Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.
Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.
It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever-rub the genie's lamp.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
After recently re-reading the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, I found I was in a bit of withdrawal and found some “If you like this, then you’ll like…” lists. The Jane True series was listed by several other readers, so I checked the ebook list at all the libraries where I have membership, got all the books sent to my Kindle, and here we are.
Jane True lives in a little beach town with a small local population that’s inflated each summer by tourists. She’s a bit of an outcast, an unintentional hermit who does little more than go to work and go home, where she takes care of her father. Her mother, whom the town never really accepted to begin with, left them years ago, and many have long thought that Jane herself is a bit of an oddball. But it’s all made worse by the fact that the locals seem to hold her responsible for the death of her boyfriend, something of the town golden boy, a few years ago. Since then, Jane’s life has revolved around her father and her job at a bookstore, where she’s fortunately become very good friends with the owners. But her solitary life takes a strange turn when she goes swimming and finds a body floating in the sea.
Unwilling to try to explain her late-night, nude swimming in dangerous currents, Jane drags the body up the beach to a path where she’s sure someone will find it, and that’s when her life takes a turn for the incredibly weird. She soon meets creatures that she thought existed only in legends and fairy tales, learns that she’s not entirely human herself, and finds herself in the middle of a supernatural investigation as even more bodies turn up. And for the first time since losing her childhood sweetheart, romance blooms in her life with Ryu, the vampire investigator looking into all the killings.
But… As much as Ryu seemed to be a likable guy, I never really felt the connection between him and Jane. Certainly I could see friendship, and maybe even a bit of mentorship, since he sort of became her unofficial guide to the supernatural world. But they head into bed (or rather beach sex) more quickly than I would have anticipated, and aside from his seeming to understand her confusion regarding her powers and the now unveiled supernatural world she’s a part of, it never really felt like there was much emotion between them. Of course, there are several more books in the series, so I probably shouldn’t assume their relationship is going to last. I’m hoping that either they begin to open up more and form what feels more like a heartfelt relationship, or she moves on to someone else with whom she has more of a connection. I guess we’ll see.
The Verdict: Since I found this series thanks to a suggestion likening it to the Southern Vampire Mysteries, it’s difficult not to make comparisons. In both, we’ve got main characters with menial jobs who are just different enough from their neighbors that they’re considered strange. Both meet vampires and find themselves mired in supernatural intrigue and politics. And both learn that they’re not all human. But that’s where the similarities in their stories end — so far, that is.
In Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler, the writing itself is entertaining, with occasional pop culture references and Jane’s often sarcastic and silly observations of the strange new world in which she is learning to navigate. Far from perfect, Jane’s easy to relate to and understand, and even though I never really felt the spark between her and Ryu, I was definitely cheering Jane on, glad that found someone who seemed to care for her and want to protect and help her. The supernatural element got a bit confusing for me, though, as many of the creatures she met were described with terms I didn’t know, and I made good use of the lookup function in Kindle to get definitions — several, as it turned out, were simply things we have more common names for. And while Jane resides firmly in the human world, much of the adventure takes place in areas only frequented by supernatural beings, so the sense of magic is intense and eye-opening. I’m not as addicted to the Jane True series yet as I was to SVM, but I’m glad I picked up this series all at once, since I’m quite sure I’ll be diving into the rest of it in no time.
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