You can’t have a necromancer without “romance.”

I finished No Humans Involved, by Kelley Armstrong last night, and I was very, very happy with it. In a literary era where even the whisper of “urban fantasy” fiction makes my skin crawl and the bile rise in my throat, I’ve come to only rely on two specific authors, Armstrong and Kim Harrison, for my paranormal needs. Harrison actually broke her streak for me with her last book, For a Few Demons More, just because I feel like she went in a direction she didn’t need to go (though it wasn’t, say, Laurell K. Hamilton levels of suck) so I approached No Humans Involved with a bit of wariness. I need not have worried! Armstrong has not lost her touch, or her gift for unique female voices.

I had a dopey smile on my face while reading the bulk of Jaime Vegas’ story. I was reading it during the commercial breaks of Idol and One Tree Hill and even took it to bed with me to finish. I think what I love most about The Women of the Otherworld books is that Armstrong is SO good at not only world-building, but creating unique female characters. Jaime is not Paige is not Elena is not Savannah is not Eve. They each have different personalities, different levels of appeal. And I love the guys in her universe, too. Clay, Lucas, Adam, Kristof…and, in this particular book, Jeremy, are all wonderful, strong, badass guys who do not mind having an equally strong woman in their lives. Though, oddly enough, in No Humans Involved, Jaime shows an envy of Elena and her like and seems to undervalue her own abilities for a lot of the book and constantly apologize to Jeremy for having to protect her. But much of the book is about them both coming to terms with Jaime’s innate strengths and Jeremy’s own issues with playing protector, so those issues within Jaime get worked out.

It was tightly written, with a great, freaky, mystery and good supporting characters, as well as the return of some old favorites. And I LOVED the Jaime/Jeremy attraction finally taking front and center stage after simmering quietly for several books. I loved seeing Jeremy emerge as this very real, sexy, rounded character and not just a benevolent father figure to the Pack. I loved Jaime taking control in the relationship and making him work for it now that he finally caught up and realized he wants her. It was gloriously hot to see them connect, even if their major love scene had some hinky staging issues that had me rereading and scratching my head.

At any rate, yay. It’s been a while since I read a book that satisfied me this much. So kudos to Kelley Armstrong for restoring my faith in books about things that go bump in the night.

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