Review of Deathtalker by PL Blair

I’m back to trying to catch up on reviews.  Today I have a contemporary fantasy novel for you all to check out.  Links to my reviews for the previous novels (in order) are below, but this one won’t give away any major spoilers that would ruin the other books for you if you haven’t read the series yet.

Shadow Path


Deathtalker book coverKat and Tevis are back again in this third novel of the Portal Series and up against a new enemy.  A creature called a lovetalker (later renamed deathtalker) is seducing women to their deaths and Corpus Christi is his latest hunting ground.  The most worrisome part of all is he is selecting women who look a lot like Kat.  The two detectives, along with a special group formed in previous books, will have to work harder than ever to stop this one as it appears he has no known vulnerabilities.  It will be one their hardest challenges yet.

One of the things I like best about PL Blair’s books is the unique plots.  This latest one is not something I’d seen before and she did a great job with revealing the lore of the “deathtalker” in doses the reader could handle without inundating them.  Not only that, but the details make sense despite the fiction elements.  I also enjoy her use of cats for every novel.  They always have some kind of purpose, even if it is a small one, and can make you laugh at their antics.

The story moved at a smooth pace, but has its slower moments as the detectives research who they are dealing with and how to stop him.  The world-building is so fascinating that even when there isn’t  any action going on, the reader is glued to the pages while learning about this version of earth (mostly like ours, but not quite).  The fight scenes, when they come, are explosive and gripping.  PL Blair isn’t afraid to let her characters get hurt or to show their weaknesses.  They have to give it their all if they want to come out on top.

Most of the characters in this novel are developed further in this installment.  You’ll learn more about Tevis’ history, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.  The same goes for Arvandus (a wizard) and Gairth (a half-lovetalker), who have a lot more revealed about them—including their feelings for Kat.  A new character is introduced,  Jorge, who is a hobgoblin that turns out to be a rather decent guy despite his awkward appearance.  I will look forward to seeing more of him in future installments.

The only character I felt didn’t get much development was Kat.  She is much younger than the others and doesn’t have any magical abilities to speak of (at least in this realm), but I still think there is plenty about her that could be explored.  I would have liked to see more depth to her, along with her thoughts on the men around her—some of which obviously have feelings for her.  She seemed rather oblivious to this, which may be the author’s intention, but it makes her one of the harder characters to get a sense of because she doesn’t have near as much inner conflict as the others.

It also isn’t enough to be stubborn and determined to fight the bad guys.  An exploration of her motivations would go a long way in helping the reader identify with her.  She was in very real danger throughout this story and yet she didn’t appear all that worried or cautious, considering she knew she could be a target that was not immune to the deathalker’s powers.  Not only that, but I expected a much bigger battle with the men (who I thought should have been more protective) about her participation in the investigation.  They just kind of let things go without a real fight.  While all the other elements of the novel were quite good, this was the one area I thought could have been strengthened, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment.

Overall, I’m pleased with this latest book.  Though I’d recommend starting at the beginning with Shadow Path, this one could be read on its own without any difficulty.  The author does a great job of telling the reader what they need to know for each novel and refreshing things for those of us who’ve had some time since the last one.  If you enjoy good fantasy detective novels, Deathtalker would be a great one to try.

Four whips (equivalent of stars) are being awarded for this nice novel!


~ by Suzie on March 2, 2013.

5 Responses to “Review of Deathtalker by PL Blair”

  1. Great review! I’ve read the first two books in this series and really enjoyed them! I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

  2. Susan … Thank you! I always appreciate your reviews, and … You’re spot-on about Kat. I did kind of drop the ball with her in this book. I hope to do better in future books in the series. Thank you so much for your time and effort.

    • You’re welcome, PL. I like Kat so much I think it just stood out to me more that she didn’t get as much development this time around. The last book had some great revelations and I was just hoping for more. I will certainly be looking forward to the next one, though!

      • Thanks, Suzie! I hope you’ll like Sister Hoods too. It’s out in print, but I’m thinking of asking my publisher to just pull the print book. The ebook almost merits a separate title because of the changes I’ve made. (When I told my publisher what I was doing, I held my breath – kind of fearful of “authorcide.” But she just laughed and said “Go for it!”

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