Kelly Gay's The Better Part of Darkness is the first book of a new urban fantasy series. It's Kelly Gay's debut book. It was released in November 2009. The second book, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, will be released in August 2010.
Kelly Gay's official website can be found here.
A REVIEW OF KELLY GAY'S THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS
The events in The Better Part of Darkness take place in Atlanta. Atlanta is a place for off-worlders, who are foreigners from alternate dimensions called Elysia (a heaven-like place) and Charbydon (a hell-like place). The existence of Elysia and Charbydon was discovered recently and ITF (Integration Task Force) was assigned to monitor all immigrants and off-world beings.
The main character, Charlie Madigan, is a divorced woman. Charlie's daughter, Emma, is a normal child and she has a good head on her shoulders. Besides being a mother Charlie is a cop who works for ITF. She has an off-world partner, Hank, who's a siren from Elysia. Charlie is a tough cop, but also a loving mother. In my opinion Charlie is a "kick ass" heroine who does her best under difficult circumstances.
The plot is interesting, because Charlie begins to investigate things when a fatal off-world narcotic ash starts to spread in the neighborhood. This is a good and strong start for the book – it makes the reader want to know more about what's going on. The character development feels good, because Charlie is a realistic character. She has inner struggles with certain things (she has feelings for her ex-husband etc). It's good that Charlie isn't a perfect person, because it adds realism to the book. The other characters – including Charlie's sister Bryn who is a gifted earth mage – are also interesting.
As many readers may know, urban fantasy has become increasingly popular during the last couple of years. It's a genre of its own, because it combines elements of fantasy, science fiction and everyday life. Urban fantasy differs greatly from normal fantasy and it provides a different kind of reading experience. This is perhaps one of the reasons why readers love urban fantasy.
I don't read urban fantasy often, but every once in a while it's nice to read well written urban fantasy books, because some of them are good and harmless entertainment for adults. They provide good escapism for fantasy readers.
I liked The Better Part of Darkness, because it was a good, gritty and entertaining urban fantasy book for adult readers. Kelly Gay has used imagination when she has created a new kind of Atlanta where beings from alternate dimensions live among ordinary people. The characters are realistic and the story is interesting (I think it's good that Charlie is a single mother, because many urban fantasy heroines don't have any children). In my opinion the existence of Elysia and Charbydon is an interesting take on the heaven and hell scenario. The Better Part of Darkness isn't a perfect book, but it's good and well written entertainment.
I can recommend The Better Part of Darkness to all readers who like urban fantasy, because it's an enjoyable book. I think that many fans of urban fantasy will find this book interesting.