Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash
This is actually the sixth book in The Immortals series, unbeknownst to me when I bought it. However, I don't think my understanding of the book was impeded too much by the fact that I hadn't read the others. Sidhe Prince Manannán mac Lir is a Celtic demigod and a world-famous musician who discovers a witch named Artemis Black has been stealing life magic from the fae under his protection. What makes Artemis strange and unique is that she can cast both death and life magic at once, something that Mac thinks should be impossible; and unfortunately for him, he's very attracted to her.
Who specifically are The Immortals? The book doesn't really address that question directly, but they appear to be a bunch of kick-ass faeries who killed a demon and now have stains of darkness on their soul. This leads them to do thing faeries normally wouldn't do, like fall in love with a witch who practices death magic.
This book was enjoyable, if not brilliant, up until Mac follows Artemis in Hell. Hell is modeled on Dante's Inferno, so you know what that means: first they cross Styx. Then they go to Purgatory. Then they go to level one. Then they go to level two. Then they go to omygodsoboringcouldyouhavepleasecomeupwithsomethingmoreoriginalARGH. Besides the fact that Hell is, well, hellish, at this point in the book I started getting annoyed by certain things.
For example, there is one demon in Hell who is a cowboy and uses the term y'all. This would fine if he was actually talking to more than one person. Instead, he uses it when he's talking to a single person. What. the hell. Y'all is short for you all, which means it is a plural--that is not only common knowledge, but painfully obvious. Addressing a single person as "y'all" makes about as much sense as calling a single bird a flock. Methinks someone needs to take a Basics of American Coloquism Along with Many Other European Languages That Do the Same Thing class.
Also, Hell is very modern: the River Styx is actually a freeway, Purgatory is a parking lot, and to get to Hell you take an elevator (which I imagine looks something like this). I wouldn't mind this vision of Hell if it fit with the rest of the book--if the characters were office drones, for example--but they're a Celtic faerie and a witch. Why are Pagans even going to a Christian Hell? And why are faeries using the internet? Way to suck out all the magic and enchantment out of the story, person who is writing about magic! I love the fact that modern technology trumps actual magic in books these days. Why not just kill me now.
But I'm aware that these are just personal pet peeves, and that they likely wouldn't bother anyone else. What really made the book fail for me was that at some point, Mac's devotion to Artemis becomes ridiculous. She betrays him at every turn, to his physical and emotional detriment; and he still goes above and beyond to help her, even risking his own life on several occassions. If the two characters had been given a chance to form an actual emotional attachment--as opposed to just having sex--I might have been able to believe it. But as it was, Mac just seemed like a guy being led around by his libido. As for Artemis, I know she is trying to save her kid, but there comes a point where I just started losing respect for her because of the deals she makes with various demons. I don't think saving your kid gives you a free pass to betray people and make the world a worse place, sorry. And what was really bothersome was, I knew she would get her kid back and marry mac Lir at the end of the novel--because it's a romance--and I don't think she deserved either.
Overall I felt this book didn't contain very much in the way romance or enchantment, and I didn't find the relationship between Mac and Artemis convincing. I probably won't be picking up the other novels in this series, either.
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