Revenant, by Kat Richardson

After nine books, Kat Richardson has finally brought her Greywalker series to a close, and she's ending the way she began: Revenant is carefully researched, densely plotted, and—it must be said—works much better on an intellectual level than an emotional one.

After a couple of years as a Greywalker, private investigator Harper Blaine is finally getting comfortable in her role as a supernatural guardian. But nothing can prepare her for another battle with her boyfriend Quinton's father, James Purlis, who's busily using dark magic to spread turmoil and destruction across Europe. Harper, Quinton, and Harper's vampire ally Carlos travel to Lisbon, where Purlis intends to use his own granddaughter as a magical sacrifice, but they immediately discover that rescuing the little girl is only the first—not the biggest—problem on their list.

I liked the same thing about Revenant that I liked about all of Richardson's previous books: her ghost stories are always inspired by real historical and geographical information, and this one is even more research-heavy than most. (It taught me a fair bit about Portuguese history, so thanks for that, Ms. Richardson.) I was sorry when I heard that Harper's story would end in Lisbon, as Richardson's horror-movie vision of Seattle has always been my favorite aspect of her writing, but the gritty, port-city nature of Lisbon—not to mention its tragic seismic history—made this feel like a natural and intriguing progression for Harper's adventures.

Unfortunately, Richardson's weaknesses are present, too. As I mentioned in my review of her last book, her heroine has zero personality. I feel less of a connection to Harper than I did at the beginning of the series—she's a first-person narrator, but her voice gives no sense of her age, geographic origins, or non-supernatural interests. She actually says stuff like “Damned capricious spooks” to herself, despite the fact that absolutely no one, much less a modern young woman living in Seattle, talks like that. I suspect there are plenty of supernatural suspense writers (Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Nicole Peeler, et al.) who put way less effort into their writing, but get away with it because of their characters' charm. Richardson gives the impression that she'd be happiest writing a ghost story with no living characters at all... and if Harper Blaine is truly the best she can do, she should really consider giving that a shot.
Posted by: Julianka


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