*Here be some spoilers. In fact, please just assume that my posts include spoilers. I try not to but you never know.*
So I read two new books by Hannah Jayne called Under Wraps andUnder Attack. They both feature “plain Jane” heroine Sophie Lawson, a worker for the Underworld Detection Agency. This agency is really misnamed because it isn’t so much a police force as a social security network for all the supernatural set. If you want to live/work in the “above ground” (San Fran in this case), you have to get your credentials through the UDA.
These books are a bit simply written. Epic it is not. They’re shorter novels than I’m used to reading as well. The first one was interesting enough for me to read the second book but I’m not entirely certain if I’m interested in reading the third, Under Attack.
Sophie Lawson is the main human in this series and the thing that seems to set her apart from the other humans, and thereby accepted by the supes, is that she is immune to magic. Very trope-y. And it seems that the only other creature in this universe that is immune to magic is Satan. Of course. Why not? Very, very trope-y. I think Jayne could have gone with some other ‘power’ for Sophie Lawson and made her a much more interesting character. Oh yeah, and Lawson is obsessed with sex. Like every other to-herself thought is about how one male character or another features in her fantasy. It doesn’t move the plot along at all. Jayne really didn’t need to put that in and yet, she did.
Under Wraps is about world domination. Again, of course. And Sophie is one of the keys to gaining world domination. Of course. The redeeming bits of the book are the comedic elements. I really liked the over the top vampire Nina, who feeds on bags of bloods and turns her hunting instincts to haute couture instead of humans. She and her vamp nephew Louis (or Vlad as he insists on being called) are pretty funny characters.
And there is the obligatory sexy male lead, Alex Grace, a fallen angel. He’s tracking down the baddie to wants to take over the world, since he’s set up as an FBI agent. And Alex has the obligatory secret as well, which turns out he’s looking for some sort of powerful object that he lost while an angel in heaven. This object is called the Vessel of Souls and it contains all the souls waiting to be distributed out to a newly born person. If someone ‘breaks’ this object, they could win the war between good and evil, so a lot of creatures are looking for it. I’ll give you three guesses as to what, or who, this object is but you’re only going to need one.
Under Attack is about a different, evil fallen angel searching out the Vessel of Souls for the dark side, um…evil side. The evil fallen angel is named Ophelia and she is Sophie Lawson’s long lost half sister. They share the same daddy, who may or may not be Satan (we haven’t seen Satan pop up saying, ‘yes, she’s mine’ yet). Ophelia is bat shit crazy and enjoys torture. She went over to the dark side a long time ago and now really wants to screw over everyone, even baby sis Sophie. Especially baby sis Sophie.
Under Attack reveals that the Vessel of Souls, in whatever physical incarnation it has, always has seven guardians. Six of Sophie’s guardians are already dead. Number seven is a sexy, English fireman. Just once I’d really like to see a male character as just average looking. Maybe with a plain old desk job. A lot of male characters either seem to be drop dead gorgeous or ugly as sin/badly scarred. A little originality people!
At any rate, I’d rate Under Wraps a C+, interesting enough concept but not very well fleshed out. Under Attack is more like a C-/D, pretty darn trope-y. It is really making me look forward to Simon R. Green’s Live and Let Drood. Now he is a good writer!