Monday, October 27, 2008

Review: Any Given Doomsday

Title: Any Given Doomsday
Author: Lori Handeland
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Phoenix Chronicles/Book 1
Based on an Advance Review Copy ~ Release Date November 4, 2008

Elizabeth Phoenix is a former Milwaukee cop and now bartends at the bar owned by the widow of her former partner. She's also a psychic who was raised in foster homes until she was taken in by a wonderful old lady named Ruthie who reminds me of The Oracle from the Matrix movies. One day Liz gets a psychic "urge" to see Ruthie. What she finds at Ruthie's house sets in motion a series of events that even Liz didn't see coming.

Lori Handeland is well known for her paranormal romance series Nightcreatures. Now she is branching out into Urban Fantasy with a new series focusing on the main character of Elizabeth Phoenix and her quest to save the world from ending. Yes, we've heard this all before, end of the world, apocalypse etc. But this time it might just happen.

After finding herself in the hospital and waking from a four day coma, Liz has a few visitors. The police arrive in the form of two homicide detectives looking for Liz's old boyfriend Jimmy Sanducci. Liz hasn't seen him in years and tells them she doesn't know where he is. After they leave Jimmy shows up. He and Liz argue and he leaves without teller her much about what happened to Ruthie. Liz is then discharged and goes home to her apartment. Once home things just continue to get stranger with horrific dreams of Ruthie and monsters.

Liz and Jimmy do get together and journey to New Mexico and to the home of Sawyer. Liz had spent the summer she was fifteen training with Sawyer and learning how to use her psychic abilities. Now she must to train to fight the horrible monsters that are all too real and discover what she is truly capable of. She also needs to explore her feelings for Sawyer. She is no longer a teenager but a woman who finds herself attracted to him. And he is so much more than what he seems as Liz discovers. He lives on the Navajo Reservation and has some interesting powers of his own. One of them being a skinwalker. He is an intriguing character. I'm really not quite sure what to make of him yet. Is he good? Bad? Only looking out for himself?

Liz's take on him:

"The feelings I had for him were complicated. He both attracted and repelled. He'd made things clearer, and he'd muddied them up. When I'd left him after a summer of training, I'd been stronger, but I'd never been able to learn everything he wanted to teach me. I suspected that some of the lessons were about things I really shouldn't know. Sawyer walked a fine line between good and evil and there were times he wallowed in the darkness, times I felt he wanted to drag me there with him."
page 94

And what about Jimmy? He's this great looking, world renowned photographer with everything going for him, or so it seems. He's still in love with Liz and she still has strong feelings for him but he has some demons of his own to fight ~ literally. And soon gets Liz involved in even more danger with his own problems. I didn't really care for Jimmy one way or the other. The things Liz went through because of him... He didn't leave as big of an impression on me as Sawyer did. Not sure why but there you have it. The dynamics between Liz, Sawyer and Jimmy do not equal a love triangle yet. More like a bit of a tangle with no clear winner at this point.

Handeland's world building is complex yet I was never lost at what was happening. She has a knack for blending information with the overall structure of the story and not overloading the reader with lengthy narratives on the variations of her world. Overall I enjoyed this first installment of The Phoenix Chronicles. I'll be reading the next in the series to find out what happens with Liz and company and their quest to save the world.

For more information about the author visit her website where you can also access a short story prequel called In the Beginning.

Ratings: B+

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