fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Linda Robertson Vicious Circle Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson

The bare bones of this story will be familiar to urban-fantasy devotees: Werewolves, vampires, faeries, and witches all exist and have become public knowledge in recent years. Girl, tough and feisty, takes it upon herself to dispense justice in a supernatural murder case. Girl is chosen against her will to play a major role in paranormal affairs. Girl is wooed by attractive werewolf and attractive vampire. I was worried Vicious Circle would be just like a hundred other novels with a similar premise, but Linda Robertson does some really interesting things to make her story stand out.

First, she realistically explores what might happen if supernatural races existed and came out of the closet. Vampires are well-regarded in society due to the glamorous image they have cultivated; faeries have gained acceptance by pretending to be harmless. Weres, however, are treated as second-class citizens. Persephone Alcmedi does her best to fight these attitudes, writing a pro-were newspaper column and renting out her basement to weres as a full-moon shelter. Anti-were prejudice hampers Persephone’s mission at every turn. No cop wants to touch a were-related case, and no hospital wants to treat a were patient.

I was also impressed by the unusually accurate Wicca in Vicious Circle. (OK, so real Wiccans don’t shoot visible bolts of brightly colored energy when they cast spells, but that’s creative license!) The belief system, the ethical code, and the structure of Persephone’s rituals are clearly well-researched.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Persephone is not the misanthropic heroine you might expect. She has a lot of emotional boundaries that keep her from being a social butterfly, but at the same time, she has a powerful protective streak when it comes to those she cares about. “Do you always take care of people?” asks a young girl whom Persephone has just taken under her wing. The answer is yes. In the early pages of Vicious Circle, Persephone finds herself sheltering her grandmother, a Great Dane puppy, a severely injured werewolf, and the aforementioned little girl, along with her usual canine visitors. As the plot unfolds, trying to protect everyone is a full-time job. I found this aspect of Persephone’s character refreshing and unusual.

I enjoyed Vicious Circle, and I’m interested in seeing where this series goes. I think it has a lot of potential.

Persephone Alcmedi — (2009-2012) Publisher: A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do… Being a witch doesn’t pay the bills, but  Persephone Alcmedi gets by between reading Tarot cards, writing her syndicated  newspaper column, and kenneling werewolves in the basement when the moon is full — even if witches aren’t supposed to mingle with werewolves. She really reaches the end of her leash, though, when her grandmother gets kicked out of the nursing home and Seph finds herself in the doghouse about some things she’s written. Then her werewolf friend Lorrie is murdered… and the high priestess of an important coven offers Seph big money to destroy the killer, a powerful vampire named Goliath Kline. Seph is a tough girl, but this time she bites off more than she can chew. She needs a little help from her friends — werewolf friends. One of those friends, Johnny, the motorcycle-riding lead singer for the techno-metal-goth band Lycanthropia, has a crush on her. And while Seph has always been on edge around this 6’2″ leather-clad hunk, she’s starting to realize that although their attraction may be dangerous, nothing could be as lethal as the showdown that awaits them.

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  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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