Written by: Tanya Huff
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 331 (Mass Market Paperback)
The premise: ganked from BN.com: Austin was a black-and-white, far-from-young cat. Not just any cat, mind you, he was the Keeper's cat, a very outspoken feline with extremely strong opinions he was always willing to voice. After all, who knew better then Austin what was best for the well-being of Claire--and for the not-quite-as-important rest of the universe?
Claire Hansen was a Keeper, a member of that select group which kept the universe in one piece. And now she'd been summoned to the Elysian Fields Guesthouse, a rundown bed-and-breakfast that seemed to attract the most unusual clientele. And Claire was not happy about this latest assignment, not happy at all.
Not when she'd been tricked into taking over here by a horrible little gnome of a man who'd abandoned his post before she'd even figured out who he really was . . . Not when room six held a resident who'd been sleeping there for so many years that she really needed a good dusting--except that it was far too dangerous for anyone to get that close to her . . . Not when the basement housed too much temptation for anyone's mental health . . . Not when she found herself surrounded by "helpers" as distracting as Dean, the hunky-yet-innocent handyman, and Jacques, a ghost with a real lust for life . . . And especially not when it looked like this might be not only her most challenging mission but one she'd be stuck handling forever . . .
Give It Away: it's a fun book if you're looking for nothing more than a fluffy beach read. The humor is enjoyable, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny (though I did have a few LOL moments, all involving cat behavior). If you're a cat person, you'll certainly find SOMETHING to enjoy about this book, but be warned: the story itself is reactive and episodic without very much keeping the whole thing together in terms of theme. Characters are one-dimensional most of the time, and while that works for the humor, it can be grating and there's times you want to smack a few characters for their behavior. Honestly, Austin, the cat, is the most well-developed character of the bunch, and if I ever read the sequel (and I'm not dying to by any means), I'll read it for the sake of his character/humor. It is fun to see all these urban fantasy tropes published back before the urban fantasy tropes were TROPES, and what's great is rather than a damsel in distress, we have a hero in distress, and even that adds to the humor. Just don't come to this expecting Shakespeare (let alone the best urban fantasy ever). It's fun, but it's not great.
Review style: There's a mishmash of things I want to discuss that may or may not make sense: seeing what I would now label as urban fantasy published back in 1998, before Buffy-Lit fiction took off and commandeered the sub-genre; what this book unintentionally reminds me of (and why that delights me); why this book seems to have romance roots, even though it's really not a romance; we'll discuss which is a better medium (fiction or television) for this particular book, the humor, and lastly, why cats are awesome. No spoilers, so don't worry if you want to read the full review in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Tanya Huff's SUMMON THE KEEPER
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