“Autumn Bones” by Jacqueline Carey


artemisiconThis is the second book in the Agents of Hel series, and usually I try not to do multiple books in a series, but there were some things about this book I wanted to comment on.

Like the last book, it follows the main character Daisy, the hell-spawn, who day-times as a file clerk with the local PD, and the rest of the time she’s the Goddess Hel’s Liaison. If you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok, “Hela” is loosely based on that Goddess (and I mean LOOSELY).

It’s not the greatest book, there are a lot of things that make me twitch, but looking past the annoying writing, there are a lot of things Carey needs credit for. So many books follow the same path, YA and Adult alike, the path of Girl-hate, slut-shaming, and puppy-dog crushes. I was expecting all of that with this book, but was actually very surprised.

The issues Daisy had with her best friend in the first book are resolved and everything is back to normal. There is some girl-hate, but it’s more “they bullied me in high school and haven’t grown up yet” kind of hate. Even though Daisy has a crush on her sometimes-partner Cody, and the local “Outcast” leader Stefan, she isn’t chasing after either of them like a love-sick puppy. There are still some tropy parts when it comes to their relationship, but I can handle the minor stuff. She even starts dating a character from the last book that is neither of her “crushes”. She ends the relationship when she realizes she went into it with the wrong feelings (wants teenager “hand-in-back-pockets” cool person relationship) and broke it off so she didn’t hurt her partner. Once again, also very mature, and not stringing him along until one of the other guys steps up. A trope I don’t mind skipping.

Not saying all her writing choices are perfect, there are a few lines that actually made me pause and think “isn’t this offensive?” but I don’t know if that’s just me being sensitive. It’s nothing derailing, but a little pause for thought.

This book doesn’t have a straight forward plot like the first, but more little plots that all kind of tie in together. A satyr in rut, Daisy compiling an Eldritch database, a missing girl, a Hell-spawn lawyer buying up land, and her boyfriends secret and estranged sister waging war against Daisy and anyone that gets in her way. Like I said, lots of little plots. It is all very interesting, but I had this feeling in the back of my head like I was waiting for the real plot to start.

Carey is constantly impressing me with her take on such common topics, and the logic behind how the magic is possible, and why a Norse Goddess is in Pemkowet USA. Sometimes when people try to write magic and mythology in modern times, they either skip over the ‘how’ of it, or their reason is so far fetched it doesn’t make sense. Carey’s does. And the more I go through the series, the more she reveals about Hel and Little Niflheim.

I may not review the rest of the series, but I do recommend it if you’re looking for a quick and fun read.

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