I've enjoyed Tanya Huff's work for years, and as usual, this was a fun urban fantasy story with quirky characters that frequently made me laugh out loud.
There are two big objections I saw in the other reviews that made me hesitant to buy that I wanted to respond to:
1.) The narrator: I'm sorry to agree, but I really wish there were another reader. There are some things she does wonderfully. She voices the Aunties beautifully, but she's uneven. Many other aspects of the pacing & narration were just flat, leaving me a bit confused as to what was going on. Several times something big had happened & I had no clue & had to back up a bit because there were absolutely no vocal cues.
That said, it wasn't enough to stop my enjoyment of the book, but enough to bug me from time to time.
2.) The Gale Family relations/incest: This gave me pause before buying, and I was leery going in, but in the context of the story it makes sense & isn't actually disturbing. (And believe me, I get wigged pretty easily by the topic - it's hard to read the word incest without an assumption of sexual assault and THAT is not my idea of fun reading.)
The Gale family is different. Alien. (Not as in they landed from outer space, but for all I know...) Not entirely human, with different rules and codes governing their behaviour that strikes me as reminiscent of some kind of wolf pack or minor fey court. If you're familiar with Tanya Huff's other work, then you can rest assured that the incest theme isn't like those in Fifth Quarter, in which it did thoroughly skeeve me out & kept me from enjoying the story. If it was a purely human family, it might've bothered me more, but the way their family is run reminds me a fair bit of royal dynasties - cousins marrying cousins to keep the blood pure. Only with inhuman pheromones & different standards. Really different standards.
Which is to say that if you're usually squeamish about such things, you don't need to let the other reviewer put you off.
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