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Unclean Spirits by MLN Hanover

Unclean Spirits - M.L.N. Hanover

This is a very fun urban fantasy! I don’t know why it hasn’t been on my radar sooner. Jayné is an engaging character and I love how she (and us readers) are tossed into the middle of things when her uncle Eric passes away. She’s surprised to learn that she was his sole heir and that gives her a chance to restart her life. Yet there’s a glitch – Randolph Coin! Let the badass magic and hand-to-hand combat start!

It was great that this story didn’t follow the standard urban fantasy Book 1 formula. Jayné and crew plan, practice, and go forth to battle evil… and things go wrong. We still have half the book to go! What will happen next? I loved it – I couldn’t guess how things were going to fall out. The team is breaking up, no longer acting like a team, and totally disheartened by their failure. Jayné will either rise, bringing them together, or take her inheritance and restart her life in some other city.

The side characters are all very interesting too. There aren’t many female characters, so I would like to see a better balance. The immediate team that worked with Eric are all guys (Ex, Aubrey, Midian, Chogyi Jake). Later on, a wife/husband team joins the group since Jayné did them a solid favor early in the story. For me, Midian and Ex were the most interesting side characters because they obviously have pasts and are conflicted over them.

In this tale, our heroes combat Riders, which are malevolent spirits that hijack human bodies. They come in different flavors and a few are explained in this book. I expect more will be explained later in the series. I like that this sometimes makes their job harder as they will try to save the human by expelling the Rider. This isn’t always possible, which causes some moral indigestion for some of our heroes. I love these complications.

There’s a side romance that was just so-so for me. It added some drama to the story, but I don’t feel the plot needed more drama. After all, we were saving the world! That’s drama enough. All together, 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Suzy Jackson was perfect for this story. She nailed Jayné’s voice. Jackson had distinct voices for all the characters. There were a few times I felt her male character voices needed a little more masculinity, like for Chogyi Jake’s soft voice or for Aubrey in quieter moments. Most of the time, her male voices were just fine. There were no technical issues with the recording. 4.5/5 stars.