From the BLURB:
Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.
Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.
It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever-rub the genie's lamp.
Nicole Peeler’s debut novel isn’t good – to be blunt.
I was a little skeptical going into this, mainly because I had an issue with the cover looking very YA and none too appealing. But I pushed my worries aside when I saw that Rachel Caine had leant her opinion to the back-cover, calling ‘Tempest Rising’ a “fascinating, fast-paced, sexy storm of a book”.
Oh Ms. Caine, how you’ve led me astray…
The plot isn’t all that bad - it’s a very slow wind-up and a hurried conclusion. Ms. Peeler also makes the mistake of telling, not showing – by including endless descriptions, scene summaries and internal monologues that make the book drag. But it is bearable. Even though, to be honest, I think a better book would have been based on the back-story of Jane's Selkie mother and human father. *That* story was more intriguing than the whole of 'Tempest Rising', complete with romance, tragedy and mystery.
No, the biggest problem with Peeler’s book is the protagonist, Jane True.
When you find yourself wanting to give a fictional character a wedgie, you’re in trouble.
Jane is boring (hence the name?), weak-willed and all together awful. She is also thoroughly uncouth – at one point she hocks her gum out the window while her sexy vampire lover looks on. Ew! In another instance her vampire lover places a hand over her stomach, and her response is “are you checking for food babies?” ‘Food babies’? Are you serious? And it’s made worse by the fact that Jane can’t carry off these social faux pas’ with the same zany grace as someone like Jane Jameson in Molly Harper’s series could. Jane True just comes across as a hillbilly. Peeler tries to make up for Jane’s lack of character by having her described as looking like a ‘young Selma Hayek’ – which does nothing to endear her to me, especially when you consider the fact that for the entire book she keeps up a ‘woe is me’ schtick that begins to grate to the point of antipathy.
Her vampire lover, Ryu, isn’t much better. He’s a cardboard cutout gorgeous vampire with all the usual biting mojo. Nothing original here.
The one character who intrigued me was relegated to secondary status, with hints that he’ll have a bigger part in future books. Anyan is a shape-shifting ‘hell hound’ who has been lurking on the periphery of Jane’s life for some time now. His story reminded me a bit of Sam Merlotte from Charlaine Harris’s ‘Southern Vampire: Sookie Stackhouse’ series, for his unrequited love for the heroine.
“Most of us will accept you, and many, like me, feel that you are necessary for our survival as you are, quite simply, good for our existence.” He paused, thinking. “Our kind need… shaking up. We need new blood, new ideas, new voices.” He smiled at me, running a finger across my cheek and over my lips. “Especially when those voices come from lips as sweet as yours,” he finished, leaning forward for a kiss.
The one redeeming feature of ‘Tempest Rising’ is the possible romance between Jane and Anyan – for that I *might* consider buying the e-book of the second novel, ‘Tracking the Tempest’ (July 2010) but I highly doubt it.