I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #12
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 31st 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the twelfth installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.
Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidently trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.
Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?
I probably shouldn’t have to say this, but I’ve actually been asked a few times, so here it is – No, you cannot read this book without reading the first 11 books in the series. This isn’t a romance series, separate stories focusing on different couples that are somehow intertwined. This is an ongoing, continuing series. Don’t try to jump in here. Also – that means this review may spoil some events from previous books.
Now that that’s out of the way – what did I think of this one? Honestly, it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Which I know is basically blasphemy in the UF world, but there it is. Reyes was more tolerable in this book, maybe because he seemed to be embracing his dark side, not pretending that he can prove his love to Charley by physically abusing her and trying to control everything she does. In fact, most of the characters in this book spend a large chunk of time trying to convince her to devour the man she knew as Reyes. (Charley’s a god who can destroy other gods by devouring them. It’s a thing) He’s no longer Reyes, he’s not even Rey’aziel. He’s full-on Rey’azikeen, which is trouble for Charley and her crew. And the rest of the world. He appears to be wreaking havoc across Albuquerque, but no one’s really sure if it is him, or if it’s a random serial killer, or a different evil entity, and while they are looking for Reyes, it’s not to find out if he’s the one who’s murdering people and mutilating their corpses. It’s because Charley wants to prove to everyone that he’s still Reyes, deep inside somewhere.
That’s where this one fell apart for me. This book opens exactly where book 11 left off. Reyes went into the god glass and came back out clearly not Reyes anymore. Charley sees some of the innocent souls trapped in the god glass escape, but not the evil spirits that were supposed to be in there. Then she just…. goes about her day? Without trying to figure out where the evil went? After 11 books, Charley is still completely ignoring everything she doesn’t think is directly related to herself or Reyes, even when it’s proven in book after book that it usually is. She’s basically the exact same person she was in book 1, which is frustrating. In every single book, the stakes are raised. Not just for Charley, but for literally the entire world, and Charley still can’t be bothered to pay attention to anything beyond her next quip or beyond her immediate circle. She’s gone from thinking she was just a random reaper, to finding out she’s actually the one and only Grim Reaper, to finding out she has way more power than she ever imagined, to finding out she’s actually a god. Throughout this entire, multiple-year-long process, she hasn’t changed one iota. She ignores everyone around her unless they’re supposed to be helping her with something, goes out of her way to fuck with everyone’s investigations no matter the cost to the people who are actually charged with making arrests and getting the bad humans off of the streets, and is completely oblivious to the way her actions affect everyone else. Willfully oblivious, I think.
Here, as usual, she’s focused on Reyes, and as usual, Reyes is fucking with Charley’s head, manipulating her into proving she’ll trust him no matter what, even when he’s threatening her, threatening their daughter, and threatening everyone around them. I actually like Reyes better like this, because he wasn’t pretending to be doing out of any great love for anyone other than himself. Even though he actually was. Some sort of double-back-flip reverse psychology. So he was more tolerable for most of the book until I found out what was actually happening. Then I was just mad at him again, and at Charley for being so blinded by her obsession with Reyes that she was ok with it. More than ok with it – happy about it.
And he smears some of his blood onto Beep’s head to make her “…invisible to all who would cause her harm. Our enemies will not be able to find her until she wants to be found.” Why, what possible reason could there be, for him to not done that immediately upon her birth?? This baby is months old. They’ve known since before she was born what her future holds and that there are already demons, fallen angels, gods, wraiths, goblins, and who knows what else looking for her. They went as far as sending her somewhere and blocking the knowledge of where from their own minds in order to hide her from these entities, but all Reyes ever had to do was smear her with some of his blood to hide her and make her invisible??
I know I always come across as hating this series when I review it, but I really don’t. I love the world Darynda Jones has created, and I love getting to visit it. Weirdly, Reyes and Charley have always been the weakest part of it for me, and that’s not going to change. I read this series for Cookie, Uncle Bob, Garrett, Osh, Amber, and Quentin. Fair warning – this one ends on a pretty dramatic cliffhanger, and the finale won’t be out until next October, so if you pick this one up, which you should if you’re up to date on the series, be prepared for a bit of a wait.