Greywalker Mass Market Paperback – Jun 2 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
PI Harper Blaine sees a strange shift in clientele in Richardson's dizzy urban fantasy debut. After being dead for two minutes as a result of a clobbering by an angry perp, Harper discovers icky side effects complicate her Seattle life in unexpected ways—she sees ghosts and attracts otherworldly business as she pops in and out of a shadowy overlapping world. Harper seeks the assistance of Ben Danziger, self-proclaimed "ghost guy" and linguistics professor, and his wife, Mara, a witty Irish witch. They educate Harper on the Grey, "a place between our world and the next." Harper tries to maintain a normal life, dating a sexy antiques expert while battling wits with Seattle's vampire king, but being a Greywalker means she can only "pass for human." Fast-paced fun, this first novel will captivate fans of Charmed, Buffy and Charlaine Harris (Definitely Dead). (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"The perfect blend of hardboiled p.i. and supernatural thriller."
Top Customer Reviews
There are times in the book that you'll want to just shake the heroine Harper Blaine, and even yell at her, and times where you'd feel just as anxious as her. Either way, the reader is left wanting to know what happens, and believe me it's certainly not predictable.
If you are a fan of Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong and the rest of the urban fantasy crew, I think you will like this book and find it different and interesting enough that you'll be waiting for more in the series too.
It's a pretty intriguing concept for an urban fantasy -- way better than the usual "all the myths are true! I is strong woman who kills!" stuff. And while Kat Richardson's fantasy debut "Greywalker" has a slow first half and a bit too much whining from her heroine, all the subpots and tension whip together nicely in the second half. And with such a unique idea for an urban fantasy, Richardson is obviously just starting to dig into its depths.
Harper Blaine was savagely beaten by a small-time thug, and was technically dead for two minutes before the medics revived her. And though her body recovers, she finds that she's seeing all sorts of weird images -- mist, monsters, ghostly figures, etc. Her doctor sends her to Mara and Ben, a paranormal researcher and his cheerful witchy wife, who tell her that she's now a Greywalker -- a person who can see and affect the Grey.
As she tries to deal with this, Harper takes on some new cases -- a rich woman searching for her son, a man who wants an antique organ returned, and a new boyfriend with a shady partner. Unfortunately, these cases all have ties to the Grey, and they pull Harper into the nighttime politics of the vampire underworld, as well as getting her involved with a guy who may just be a necromancer. And though Harper is trying to distance herself from the world of the Grey, the creatures bound to it may not let her leave...
For the record, the first half of "Greywalker" is really quite slow.Read more ›
After meeting with them, Harper is struggling to make her mind around what she'd learn. There is some kind of alternate world wear ghosts, vampires and such lives. She now as acces to that world!
Some very weird clients now shows up at her office and she is being dragged further down The Grey drain.
Honestly after reading it I'm not quite sure how I feel about the book. The story isn't bad, the action is fine, some interesting character but something doesn't feel right. I can't say I don't like it, nor that I liked it. I can't quite pinpoint what's bothering me.One thing is for sure though, Blaine is suppose to be some kind of strong woman but she just rings weak to me. The girl is smart and gets out of nasty situation but she's kind of whiny.I haven't made up my mind yet if I'm gonna read the following books.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Greywalker is detective story that uses paranormal aspects to solve the cases. I adored the book as it started out and was fascinated by Harper's transition into a Greywalker. What turned me off about the book was the number of things happening all at the same time - too many villians, too many agendas, too many different species, too many unexplained events. The second half of the book became more and more complicated, with Harper constantly being sucked dry. In fact, the second half of the book I actually got tired of Harper constantly, constantly stating how tired she was, how wrung out, how nauseated, how sick, how weak, how cold - you get the picture. At one point, I wished she would just kill herself. I probably will buy a second book to see if Harper gains some equilibrium with the Grey and actually becomes useful, because the series does show some real promise.
There is plenty of action, but little in-depth characterization, which seems odd. As is the current trend, this book is written in the first person, so we should know every emotional feeling our heroine has, but we don't. She seems extremely disconnected with the other players. Even the one sexual relationship was a literal "wham-bam" that lacked substance, and came from out of nowhere. She comes home after being nearly killed (again), the next chapter immediately starts with her getting out of bed with a virtual stranger we had met a chapter or two before. Whoa! Hello? It was so completely out of the blue, I actually flipped back a few pages to see where I missed the setup.
Back to the action, which seems to be the only area that has substance. Too much substance. The author definitely doesn't disconnect from the ugly side of things. From the beginning we are thrown into the brutal beating that causes her to (apparently) die for a couple of minutes. You felt every bruise. From this point she gets pummeled and slashed on a pretty regular basis, meets a couple who supposedly understands "The Grey", takes on vampires, evil entities that will destroy the world, gets nauseous (a lot, and describes it constantly), barters her soul, puts her friends in danger... you can't stop reading, it's like watching a train wreck. You know it's bad form to keep ogling and watching the pain of the scene, but you can't seem to walk away.
Three stars because I couldn't put this book down, but to be honest, I'm a little ashamed that I didn't.
The lack of description just continued over into the characters, none of which you'll be pining for at the end. The main character never gave a reason why you should really be rooting for her and care what happens to her personnally.Plus I was just past the middle of the book and thinking, when is the actual plot going to start.
Sorry this wasn't a book for me and I'll pretty much read anything in the fantasy/romance genre.
Richardson's pacing and sense of story structure is baffling as well. Nearly an entire chapter is devoted to Harper having an alarm system installed. The love interest, however, gets sparse few paragraphs in separate chapters. In one chapter, whatshisname (gah, I can't even remember) wouldn't even acknowledge Harper because she blew him off, then several chapters later the nooky is implied. Don't bother to backtrack thinking you zoned out on any juicy details. They don't exist. While I appreciate the lack of gratuitous sex, there's nothing wrong with a little sexual tension. I mean, isn't that the point of introducing a romantic interest?
Worst of all, there is no mystery. I was not compelled to turn the pages because I wanted to know what was going on. I forced myself to read the book because I paid for it and hoped the story would improve. It didn't. When the climax surfaced, I didn't experience a series revelations because the author comes to conclusions that don't make any sense. Why does Harper side with one character over another? No explanation, but the author asserts it was part of Blaine's clever scheme to solve the case. Huh.
If you want satisfying urban fantasy with some mystery: Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Jeaniene Frost's Nighthuntress series and spin-offs, Tanya Huff's Blood Books, Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels, Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series. Anything but Greywalker. Eeesh. I can't comprehend the above average rating. I don't like to write negative reviews but this has proved to be cathartic.
Except that she has continuing problems with her vision, hearing, and odd smells. As her hallucinations get worse, she seeks out help. After a number of conversations with various helpful people, Harper finally accepts the fact that she brought some of the unknown back with her when she was revived, and her link with that realm is here to stay.
In other words, she is a "greywalker", who can walk between this world and the Grey, which is a transition zone between here and whatever happens to most of us when we die. As a greywalker, she can both affect and be affected by spirits and ghosts that most of us never notice. Also, she becomes a highly desirable pawn for all other sorts of people who would like to access the Grey and its contents on occasion.
Not a bad premise, but the book could have been a lot more than it was.
Harper is SO skeptical that it takes her half of the book to accept something the average reader has figured out by the end of the first couple chapters. She has been through a fairly traumatic experience when all of this weird stuff starts, but after talking with Ben and Mara the first time and hearing some sort of semi-coherent explanation for recent events, and after seeing Albert the ghost, I would think a rational person would listen to what Ben and Mara have to say and start taking a lot of notes. Instead, Harper does a world class job of convincing herself It's Not Really Real, or It's All In Her Head, or It's Just Aftereffects Of The Injury.
Which brings me to the writing style. Yes, first person narrative can be a very dynamic and engaging way to write a novel. But this is not a good example of a fast-paced first person narrative.
- The VERY DETAILED descriptions of encounters with the Grey got so repetitive that I started skipping entire paragraphs because there was no new information and no new descriptions of what she was seeing. Again and again, we got a description of fog with a smell like corpses. Sometimes there would be creatures or ghosts within the fog, but the description of those was pretty fleeting, and it was back to more fog.
- There are a lot of things that could have been done to tighten up the writing, like saying "there was the fog, looking exactly like it had last time" or "after two days, I was getting tired of all this fog, so I went back to see Ben & Mara again because they were starting to make more sense than anything else I could think of". But no, we get multiple pages describing every single encounter with the fog over those two days. All the while the reader wants to scream "you ninny!!! Go back and talk to Ben and Mara about what is going on, IT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT GETTING BETTER ALL ON ITS OWN!"
- In another example, the description of her fight with the man who tried to kill her went on entirely too long and in way too much detail. Yes, it was awful. Yes, it hurt a lot. Yes, she died (for a little while) at the end of it. That whole part could have summarized as "I had been beaten so badly I died for two minutes in an elevator" and the novel would have been just as good, or maybe even better.
If Richardson could tighten up her writing, vary her descriptions a bit more when they ARE necessary, and give her heroine a bit less skepticism and a bit more common sense, this could be an outstanding series.
I do plan to give the second novel a chance, and here's hoping Harper hits the ground running the second time around.