Book Review: Shady Lady by Ann Aguirre

April 6, 2011 Books, Reading, Reviews 1 ★★★★

Book Review: Shady Lady by Ann AguirreShady Lady by Ann Aguirre
View our feature on Ann Aguirre's Shady Lady. Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But the future concerns her more when former ally Kel Ferguson wlaks through her door with a warning for her: the Montoya cartel is coming for her-but they don't just pack guns. They use warlocks, shamans and voodoo priests. And Corine has become enemy number one...
Series: Corine Solomon #3
Published by Penguin on 2011-04-05
Genres: Speculative Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
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I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.


Shady Lady is the third book in Ann Aguirre’s Corine Solomon urban fantasy series, and I’m pleased to report that Aguirre just keeps on delivering the goods. Despite a slow and somewhat jerky start, by the mid-point of the book I was completely hooked, and the end left me drooling for more.

The beginning reminded me of how the first book in the series, Blue Diablo started out pretty slow and meandering, and while Shady Lady doesn’t exactly meander, it does take a while to really pick up. Big Exciting Things happen at the beginning, when we find out that Montoya, the drug dealer Corine pissed off in the first book, is gunning for her, and Kel, the slightly creepy Hand of God, shows up saying that he’s on a mission from God been assigned to protect Corine. They, along with Shannon, Corine’s roommate and the gifted girl she rescued from her old hometown in Hell Fire, set off to find out how to break a hex that was meant to kill Corine.

The more I think about it, the more Shady Lady feels like two novels mashed into one. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it does lead to a slightly disjointed feel overall. The first half involves Corine and Kel running around, dodging snipers and trekking through jungles. The second half involves Corine turning into a complete badass in Texas, trying to take out Montoya and stay on the good side of Montoya’s rival and her new, er, patron, Escobar. In terms of how the story flows, story one segues into story two pretty well, but it did take a while for me to really feel like the ball was rolling.

Once again, characterization is the strongest point in this series. Corine continually grows as a character, learning things about herself that scare her. I really appreciate that Aguirre doesn’t allow Corine to become a static character. Everything that happens to her affects the way she sees the world and sees herself. When she faces a nasty choice–should she work with a rival drug lord to get rid of the one who’s trying to kill her?–she doesn’t make any decisions lightly, and even at the end, she’s not sure that she’s doing the right thing or going down the right path. She does what she has to do to survive, but that decision will come with a lot of soul searching.

Shannon is a fantastic addition to the story, a troubled young woman finally coming into her own. Kel in particular impressed me. It’s been a while since I read Blue Diablo and so I only vaguely remembered him. I absolutely love his slowly-revealed back story, and I’m definitely hoping we see more of him in future installments. Both of Corine’s past love interests, Jesse and Chance, make appearances in Shady Lady, but I have to confess that I wasn’t particularly pleased to see either of them. I like them well enough as characters, but I loved seeing Corine thriving on her own in Mexico City. I really hope she doesn’t fall back into her old habit of codependency.

Oh, and Butch the psychic Chihuahua? Gets better and better with each book. I was a little wary of the idea at first, but when Butch showed off a new talent late in Shady Lady, I simultaneously cracked up and bought into it without reservation. He’s turning out to be a pretty awesome character.

The book doesn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger, but something happens that made me yell, “OH NO!” when I got to it. I enjoyed Shady Lady very much, and I’m seriously chomping at the bit for the next book in the series.

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