Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: 'Day Shift' Charlaine Harris (Midnight, Texas #2)

This review will not be spoiler-free for characters, although I will not discuss the resolution of the novel's central mystery. Read at your own risk!

Goddesses help me, I am addicted to this series.

I liked this one a little better than Midnight Crossroad, the first book of the trilogy. Two characters from the Sookie Stackhouse series make appearances. This is our first summer without a new season of True Blood to look forward to, and I'll admit I kind of miss Sookie, Bill, and the rest. For me, this made Day Shift even more fun than the first one.

So, which two characters show up? For a clue, you can turn to my review of After Dead, the summing-up volume that caps off the Sookie Stackhouse series. I wrote of that rather unsatisfying, slim hardcover, "On the bright side, the entries for Barry the Bellboy and Quinn seem to imply that these characters will get some kind of spin-off or sequel."

Oh yes, there be weretigers. Not only Quinn, but his son as well - and the Rev, the quirky Midnight resident whose religious services extend to the burial of deceased pets.

No only do we discover the supernatural nature of the Rev, but of husbands Joe and Chuy as well. They're angels, although the implication seems to be that they're of the fallen ilk who sired children with beautiful human women, as captured in the Biblical book of Genesis.

Given that Joe and Chuy apparently had female partners at one point in history, is it really fair to call them a gay couple? Not that guys who identify as gay don't ever have male-female relationships in their past, but I would hate to think of this as another example of bi erasure. Perhaps they're pansexual or queer; perhaps human sexuality labels don't really apply to cherubim.

In my review of Midnight Crossroad, I wrote, "Maybe in future books she [Harris] can expand on Madonna's character and give us some other sides of her personality." Harris does, giving Madonna an opportunity to show her strength and save the day. I really enjoyed this scene, and it shows Harris continues to grow as a writer - maybe even as a person.

As I said in my previous review, "Charlaine Harris isn't unproblematic...Still, I miss Sookie Stackhouse, and I'm willing to accept Fiji Cavanaugh, Olivia Charity, Bobo Winthrop et al. as a substitute."

Maybe the most disappointing thing about this one was that Lemeul, Midnight's sole resident vampire, hardly appears in this volume at all. He's still on the quest he began in the first book, to find someone even older than himself who can read the mysterious language in the long-lost books of magic he recently rediscovered. It doesn't appear that he's found such a person (or creature) yet, so that plotline is likely to pay off (let's hope rewardingly) in the next book.

I continue to stand by that statement. I anxiously look forward to the trilogy's concluding volume.

This is a book I checked out from my local public library. I was not obligated to review it in any way.

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