Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Thing About Trust...

A modern day samurai slays demons. If that doesn't sound like the idea behind a truly great series, I don't know what does. A Snake In The Grass by K. A. Stewart, is the fourth novel in the Jesse James Dawson series, one of my long time favorites. It's a unique take on the typical demon slaying story, told from the point of view of a man who isn't bitter and jaded by his duty. I've been waiting for A Snake In The Grass for months now, and it has absolutely been worth the wait.

One of the coolest covers I've ever seen.
In the fourth installment, main character and witty demon slayer Jesse James Dawson is trying to get rid of the 275 unwanted souls trapped in his body. Jesse is a target for the nastiest demons, and his secret can only be kept for so long. He travels with his protege, Estéban, to Mexico with the hope that Estéban's powerful bruja mother will be able to take out the souls without harming them, or Jesse.

But being with Estéban's family isn't as safe Jesse first thought. Someone is working with an ancient evil that wants to be set loose. If that happens, even Jesse's new powers may not be enough to save him...

While this story had a little less action than its predecessors, but it was impressive nonetheless. I've always been a fan of Estéban, and it was great to watch him try to mix the traditions of his family with what he's learned from Jesse. I really enjoyed the family drama, surprised at the direction it took. There was a scene in the middle of the book reminiscent of Fight Club that really captured my interest since it did not at all go the way I was expecting it to. 

Jesse remains one of my favorite action heroes, because he is the definition of one. Brave, strong, humble, smart, honest, constantly living up to the bushido code that changed his life. He's also a regular guy (aside from the whole demon slaying, soul-bearing thing)– he's a loving father, husband, and mentor, willing to stand up for the little guys when no one else will. He's Captain America is Captain America was a demon slayer. 
The secondary characters– Estéban, Sveta, and Terrence– all did their own growing as well. We learned more about icy Sveta and why you should never be forward with her at a bar, and saw through Terrence how age can affect a demon slayer. Strongest of course was Estéban, who struggled  with being a teenager and keeping his family's tradition.

This book seemed like a bridge toward an epic battle. There was a lot more detail to the way magic works in Jesse's world, and we began to learn more about the demonic war starting to build behind the scenes. There was also a lot more development with the other demon slayers, Terrence and Sveta, which kind of contrasted Jesse as he begins to think about retirement, which is something I seriously hope he lives to. Assuming he chooses it at all.

Stewart is a fantastic, realistic writer who lives up to the hype. I wholeheartedly recommend this series to any urban fantasy fans, as well as those who aren't. If demon slaying isn't your thing, however, check out the first book in her latest series, Peacemaker, which I did a review of here. Add these books to your summer reading list. You won't regret it. 


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