Review: Hands of Flame by C. E. Murphy ★★★

Hands of Flame by C. E. Murphy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Negotiator trilogy #3
Publication Date: September 1st 2008
ISBN: 9780373802708
Page Count: 409
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: Audiobook
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Synopsis: War has erupted among the five Old Races, and Margrit is responsible for the death that caused it. Now New York City's most unusual lawyer finds herself facing her toughest negotiation yet. And with her gargoyle lover, Alban, taken prisoner, Margrit's only allies--a dragon bitter about his fall, a vampire determined to hold his standing at any cost and a mortal detective with no idea what he's up against--have demands of their own.Determined to rescue Alban and torn between conflicting loyalties as the battle seeps into the human world, Margrit soon realizes the only way out is through the fire....

REVIEW


Nice conclusion to the trilogy.

Notice I used the word 'nice'? Not 'amazing' or 'explosive', or 'epic', just 'nice'. I was hoping that this would be the book that tipped this trilogy over the precipice from good to great, but sadly not. It all boils down to the meh-ness of the main character, Margrit, unfortunately. She's a human fighting for survival among the strongest of the supernatural races, who all allow her to stick her nose into their business just because she's good with the words. They dub her 'The Negotiator' and allow her free rein and to make important decisions about their entire race's future...? Hmm. Something's just not clicking there for me. It doesn't ring true.

When she tries to go toe-to-toe with the Dragons or the Vampires or the Djinn, in my mind it goes a bit like this:


Ross: I’m gonna say this as Monica’s brother. Not as your friend. Chandler: So now you’re not my friend? Ross: Not now. Chandler: All right. Ross: So i couldn’t be happier cause you’re marrying Monica. But if someday you ever hurt her, I will hunt you down and kick your ass. Chandler: [laughs]

A request from a-duck-b

You know? She's just out of place, and far too weak. And all the talking, gah! I realise she's The Negotiator and talking is pretty much all she's got in her arsenal. But this was the final instalment; the one where we decide which race rules all. And in the end it was just very anti-climactic. It's like the end of Breaking Dawn all over again. Everyone's lined up ready to rumble and then......they have a nice little chat and talk their way out of it. Dafuq?

But that's not to say I didn't enjoy any part of this book, or indeed the whole trilogy. Murphy has a knack for characters; I love their diversity, both here and even more so in her Walker Papers series. They are realistic and interesting, flawed and sympathetic. I also loved the supernatural races she chose to concentrate on, particularly Alban and the rest of the Gargoyle race. I especially love the way they 'ride memories' and hold everyone's histories like a supernatural bank vault. That was very cool. Murphy can get a bit transcendental in her writing, but once you get what she's trying to convey, it really captures your imagination.

So, a mixed bag but not a total flop by any means. And the audio narration really helped bring the characters to life.

A solid 3 Stars ★★★

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