Melanippe Saka is an Amazon who has left her tribe and runs a tattoo parlor in Wisconsin. She lives with her daughter, mother and grandmother, trying to blend as human, and keeping her daughter away from the Amazon lifestyle. Murdered Amazon girls begin to show up on her doorstep, she tries to deal with the bodies in secret, but things backfire and the Amazons suspect her of the murders. A detective begins nosing around also.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it. I like the plot. I like Ms Devoti's portrayal of the Amazon women, with all their own biases against men, and even the warrior women's shabby treatment of the hearthkeepers (the women who cook and clean). But the writing style at first made it diffucult for me to read. Not that I'm illiterate, but when I read a first person narrative, one that is not about a professor or equally word-rich person, I'm more comfortable with regular, everyday speech. I realize that this is my own personal bias, probably coming from working with a varied group of children and parents over the years. Heck, maybe that is the author's regular everyday speech. But my point is, there was some wordy phrasing in there. Which is okay, I just am not crazy about it- just a personal bias. One last thing that pulled me out of the story somewhere in the first section of the book is one section in the book that seemed like paragraphs of questions. (I think there was actually two paragraphs of questions) Not questions between characters, but questions in the narrative, one after another. Which usually just frustrates me when I'm starting to get into the story. After that, every time I saw a question mark on the page, I would think,oh no, not again. But after that one section, the questions decreased and the book began to flow.
I almost stopped reading it based on the first few chapters, but then decided to finish the book. After the first few chapters, I fell into the book. Once I fell into the book, it just became more and more interesting- interesting enough to forget about the narrative style. The little subplots are interesting and every time a new character was introduced I was wondering if he/she were the murderer (this is a like a paranormal murder mystery). I wished some of Mel's (main character) co-workers had more scenes in the book, and I would have liked to see more of Bubbe's (the grandmother) eccentric behavior, but I'm sure we'll see more in future books. By the second half of the book, I was enjoying Mel's smart-assed comments to her family and others (she was never extremely snappy or prickly) and laughing at some of Mel's internal thoughts. By the last third of the book, I was making myself stay awake so I could finish it.
All in all, even though at first I was put off by the narrative style, after I relaxed about it I enjoyed the book, had some chuckles and was surprised at the end. It was a good read and I'm glad I kept reading past the first few chapters.
A little disclaimer here- the two things that bothered me about the book do not mean that I think Ms Devoti is not a good writer, it was just that those are two things just aren't my "cup of tea". Ms Devoti has written and had published quite a few paranormal romance novels for Nocturne, a couple of contemporary romances, and this is her first urban fantasy.