my knowledge, have flame tattoos all over her back; what she does have is a confrontational and mildly cantankerous personality. Though I don’t always like her, she’s interesting. This book focused more on her personal history than the first instalment, but it didn’t pack quite the punch I was expecting – the fragmented nature of the plot and the inadequate explanation of its premise diminished the narrative’s power, which is a shame, but I found Hell Fire an easy and enjoyable read. The series continues with Shady Lady.

Review No.117 – Blue Diablo

Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon No.1) – Ann Aguirre

Gollancz, 2010

When people come looking for Corine Solomon, it’s never good news. Eighteen months ago, she and her then lover Chance were combining their strange gifts to find anything from a lie to a lost child, but when that life came crashing down Corine ran and never looked back. Now she owns a pawn shop in Mexico City, keeping her secrets close – but not close enough. One day Chance shows up on her doorstep in desperate need of her gift, and disaster follows close behind.

Where urban fantasy is concerned, never trust a book by its cover. Corine is an interesting mixture of loving and vicious with a defiantly hippie sense of style, and bears pretty much zero resemblance to the sexed up version on the front of the book. The pacing of Blue Diablo is odd  and I have a few problems with the application of magic in this world, but Corine and Chance’s gifts are cleverly explored. It’s also nice to read a book in which relationship problems are defined more by conflicting personalities than supernatural interference. The series continues with Hell Fire.