Darklands by Nancy Holzner

Deadtown, #4


They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.

I love the Deadtown series - it has unique world-building, a large mishmash of supernatural critters, they're out and about in the world where everyone knows their name, and the main character Vicky has a unique job I haven't read about before.

This time she goes on a creatively constructed, surreal battle into the Darklands to be reunited with old foes and family. There's a surprising return of a villain I had written off as long gone. The author grows adventurous with the underworld and its rules, honest to God quests as part of the adventure (three of them), and a weird fantasy pot and magic and spells and all that jazz.

There's finally some developments with Kane but that grows old. I like the guy but Vicky is kind of annoying by still being a little too standoffish and refusing to compromise more. Other than that, Juliet is still funny, Tina wasn't as annoying this time but makes a case where Vicky should never EVER go to her school again, and we get a dream or so of the Aunt who keeps overplaying the "child" nickname.

The Eidolon was actually fun! I'll kind of miss him...

Despite the creative story and revisiting so many beloved characters, the story lacks a little of the cohesiveness the first three books had. It's just not as exciting for some reason, and I didn't like the battlefield leaving the familiar town and settings as much as I liked the battles in it. I also thought Vicky was being a little too careless with her daring rush into the Underworld despite all the warnings and common sense lectures.