Review: ‘Storm in a Teacup’ by Emmie MearsPosted: February 4, 2016
Mediator Ayala Storme handles PR by day and kills demons by night. She avoids Mediator luncheons and a fellow Mediator who’s been trying to get in her pants for years. She does her job. She keeps her sword clean and her body count high. But when a rash of disappearances leads her to discover that Nashville’s hellkin are spawning a new race of monster in human hosts, Ayala will be the first line of defense against these day-walking killers.
That is, until one of the creatures saves her life.
Ayala’s new knowledge of the hybrids’ free will challenges everything she’s ever known about her job. Racing the clock while trying to outrun her comrades and enemies alike, she’s not sure who will catch her first…
I got the ebook of Storm in a Teacup last year, and it kicked around on my Kindle for a while, until I began to crave a fresh new urban fantasy. And boy, does this series deliver.
Despite a couple of somewhat cheesy elements (the main character’s surname being one, and the fact she and the other Mediators all have violet eyes being the other), Storm in a Teacup gave a fresh face to the idea of a society of demon hunters in an alternate USA.
The violet eyes indicate that a person is destined to be a Mediator; they are taken from their parents and trained from a young age. The means by which they get their supernatural powers — whether they are inherent, or bestowed during the training via external means — aren’t addressed in the first book, but hopefully will be down the track. One of the side-effects of that power is quite sinister and makes me wonder if the Mediators’ origins are less than pure. The “taking babies from their parents” thing is another sign, as is the euphemistic name. They don’t really “mediate” anything that we see; they are basically the world’s pest control, trained to slaughter any demons that stick their noses out of hell. And they don’t even get paid for it, which I found even more appalling!
Ayala is a strong female lead who knows what she wants. She has a taste for luxury in the privacy of her own home, and orange hair … although I never pictured her that way due to the book’s cover. (Also, orange and violet? Poor girl!) Far and away my favourite thing about the book was Ayala’s voice. She is clever, sassy and fun, and tells her story in a first-person, conversational and often hilarious style that totally drew me in. I’d recommend this book just for the voice!
As far as the plot goes, it starts out in a fairly conventional “monster hunt” way, with the demons being the usual, icky and irredeemable evil. As the blurb foreshadows, though, the results of the demons’ new project aren’t as black and white as all that, and Ayala is quickly thrown between the rock of her Mediator indoctrination (demons bad) and the hard place that is her moral code (don’t kill the innocent). I saw the main plot twist coming, but was happy to be taken along for the ride.
Although there is a lot of violence, the sex scene is of the “fade to black” sort, making this book a fairly clean read for anyone from their late teens onwards. (I don’t remember there being swearing, but I tend not to notice that as much.) The story resolves itself, so I was left satisfied, but there are enough elements and questions left that I’ll be reading on to find out more about this intriguing world.