January 7, 2009

Living With the Dead: Review

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In Living With the Dead by Kelley Armstrong, Robyn Peltier is PR consultant to young, spoiled celebutante Portia Kane. Robyn has run to LA after the tragic death of her husband Damon. Portia's main purpose in life is to be in the spotlight but her life ends suddenly in the backroom of a nightclub. Robyn flees the scene and ends up becoming the main suspect.

Detective Findlay is on the case. He has a special gift; he speaks to the dead and the dead say Robyn is innocent. If he can find her, he can help her. Robyn's friends, Hope and Karl, keep her hidden while they try to figure out who killed Portia. What they find leads them to believe that secret supernatural groups are involved. If they can find out why, they might be able to save Robyn.

I'm not sure how to review Living With the Dead to be honest. When I started reading it, I didn't realize it was part of a series, #9 in fact. Duh. Not that it was hard to follow but, well, let me try to explain... If you decided to start watching the series Lost, you wouldn't get the love triangle between Kate, Jack and Sawyer, know what the deal is with the hatch or know what the smoke monster is (no one does). You'd be a little, um, lost (sorry).

So I felt a bit lost myself. I had the feeling that I was supposed to care about Hope and the werewolf guy, but I didn't find them all that interesting. Hope's weird fits around 'chaos' were just annoying. I wanted her to get a grip. I'm guessing that this couple had their own story in a previous book. Maybe I might find them more interesting if I had read that first.

Let's stick a pin in Hope and Karl and move on to the other characters, the ones I found interesting. Robyn manages to keep her head when all this unbelievably weird stuff is going on. I just loved Finn. I liked how he just didn't assume Robyn did it. I also liked his relationship with 'the ghost'.

As for the plot, there was a lot of things I couldn't really follow. Things about the Nasts and the council. I skimmed a lot of that, but the story dealing with Adele and the cult were quite good. It was well paced for the most part. One thing that was distracting was the way it was written. The chapter titles tell the reader whose point of view it is. It's written in third person, however, and it feels a little distant. I've since read that this is not how Armstrong usually writes.

How do I feel about this book? It was okay. I'd really have to start at the beginning of the series to see how it compares. I really should check if a book is in a series before I agree to read it.

I get the feeling I'm not much help here. Have you read any of Armstrong's series? How about this one? Please tell me your thoughts on it.

7 comments :

  1. I'm weird about series. I call it my series OCD. Even if an author claims that any book in their series is stand alone, I never think it is.

    I like the Lost analogy you used (pun and all). That's kinda how I feel. To this day, I won't read a book in a series unless I've read the previous books first. And I even let authors/publicists seeking a review know this!

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  2. I haven't read this one yet, but this series is one of my favourites. I do think that the series does need to be read in order because many of the characters are introduced in earlier books and then are fleshed out later on.

    When I first started I didn't think I would like this world, but now I am reading just about anything I can find from Kelley Armstrong because she has quickly become one of my favourite authors.

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  3. OH, and I am OCD about reading series in order as well.

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  4. Count me in with the OCD for series crowd!

    Chris, I'm thinking at least some of your discontent with the book has to be because you jumped in at book 9. It'd be hard to figure out complex relationships that late in the series.

    And in an odd way, your being lost is actually a kind of positive thing: if the characters never grew or the relationships were simple, then it might not matter which book was the first one read. (I hope that made sense!)

    Marg, thanks for mentioning that you like the series because I have the first one (or even two) sitting in the house waiting to be read.

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  5. Mine's gotta be read in order as well.

    I've read the first in the Women of the Otherworld series, Bitten, and just loved it. I'm def. planning on continuing... although I don't recognize any other the characters you mentioned. Must come in later in the series!

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  6. I think I went wrong at reading this before the others. I was given it for review though and felt I should read it as soon as possible.

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  7. I am not OCD about my series, so I have read some books in this series and not read others.... I have this one to read, but I plan to read the few older ones I have before getting to it. I just didn't like Dime Store Magic (book 2 or 3) and was scared to read Industrial Magic (the book that came after it), so I skipped a bit ahead to see if I was still interested in the series. Yep, I have a great reading style! I think you should read the rest of the series, though, Chris. I know I see at least the first few ones at the second hand stores all the time and the library probably has them!

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