Dark Currents: Agent of Hel
by Jacqueline Carey
Cover Artist: Juliana Kolesova
Review by Ellen Russell
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451464781
Date: 02 October 2012 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Dark Currents is another excellent fantasy novel by superb fantasy author Jacqueline Carey. Dark Currents stars Daisy Johansen a half-human half-demon secretary who works for the police department in the town of Pemkowet. Pemkowet is small, but known for its strange occurrences and is a popular destination for supernatural tourism. However, when a college student's suspicious drowning points to an otherworldly culprit, it's up to Daisy, who is also a liaison for the goddess Hel, to help the Pemkowet police find the killer. By her side is a sexy police officer, who also happens to be a werewolf, and the mysterious Stefan, a charming and seductive ghoul whose motives are unclear to Daisy.
Dark Currents contains all of the things that make Jacqueline Carey such a great writer: fast-moving and interesting plot, kick-ass female heroine, and relatable characters and character interactions. Carey's Daisy is flawed -- one foot in the demon world makes being and acting human quite difficult, especially when it comes to controlling her temper -- but in a way that is relatable. Also her relationships with her mother, her best friend Jen, and her police officer partner (and crush) are entirely believable. Furthermore, the development of Daisy's confidence in herself and her abilities as Hel's liaison and Pemkowet police department's special consultant is something that all women can identify with. She is not the model of unattainable confidence -- she struggles like the rest of us.
In addition, the romantic tension between Daisy and her partner and Daisy and Stefan the ghoul add interest to the plot. Should Daisy keep trying with the unattainable werewolf police officer, or should she go for Stefan, the immortal ghoul, who promises the ability to help her control her emotions and keep her from the temptations her demon side offers her?
The fact that this is obviously the first novel in a series means that there is a lot of set-up that takes place within the story. And, although the plot is fun and interesting, I think it suffers a little for this. There are a lot of characters to keep track of. Also, the end of the story feels a little unfinished. The reader is left with many unanswered questions. And, although it is necessary to keep some mystery for the next books, at times Dark Currents feels more like an introduction than a full-fledged, stand-alone novel.
All in all, Dark Currents is a fast-paced and interesting read. Its lack of character resolution, although slightly unsatisfying, will leave you yearning for the next novel so that you can find out more.