My review of Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Review of Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey. A urban fantasy with interesting characters and a heroine who isn’t all powerful, but have to ask for help and lean on the people around her.

My review of Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Daisy Johanssen is the daughters of an incubus raised on earth. She works as supernatural enforcer for the norse goddess Hel.

Dark Currents is a fairly typical urban fantasy. Overall I enjoyed the book, but it had a few problems that kept me from jumping straight into the next one.

My review from 2014 of Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

Title: Dark Currents
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Series: Agent of Hel, book 1
Genre: Urban fantasy

Opening sentence:

“It was an idyllic summer evening in Pemkowet the night Vanderhei died.”

I have read Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy novels and quite liked them, so when Felicia Day and Veronica Belmont recommended Dark Currents I was not hard to convince. The awesome cover didn’t hurt either.

Kushiel’s Dart and Dark Currents are two very different books! For one thing there is no sex in Dark Current. For another this is very much straight up urban fantasy.

What do I mean that it is straight up urban fantasy? As I have talked about before (What is Urban fantasy) urban fantasy falls into something like four different categories and Dark Currents falls into the category I call A world you don’t see (with a bit of The big reveal thrown in).

At the start of Dark Currents Daisy is already a part of the supernatural community in Pemkowet, she is even a supernatural enforcer for their current leader Hel (yep that is the Norse death god). A murder is committed – it seems supernatural and her boss, the police chief calls her in to help. Most urban fantasy seem to be crime mysteries.

Daisy Johanssen

Daisy does not really have any particular skills in solving crime which is where the story gets interesting. She has to rely on the policeman who is also assigned to the case (who is secretly a werewolf – not a spoiler – he is introduced as such) and they have to work together to solve the crime.

Daisy is quite often scared which is quite refreshing. Another thing that I found quite refreshing is the fact that Daisy has friends and some of them are even regular humans while others are supernaturals. I like stories where friendship is important much better than the lone ranger gal stories.

I did like how mondan thing kept interrupting her investigation, like her interaction with the tourist agency. When you have a day job you need to keep doing that even if you are solving mysteries on the side. I also liked many of the quiet moments. The first half just needed a bit more tension thrown in.

The Men – Alpha Male fatigue

There are two maybe three potential romantic interests in this book: A biker ghoul, a policeman werewolf and a tourist-bus driver human. As is customary in urban fantasy the supernatural men are Alpha males with a capital A. I might just get tired of that trope but alpha males just do nothing for me any more. They are so controlling and they constantly dismiss Daisy’s ability to take care of herself – even when they get presented with evidence of the opposite – sorry – that just gets me annoyed.

On the other hand the tourist bus driver is delightful. When he was first introduced I was really rubbed the wrong way by his exaggerated jamaican accent, but it of course turned out to be an act – which is just freaking awesome! I think Daisy should drop the two idiot alpha males and stick with the sweet human instead.

Weak first half, strong second half

To me the first half of the book was quite a lot weaker than the second half, which is why I am only rating this 3½ stars. If the first half had been stronger I would have no problems giving it 4 full stars. If I had not been listening to the book I am not sure I would have kept going with it though the first half. It was just a little slow and as I said it felt very much like the run of the mill urban fantasy. But in the second half the tension picked up and the plot kicked into gear.

The cover: It’s darn pretty and inviting without any boobs spilling out or impossible poses. The flowy lines clearly indicate magic and Daisy looks pretty badass with her knife on her hip.

Overall I enjoyed the book, but it had a few problems that kept me from jumping straight into the next one. Also my to read list is like 100 books long.

The stats

Published: October 2nd 2012 by Roc Hardcover
Read: October 14 to 22, 2014

The author: Female, white, USA
The protagonist: Daisy Johanssen, white, half human half demon, filing clerk, agent of Hel, hetrosexual (mostly), lower class background
Setting: A Midwestern resort town

This review was originally posted: November 6, 2014. Updated and edited June 28, 2023





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