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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman

The sparkling gem of this story is the irreverent and fearless humor. I swear on all things Prada, it will make you laugh out loud. I startled my dog several times while reading this book. She finally got so disgruntled she left the room.

Astrid is somewhat archetypal: She's a pretty but slightly dysfunctional woman with relationship issues and of course, a heart of gold. She's "not a ho-bag" but has a healthy sexuality. She doesn't know her own worth, has self-doubts, but soon realizes her place and finds inner strength. I could see that character development coming a mile away. Despite this, Peterman's ability to write a clear character voice is so strong, I was able to accept Astrid's at face value, and look forward to a deeper character development as the series progresses.

In the realm of the paranormal, so many things seem to have rules. Isn't that odd? It's supposed to be a world where the impossible is possible, and yet, so many paranormal novels are based on the same tropes and archetypes. While Astrid's beginning seems to follow those at first, and all of the plot twists were fairly obvious, Peterman does take refreshing liberties with many of those "rules". Astrid's genealogy allows for this with ease, which leads to smooth story progression.

The story moves along very well, there's no drudgery or drawn-out angst, which delighted me to no end. The only downside to that was, at times I felt rushed at points that could have used a bit of time to enhance their impact and importance. I'm somewhat befuddled by her very quick fall for her mate, despite barely spending time with him. I don't know if that was due to the "fated-ness" of their being together, or if it was just underdeveloped, or maybe due to length, it got cut. Even so, the book was over way before I was ready to leave the characters - and it had little to do with the "cliffhanger" ending.

To her credit, Peterman writes excellent supporting characters. Just like Astrid, they have clear and separate personalities, which helps the reader process a lot. Because the book moves so quickly, the reader is introduced to nearly 30 other characters. The writing is so good that you can pick them out in your brain to count them. They don't blur together and get lost or forgotten. Were this like other series, I'd love to explore their little worlds and characters separately.

As a first book, the world building and opened possibilities make it an instant appetizer for the rest of the series. I highly recommend it.

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