June 7, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue
Book: Andromeda Rising
Series: Celestial Series #1
Author: James Ramsey
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4 Spellbound Squirrels
Plot: Joceyln “Joss” Matthews is a private investigator who specializes in finding lost things, especially children. She’s also darned good at it thanks to her skills at witchcraft. Her current case brings her up against something even more sinister than an isolated kidnapping, though. A fanatical religious group is abducting multiple children off the streets of Seattle, the same group who has been hunting Joss since she was 10 years old.
When her life is saved by the shapeshifting Mateo, Joss learns there’s much more out there in the world than just her unusual magical abilities. The two team up to find the missing children and, hopefully, stop the threats on Joss’s own life.
Kira’s Take: Ramsey’s debut novel is a fun read. I was a little worried in the early chapters that the book would be an origin-style story focused on Wiccan-style witchcraft. That wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but it could have felt very repetitive for readers who have read many books with witchy characters. Fortunately, Ramsey’s cosmology is much broader and incorporates all manner of supernatural and mythological beings. She incorporates just the right level of detail and world-building to leave you in a state of wonderment and wanting to learn more.
Followers of this blog may recall my weariness with detective protagonists in Urban Fantasy, but apparently I’m a liar because I still really enjoyed Joss’s story. That might be because Joss was not crafted from the same mold from which most supernatural detectives are derived. She’s not snarky, hard-boiled, weapons-obsessed, combative, nor does she have a prickly personality. She’s actually pretty sweet. Maybe a little too goody-two-shoes, but I think it fits well with the character and story Ramsey is trying to tell. Joss firmly follows the Wiccan Rede to do no harm, even when alternatives would be easier and less risky.
I was also intrigued by Mateo as Joss’s witchy familiar. I want to know where I can get my own talking leopard companion who can take any form but that of a human.
My biggest criticism of this book is that Joss seems a bit immature and vulnerable for a 28-year-old woman, but I think that is probably because I’m so used to the typical supernatural detective protagonist. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that Joss is weak. She’s not, she’s just different from the common UF protagonist. This deviation from the norm is actually pretty darned refreshing. I would also like to applaud Ramsey for bucking another common trend in UF: introducing romantic and sexual relationships for the characters as quickly as possible. I like romantic tension as much as the next reader, but it’s nice to read a novel where the supernatural goings on are the important part, not who the protagonist is hooking up with.
Final Analysis: All in all Andromeda Rising is a very entertaining debut novel and a refreshing change of pace from typical Urban Fantasy fare. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.