Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Tor Books
The second installment of the original urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan
Ciel Halligan, an aura adaptor with a chameleon-like ability to step into the lives of her clients and fix their problems for them — as them — is working a job at the National Zoo with her boyfriend, Billy, and his ten-year-old sister, Molly. It’s supposed to be a quick fix, giving her time to decide if it’s wise to pursue the romantic relationship her charming scoundrel of a best friend wants, or if she should give Mark, the CIA spook she’s crushed on since hormones first rattled her pubescent brain, a chance to step up to the plate.
Molly has already begun to show signs of being an adaptor herself. She’s young for it, but she’s always been precocious, so it’s not impossible. What isimpossible is her taking on the form of the baby orangutan she touches — adaptors can only projecthuman auras. Until now, apparently. Worse, Molly is stuck in ape form. She can’t change herself back.
Escaping from the zoo with their new baby orang, Ciel and Billy head for NYC and the only person they know can help: Ciel’s brother James, a non-adaptor scientist who’s determined to crack the aura adaptor genetic code. But when Billy winds up in jail, accused of attempted murder, Ciel begins to suspect Molly’s unusual adapting ability is more than just a fluke. Who’s been experimenting on Molly, and what do they hope to gain? And will Ciel survive to find out?
Linda Grimes is back in top form with the second instalment in her new fantasy series In a Fix that debuted last year. Like the first time around, there are loads of identity mishaps, sexual tension and brotherly interventions. I really love the way Grimes has created a rambunctious family as a backdrop to the series but I feel that there ought to be more of the said family involved. It is one thing for the kids to fight their own battles but it is another for the parents to be kept completely out of the loop. I would have understood had this been a young adult urban fantasy series but the novel features adults, all of whom, I’d say would have some sort of mature relationship with their parents – no matter how aggravating and demanding they can be.
I also wonder why one of the brothers is not mentioned at all. There are four – Thomas, James, Brian and…? You would think, since there was a family party, the brothers would all be present and even if they weren’t, there would be some mention of the absent brother. This little thing bothered me. I understand revealing one brother per book (or two) but an off-hand remark to remind us that he exists would have been good.
I also was annoyed by some of the decisions that Ciel made in this novel. I understand that they moved the plot forward but they ended up making Ciel look rather silly and less than discerning. Perhaps tighter plotting in the next novel would help. I’m also worried that the romance being settled will bring down the tension a lot and I wonder if there is a way for Ciel and Billy to be interesting and keep the tension up without excess melodrama or worse, killing Billy. I have the feeling that Mark is not completely out of the picture and it would be fun to see him step it up when Billy and Ciel’s relationship get rocky which it inevitably will. But then again, I don’t see why she has to settle for one dude. Hoho.
While there were aspects to this novel that didn’t sit well with me, I was, on the whole, quite entertained by it. I laughed, I snorted and I appreciated the bossy big brother bits. If you don’t have big brothers, you won’t get it. But if you do, then you totally will. If you haven’t started this series and you like sexy, lighthearted capers that don’t take themselves too seriously, this might be perfect for you.