Alright people, you're about to get the very definition of a "mixed review". This book was ADORABLE, but boring. It had these great fantasy elements, but it was boring. It had an awesome, likeable heroine that I could relate to...but it was boring. See where I'm going with this?
Tempest Rising is book one in the ongoing Jane True series, which centers around a half-human, half-selkie (named Jane, of course). This book is mostly about her finding out what she really is, and discovering the world of the supernatural. This world includes gnomes and vampires and all manner of shape-shifters (awesome, right?) Jane also has a tragic past to come to terms with, and a more recent local murder mystery to solve. Enter Ryu, the sexy investigator with fangs, who enjoys being Jane's tour guide through the supernatural world (and getting into her pants).
I liked Jane. She's sort of your average twenty-something, except for this one unusual ability (swimming in a near-frozen water). She's loved and lost, and gone through periods of depression, and been institutionalized, and survived everything. She's defenseless in this book, but her strength of will makes me think that she won't be for long.
Loved the world building. I get so excited when I find books where demon dogs mingle with gnomes and kelpies.
I liked Ryu, and many of the other characters introduced...but God, I smell a love triangle coming, and I'm worried about that. While I felt that Jane was sexually attracted to Ryu, and that she enjoyed his attention in general, I didn't get that true love vibe from them. And that's fine. But yeah, if it turns into a love triangle I might have to kick a seal. (Commenters who have read further into the series should also know that I throw sharp objects at those who spoil things for me. You've been warned.)
It's boring. Yeah, I know, I was surprised too. How jaded am I that I can be bored by a book that has selkies, sex, and murder? But seriously, just trust me on this, the plot drags after a certain point. The pacing sucks big time. There isn't much to the murder investigation, and we aren't even introduced to the murderer until 3/4 of the book is over. There's a lot of Jane and Ryu having sex, Jane trying on fancy clothing, Jane thinking about things, Jane's libido talking to her...
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of talking libidos or talking hormones. Am I alone here? Do other women have horny feelings that manifest in the form of voices in their head telling them to hump things? This is a minor pet peeve, but it's one of those little details that just gets under my skin. There are other ways to let your reader know that the character is feeling...amorous.
I was so charmed by so many things about this book, that it's hard not to recommend it, even though I found a good chunk of it hard to get through. I'm tempted to say that this book just has "first book" woes, and now that the world is all set up, the next books will be better. But I don't know yet. So what I will say, is that I liked it enough to order book 2, and we'll see how it goes from there. I offer a cautious positive recommendation to the patient urban fantasy reader. 3 stars.