The Grimrose Path (Trickster, Book 2)
by Rob Thurman
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451463494
Date: 07 September 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Bounty hunter and bar owner Trixa Iktomi is back!
In The Grimrose Path, Rob Thurman sends her newest heroine on a very strange mission--one that involves working alongside demons instead of killing them. That's only the start of the weirdness, as Trixa finds events in her native Las Vegas are taking a turn for the sinister...
Trixa starts off this novel a bit perturbed--in the last novel, she lost an essential aspect of herself and she hasn't quite come to terms with it yet. Her new outlook is tested by the presence of Leo (who once styled himself a god of mischief), an old buddy, as well as the duo of Zeke and Griffin (both former celestials).
But life is not on hold, regardless of her existential crisis, and the demonic Eligos shows up in her bar asking for her help. Nearly a thousand demons have been killed by some unknown entity and he needs to know what is happening. Ordinarily Trixa would be cheered by this news, but Eligos points out that anything capable of killing so many demons would not have trouble with, say, shapeshifters.
Point taken, she agrees to help and begins to look into matters. The trail leads to a mythological powerhouse, but along the way, Trixa and her allies meet up with Ishiah, a retired angel (and major supporting character in Thurman's Cal Leandros series) with a few things to say. Trixa also encounters a young woman who's damned her own soul; Trixa cannot help, bargains being what they are, but the girl has a part to play in the bigger picture.
Unhappily, she learns that her best weapon is powerless against this enemy, which is very bad news. See, the mythological figure wants something which Trixa is not prepared to give up, even if it costs the lives of her closest friends.
And it very well might come to that, unless this trickster can come up with one doozy of a sleight-of-hand...
Rob Thurman's second Trickster novel is a fun, fast-paced adventure, pitting Trixa and company against big game. Her enemies are more powerful, the stakes are higher, and Trixa has fewer weapons to use, making it a steeper hill to climb. But if a heroine is measured by her enemies, then Trixa is truly proving she has the right stuff.
The first chapter showcases how well Thurman develops characters, as it is essentially a long growl by Trixa about how unfair her situation is. It's sensible, considering what she's lost, and Thurman gives the reader a long, deep look into Trixa's personality--to the point that it lays the groundwork for some surprises to come. After all, every character needs a story arc, and Trixa getting over her self-pity is a good one.
Griffin and Zeke evolve in this story as well, now that their real selves were revealed in the previous volume. Their skills and powers complement Trixa's, but don't overshadow the main character; they don't step in and solve problems, so much as make it possible for Trixa to do what she needs to do. It's a fine line, but Thurman navigates it well.
The main villain has vast power, but also some intriguing weaknesses--all of which are consistent with the mythological sources from which he springs. Thurman does an admirable job of building up a context for the final fight, then turning expectations around by using a very clever means of undoing the bad guy.
The Grimrose Path is a strong sequel to Trick of the Light and continues to establish Rob Thurman as a writer to watch.