Review: ‘Any Port in a Storm’ by Emmie Mears

Any Port in a Storm

After months of training a budding army of human/demon hybrids, Ayala and Carrick have worked out most of their differences.

Who gets to use the bathroom first in the morning. Who’ll feed the bunny before they go out to make mayhem. Who gets to keep the jeeling claw they found in Forest Hills. You know, the important stuff.

But when Gregor sends them out with their battalion of shades and the mission quickly lands on the wrong side of Ayala’s “don’t kill norms” moral line, she quickly discovers that maybe morality wasn’t the motivator behind Gregor’s pet project — or at least not when money’s involved.

And when a trio of shades starts murdering the populace in Nashville again and targeting places and people significant to Ayala, her desire to help her own comrade shades stay on the good side of the Mediators will place her at their mercy again.

With the Summit fracturing and demons closing in on the city, saving the shades and herself may cost Ayala everything.

This is the sequel to Storm in a Teacup, one of my new favourite urban fantasy series. (You can see my review of the first book here.) It’s fun, past-paced and clever, and Emmie Mears’s voice again doesn’t disappoint. The main character, Ayala, could sass for her country!

Sadly for her, she’s instead stuck killing demons, and trying to avoid getting sucked into the sort of intrigue that inevitably pops up when you have a large group of people working together — even if those people are Mediators, people destined from birth to be unpaid monster-hunters. And political intrigue isn’t the only thing she could be sucked into: the demon-infested swamp that is encroaching on Nashville (where the books are set) and the maws of the demons themselves are also ongoing concerns.

Any Port in a Storm doesn’t stand alone, so if you haven’t read the first book, you’ll be very lost with this one. (Go read the first book. We’ll wait.) It continues some of the plot threads from the first book, introduces some new ones, and continues the meta-plot that is the looming threat of the demons’ overall plan — whatever that turns out to be. There is a conclusion of a sort, but as with the first book some threads are left untied to continue in the next one. (Think of it like a season of Buffy: the monster of the week is more or less dealt with, but the season’s Big Bad soldiers on.)

Any Port in a Storm contains some swearing, but there’s no sex or even kissing. The relationships revolve around friendships and family, which I found a refreshing change; urban fantasy, unlike paranormal romance, isn’t all about the love interest. And although I didn’t mind Mason in the first book, I didn’t ship him and Ayala, so him being gone didn’t bother me so much.

I enjoyed this book enough that I one-clicked the third book in the series, Taken by Storm, and can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into it. If you loved Buffy, you should definitely check out Ayala!

Four-and-a-half stars

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