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Dark Currents

by Jacqueline Carey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Agent of Hel (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5725532,199 (3.84)27
"Small town Pemkowet, Mich., is a popular tourist destination for humans. It's also home to a thriving 'eldritch community' of supernatural entities, thanks to the presence of the local underworld controlled by the Norse goddess Hel. Daisy Johanssen, a half-demon trying to dodge her innate attraction to the 'Seven Deadlies' while functioning as Hel's agent on Earth and the local link between the eldritch community and the human police, is called in to help investigate the drowning of a local college boy when signs of both foul play and magical residue are found on the body."… (more)
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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
fairly likable characters, the mystery wasn't particularly engaging, the world-building was ok.
on the whole, might read more by author ( )
  jason9292 | Jul 17, 2021 |
DARK CURRENTS begins an urban fantasy trilogy. It is set in the resort town of Pemkowet, Michigan, and is peopled by locals, summer people, tourists -- and fairies, ghouls, vampires, sprites, naiads, and lots of other eldritch folks. They are all presided over by Hel who is a reclusive Norse goddess.

Daisy Johanssen is Hel's deputy. She is a half-breed fathered by Belphegor, lesser demon and occasional incubus, on her human mother. She's a twenty-something blond with her father's black eyes. She works for the local police department as a part-time file clerk who is called in when the cases involve the eldritch community. She has a crush of Deputy Cody Fairfax who is keeping the fact that he's a werewolf secret from most of the community.

When a frat boy is found drowned in the river and Hel tasks Daisy with finding out what happened to him, she and Cody are teamed up to work the case. They are under pressure to solve the case fast because the boy's family is not a fan of the eldritch and wants them to be outlawed.

This was a great story that integrated a lot of worldbuilding seamlessly into the action-filled plot. Daisy has her hands full juggling her duties with Hel and the Pemkowet Police department. She also gathers quite a crop of potential suitors including the new head of the ghouls Stefan.

Fans of urban fantasy will enjoy this story and be eager to read more about the world that was developed and Daisy's further adventures. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jul 11, 2021 |
Daisy is no Phèdre. It's probably my fault, but I started reading the book expecting something like the Kushiel series, and instead I got something a lot simpler.
The worldbuilding concepts are interesting, but the characters aren't. I won't be looking out for the sequels. ( )
  ladyars | Dec 31, 2020 |
TW: Sexual Assault

I've been a fan of Jacqueline Carey for a long time - I devoured the Kushiel series in middle/high school and recently finished Starless. I've appreciated the different styles of prose she wields, and I love supporting female authors and fellow Michiganders. This trilogy was on my radar for the while, and I was finally in a paranormal romance/urban fantasy mood, and still looking for Norse-flavored mythology after, um, Norse Mythology and Dad of War.

This is a pretty bog-standard urban fantasy novel, with some things done very, very well, and somethings done pretty poorly based on the standards of the genre.

The Bad
-As the first novel, it had a lot of characters and world rules to establish. It felt like some were only given lip service and not drawn very well. Werewolves in particular were mostly just "Regular person but, like, their eyes sorta glow when they are angry!"
-Honestly it felt like the vampires and werewolves were only there because they take away your PNR/UF license if you don't include them. There wasn't any effort to make them unique or interesting or to give them their own culture. Compare with the fairies, frost giants, lamia, and ghouls, which all get substantially more time/development/thought.
-It leans a bit too heavily on 'catch phrases' for voice. In particular, Daisy says 'Gah' constantly. At least a few dozen times. It was grating and kinda made Daisy seem dumber than she was.
-I really wanted to know more about the shape/size/configuration of her tail, because it was hard to picture something that could be stuffed in jeans and yet be easily tucked and yet be clearly visible thrashing around in there and yet go completely unnoticed by potential lovers until everyone's nude.

The Good:
-The mythology behind the Ghouls was interesting and different. I was kinda rolling my eyes at 'emotional vampire' at the beginning but was really wold on them at the end. Similarly, I liked the lamia, the water creatures, the fairies - they had personality and history to them.
-I liked that she had a tail. I liked that it was part of how she expressed herself and felt emotions. It was a small thing (although I don't know how small, see The Bad) but I appreciated it being included. If you have horns, or wings, or tails, or hooves, or whatever, those are going to impact how you interact with the world and express yourself just like any other body part, and I hate UF that kinda 'forgets' that someone has 12-foot wings or glowing hair until they want a cool mental image.
-Daisy is probably one of the mentally healthiest heroines in PRN/UF that I've seen in a long time. She recognizes her own history of trauma but doesn't let it define her or make her bitter towards others. When she is struggling emotionally, she reaches out to people rather than lashing out or keeping secrets. When she is called out on bad behavior, she listens and apologizes to her friend, and is sincere. When she is crushing on someone, she tells him quickly and directly. None of it is played up to fuel a dramatic plot. Daisy is a mature, functioning adult, and its so refreshing.

The Rape:
Rape features prominently in this book. Its discussed at length and repeatedly as part of Daisy's history/origin; her mother was raped by a demon and that is how Daisy was conceived. Rape - emotional rape and physical rape - both feature prominently int he central mystery of the plot. It is not a comfortable read but its handled perhaps as well as such a thing could be presented.
-The rapes are treated as significant events, but the survivors are not framed in a way that they are 'ruined' by it forever. There is hope of recovery.
-The rapes are not treated with any kind of erotic charge whatsoever. They are not sensationalized or glamorized or sexified in any sense (I'm looking at you, Anita Blake). They are treated as horrible power plays, not jerkoff material. They are treated with gravitas.
-The characters have realistic and appropriate reactions - discomfort, fear, anger, etc. to these events. They react as people, not sociopaths or action heroes.
-Although it involves a captive mermaid and emotional vampires, it may be one of the most realistic depictions of rape that I've ever seen in written media. Down to how the rapists rationalized it, the way the parents and community react, the doubling down on toxic masculinity, everything. "What else was I supposed to do?" is something that will stick with me a long, long time in my nightmares.
-The ending, with regards to the ultimate punishment of the said rapist frat boys is dissatisfying, because you want it to be worse. The idea that "this will be with them forever" being sufficient punishment is not something I particularly buy, seeing as it didn't stop them from egging on their brothers to do the same. But some punishment was levied, and again, this is probably the most realistic punishment we'd see. After all, we have to consider those boys' futures.

Normally I might give this a 2, but the high level of humanity and competency on display drives me to a 3. Its still bog-standard genre fiction for the most part, and some parts are just so uncomfortable, but the writing skill in those difficult areas stands out. ( )
  kaitlynn_g | Dec 13, 2020 |
This is the first time that I've read anything by Jacqueline Carey. The heroine isn't the most 'mature' individual, but she is likable and best of all believable. Her heart is absolutely in the right place. The story is pretty fast paced and several love interests have been introduced. (Personally, I'm rooting for the ghoul/fallen. I really like the werewolf, but emotionally he behaves like a little boy, not a man.)

The author did a good job in creating an urban fantasy world that's planted firmly in reality. Magical elements abound, but the problems the town is experiencing are all too familiar. This isn't your typical vampire/werewolf story, though they do exist. I liked the fact that Ms. Carey added many unusual creatures to her world and just enough elements to bring them to life. I also really liked the fact that the heroine is close to her mother and has an unusual guardian 'angel' looking out for her. It's rare to find such loving families in UF's. Of course, her family isn't perfect, but then again, whose is? ( )
  JordanSummers | Mar 31, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carey, Jacquelineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amell, AlissaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carey, KimAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolesova, JulianaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ramondo, AnthonyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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It was an idyllic summer evening in Pemkowet the night the Vanderhei kid died.
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What with being a goddess and all, albeit a much diminished one, Hel keeps most of the eldritch folk in line. The rune inscribed on my left palm is a symbol that I'm licensed to enforce her rules and act as her liaison between the underworld and the mundane authorities. It works pretty well most of the time, at least with the eldritch who respect order. Unfortunately, there are plenty who prefer chaos. (chapter two)
As he turned to go, one of the protestors found an unexpected surge of courage and stepped forward to confront him. She held up a pendant of her own, a shiny gold cross, thrusting it toward Stefan's face.

'No sanctuary for Satanism!' Her voice shook a bit, and the cross trembled in her hand, but she stood her ground. 'Begone, fiend!'

Several tourists on the outskirts said, 'Ooh!' And I swear to God, a pair of teenage girls were dipping into bags of caramel corn and shoving it into their mouths like they were watching a movie. (chapter 29)
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"Small town Pemkowet, Mich., is a popular tourist destination for humans. It's also home to a thriving 'eldritch community' of supernatural entities, thanks to the presence of the local underworld controlled by the Norse goddess Hel. Daisy Johanssen, a half-demon trying to dodge her innate attraction to the 'Seven Deadlies' while functioning as Hel's agent on Earth and the local link between the eldritch community and the human police, is called in to help investigate the drowning of a local college boy when signs of both foul play and magical residue are found on the body."

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Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Kushiel’s Legacy novels, presents an all-new world featuring a woman caught between the normal and paranormal worlds, while enforcing order in both. Introducing Daisy Johanssen, reluctant hell-spawn…

The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess.

To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it’s home. And as Hel’s enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it’s up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly.

But when a young man from a nearby college drowns—and signs point to eldritch involvement—the town’s booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime—and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she’s ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon.
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