Review: Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Published August 25th 2009 by Orbit
In Living with the Dead we continue with the Hope and Karl storyline, this time adding Hope’s best friend Robyn. On many points Living with the Dead is very different from its eight predecessors, and in my opinion this is not a good thing.
After being widowed at twenty-eight, Robyn takes the job of being Portia’s PR person. When Portia is murdered in a club and Robyn flights the scene to chase after the killer, she is number one suspect on the police’s list. Together with her friend Hope and Hope’s boyfriend Karl, she gets caught up in several plots to kill her.
Overall I think Living with the Dead‘s main problem is the severe lack of focus. The story is all over the place, with tons of characters each having their own motivation for their actions. Living with the Dead is written from multiple points of view in third person, creating a whole chorus of voices instead of the steady, personal first person view we’re used to.
One of Ms Armstrong’s forte’s is usually creating a mystery. I’m always fully engaged into the plot, trying to figure everything out along with the characters. Because we have so many POVs here, the reader is privy to more information than the characters. For example, the reader knows Detective Finn is actually a good guy trying to help, while Robyn and Hope are constantly trying to stay away from him. I absolutely hate having to see characters making prejudices about each other while all I want to do is bump their heads together and scream “YOU’RE ON THE SAME SIDE HERE!”. This all makes for a frustrating, and in the end unsatisfying read.
It saddened me to see Hope and Karl’s relationship to be reduced to a standard male-dominated one. I don’t think Hope stood her ground enough, and most of the story she felt more like a needy puppy than an adult woman. I love the couples in the Women of the Otherworld series that are equals, like Paige and Lucas. Hope and Karl were okay in the previous book, Personal Demon, but I don’t think Living with the Dead did them justice. In Personal Demon I loved how they were sweet to each other, how they had a healthy and loving relationship>. I didn’t see any of that in Living with the Dead. There are no romantic moments, most of the time it’s just Karl ordering Hope around.
In the end I did enjoy the story, even though at times it is overly gruesome (it features a commune that celebrates inbreeding and torture of children). Ms Armstrong knows how to write an engaging story. Sadly Living with the Dead was my least favourite book of her so far.
The men and women of the Otherworld – witches, werewolves, demons, vampires – live unseen among us. Only now a reckless killer has torn down the wall, trapping one very human woman in the supernatural crossfire.
Robyn moved to LA after her husband died to try to put some distance between herself and the life they had together. And the challenges of her job as the PR consultant to a Paris Hilton wannabe are pretty distracting. But then her celebutante is gunned down in a night club, and Robyn is suddenly the prime suspect. The two people most determined to clear her are her old friend, the half-demon tabloid reporter Hope Adams, and a homicide detective with an uncanny affinity for the dead.
Soon Robyn finds herself in the heart of a world she never even knew existed – and which she was safer knowing nothing about . .
- Review: Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton (2/5 Stars)
- Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Lisey’s Story by Stephen King (5/5 Stars)
- Review: Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong (5/5 Stars)