Mr. GG has been out on a fire detail for a while, so it’s just me and the cat keeping the home fires (heh) burning. Mostly we’ve been eating (and the vet says the cat weighs 18 pounds and must lose a half pound a month to get to his goal weight. Do I have to do Weightwatchers for Cats? How many points is kitty kibble?). And I have been reading a lot, so the cat keeps me company as I loll about. Last week I read all my favorite new releases – the Meljean Brooks, the G. A. Aiken, the new J. D. Robb. As the weekend crept up on me, I considered downloading the new S. M. Stirling or Julie Garwood to my Kindle. But the price was outrageous for those two – and you have to draw the line somewhere. So I went searching for free Kindle downloads and on a whim ordered “A Hidden Fire“, by Elizabeth Hunter. Whoa! I think I started that one in the evening, and I finished it at some ungodly hour of the morning. Before I fell asleep, I ordered the next in the series of 4 books. I HAD TO.
Frankly, I am awfully tired of vampires. I mean, I will still read the next J. D. Ward book when it comes out, but I am maxed out on tortured heroes, blood, sex and eternal life. But. But, Elizabeth Hunter goes where no world builder has gone before. Her vamps are…. People. Some likeable, some despicable, some in between, and some your basic nutjobs, but they are all unique and fascinating and they interact with humans. These vamps have the whole range of emotions: especially humor, joy, regret – and are capable of love. They are not brooding Transylvanians, they are from all the classic cultures, Tibetan, Persian, Ethiopian, Greek, Roman, et al. The hero, Giovanni Vecchio, is a Renaissance scholar copying an ancient book for a friend. Which means he has to go to the university library at night. And B, the heroine, is the librarian. Yes, that’s right! The Heroine is a Librarian, woohoo, yippee, about time! She’s human. She’s smart. She excels at research. She wears Doc Martens.
This is not a fast moving story. There are lots of relationships to explore – and it takes forever to get to the Big Reveal. And after the Big Reveal, there is no HEA. Everyone has a story. And a backstory. But these characters grow on you. You care about everybody. And there are mysterious manuscripts, missing people, and puzzles to research. And though this book doesn’t end up HEA, it does finish with some Ever After, and a promise of more. You won’t get to a cliff hanger and pitch a fit or the Kindle at the wall. You’ll do what I did, and immediately download the next book.
This free book was the kind of story that you savor, and if Mr. GG had been around, I might have taken the time to have regular meals, do laundry, run errands, etc. And I would have savored. But it was just me and the cat. I binged. I binged on this book, bought the next, binged on that one, binged more, and finally bought the fourth and final in this series. I read nonstop, folks. Then I googled Ms. Hunter to find out if she had anything else I could devour. And right now I am having severe withdrawal. If I don’t reread these books right away, I am probably going to have to go find some vintage Linda Howard, or Jennifer Crusie, or Susan Elizabeth Phillips to ease me into a gentle transition.
I am a voracious and not particularly discriminating reader. I will read “The Sheik’s Pregnesiac Virgin Mistress”, and then a biography of Amelia Earhart, or a DIY mosaic book. But I am here to tell ya, this “Elemental Mysteries” series by Elizabeth Hunter is special. If you ever read the Williamsburg novels by Elswyth Thane – it is sorta like that. Or maybe like the first time you read the Dragonrider books by Ann McCaffery. Or if you read the ”Novels of the Change” series by S. M. Stirling, kinda like that. But not.
Since I have already raved about this series to the cat (who licked his butt and then went and yowled by his food bowl) I had to tell someone who would care, that I found this terrific series. I am not a shill, have no dog in this hunt, no ax to grind, and never heard of Ms. Hunter before this weekend, and just want somebody else to metaphorically (or actually, for that matter), hop up and down, do the happy dance, and love these books as much as I do.