Switchblade Runner

Well, lookit what happened to me. I got too busy with Christmas and New Year’s travels and activities, and I completely ran out of time to go pick up last week’s new comics. So I’ve got no new comics to review.

First thing that means is I’m going to end up getting two or three weeks’ worth of comics this Wednesday, and that’s far, far too many for me to get reviewed without going nuts. So I probably won’t even try to review all of ’em — I’m just going to pick the ones that end up being the best and getting them done — or maybe just the worst. We’ll see what my mood is like, hey?

Second, I’m gonna have to review some non-comics today and Wednesday. Luckily, I’ve got something lined up I’ve been wanting to review for a couple weeks…

Switchblade Goddess by Lucy A. Snyder

I’ve already reviewed the first two novels in Lucy A. Snyder’s Jessie Shimmer trilogy, so it makes sense to get the third one reviewed here, too. This new book kicks off almost immediately after the end of the previous one — Jessie, with her magic stone eye and magic hellfire arm, has temporarily stopped the diabolical soul harvester Miko — that’s the clothing-bereft knife-slinger on the cover above — but Miko’s not down for the count, and Jessie needs to figure out a way to stop her, rescue the people whose souls she’s stolen, save her lover Cooper and her familiar Pal, and still escape the wrath of the magical and highly powerful Virtus Regnum. Can she do it? Maybe, but it won’t be easy, and it sure as heck won’t be painless.

This book takes on a much more global flavor, thanks to Jessie and Cooper discovering some portals that let them travel almost anywhere they want to. So we get to follow Jessie’s adventures on a tropical island, in the Louisiana swamps, at a ritzy European castle — and after spending the previous book mostly stuck in a little dead-end Texas town, that’s definitely a welcome change, just so we can see what other kinds of magical chaos can erupt in all these other settings. But a lot of the action here takes place inside Jessie’s mind, because after a certain point, any time Jessie falls asleep, Miko gets to torture her — as in not-for-the-squeamish flaying-you-alive torture. Luckily, it’s all in Jessie’s head, so there’s no physical damage — but the mental and emotional scars do some serious damage. And to top it all off, Miko also wants to sleep with Jessie and induct her as her loyal lieutenant — and Jessie would probably prefer the flaying-alive stuff instead.

This book is a great deal darker than the previous one (which was a lot darker than the first book in the series, too, come to think of it) — there’s uncomfortably graphic torture, barely-consensual sex, terrors and betrayals that strike at the emotional heart of anyone who’s ever been in a relationship. Large swaths of the plot are more cringingly terrifying than anything you’ll find in mainstream horror novels.

I think where this book — and the entire series, actually — really shines is in its characters. Not just the main characters, not just Jessie, Cooper, Pal, the Warlock, and Miko, but minor characters and walk-on parts often have some really fun, vibrant personalities that make you wish there were other novels that would follow what else these people were up to. Snyder clearly loves creating cool characters, whether they’re major roles or cameos, and dangit, I love reading that kind of stuff.

This isn’t something you can just pick up blind — if you wanna really enjoy this book, you’re gonna have to read “Spellbent” and “Shotgun Sorceress” first. But that ain’t too rough a requirement — all three books are just eight bucks apiece, and it sure wouldn’t hurt you to read all three in the trilogy.

I loved this book. Go pick it up.

1 Comment

  1. Jarod Said,

    January 8, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    I’ve enjoyed the series so far! Looking forward to reading it.