Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly

After donning a cursed necklace for the cameras, a silent screen starlet and her entourage are terrorized by an ancient demon

It is 1923, and silent film reigns in Hollywood. Of all the starlets, none is more beloved than Chrysanda Flamande, a diva as brilliant as she is difficult to manage. Handling her falls to Norah, widow of Chrysanda’s dead brother. She has always done her job well, but she was never equipped to deal with murder.

When a violent killing shocks Chrysanda’s entourage, and other weird happenings swiftly follow, Norah begins to suspect that some strange power is stalking the star. In Chinatown she receives warning that a curse has been placed on the actress as vengeance for wearing a sacred amulet in one of her films—and this curse could mean death for all who surround her. 

Bride of the Rat God was an unexpectedly enjoyable read. I requested it because of the great review on Dear Author but you never know - even trusted sources can't guarantee that I'll read it the same way. I can happily say now though that the action, romance, mystery, and paranormal elements all work together in a fantastic way. In fact I bet this would make a great movie as most of the characters and the time it's set in (1920's Los Angeles) are over the top and incredibly entertaining.

On the surface this is a paranormal mystery, with Norah trying her damnedest to figure out who (or what) is trying to kill her sister-in-law Chrysanda. There are spooky omens given by a 'Chinese mystic' and accidents that are just too planned out to truly be what they appear. It makes for a story you can't take your eyes from because you want to know what happens next. And me being a romance girl at heart, the slow development between Norah and Alec, from acquaintances to friends to something more, was another great thread to follow. Norah's working past the death of her husband and isn't sure she's ready for a relationship; instead of rushing it Hambly writes them both as people who slowly but surely finding a partner in the other. I highly recommend this title as something a little different that turns out to be a lot of fun.

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley**