Review: Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre

April 14, 2009 Books, Reviews 1

blue-diablo

Buy It Now: on Powell’s / on Amazon

Description: Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blonde and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows what I’m running from. And I’d like to keep it that way…

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border to Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance…

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic… (from annaguirre.com)

The Fangirl’s Review: A-

First off, I cannot believe how long it took me to get this review out. I’ve had an ARC of Blue Diablo for two freaking months, but I’ve been so busy with grad school, teaching, and my editorial job that I just finished it last Friday. Sheeeesh. Again I ask, does anyone want to pay me to read full-time?

I absolutely adore Ann Aguirre’s science fiction books. Grimspace (review) and Wanderlust (review) are two of the most refreshingly creative SF books I’ve read in a long time. So I was very excited to receive an ARC of Blue Diablo. The genre is completely different–urban fantasy as opposed to science fiction–and I was eager to see what Ann could do in this new sandbox.

She definitely doesn’t disappoint. Blue Diablo is an intricately plotted mystery that had me gasping in surprise several times. I definitely like that I could guess at the motives behind Chance’s mother’s disappearance, but I never felt certain that I knew what was going on. It kept me guessing right until the very end.

Blue Diablo has a great cast of characters, all of whom are nicely developed and never flat. Corine is quirky and likable, and I found myself wishing that I could visit her pawn shop in Mexico City, because her apartment sounds SO cool. I really appreciate that her caution around Chance felt realistic; it didn’t exist just to create tension in the plot. I could really feel the history between these two, and that history affected every move Corine made around him. Chance is just mysterious enough to really interest me and just developed enough to make me really, really like him. Jesse Saldana hovers at the edges of my interest, but I’m intrigued by him. I want to know his motivations and if they really are his own, especially where Corine is concerned. The supporting characters, particularly Eva and Chuch, are nicely rounded and entertaining.

My only complaint is that the book takes a while to really get rolling. The first quarter, where Corine and Chance are making their way from Mexico City to Laredo, moved pretty slowly, and I think that if something other than broken down cars had happened, I would have been much more engaged and satisfied with the first part.

But overall, Blue Diablo is an exciting, engaging urban fantasy set in a locale that, as far as I know, hasn’t been featured in the genre before. I really enjoyed it, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series, Hellfire, which is coming out in April of 2010.

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