Vicious Circle
Persephone Alcmedi, Book #1
Linda Robertson

Review brought to you by OBS staff member Verushka

There is nothing more hilarious than seeing a name spelled like “Gavyn” in an urban fantasy novel. It reeks of someone trying too hard to make a character stand out and more often than not plays out like an overbearing mother trying too hard to make her kid unique.

Then there are names like Persephone Isis Alcmedi, a mouthful I would pity any child having. However, we meet Seph as she is called in this book as an adult, a pagan witch who is currently living with her grandmother, Demeter and their great Dane puppy Ares, formerly known as Poopsie. No really. Seph’s is named for the Greek Queen of the Underworld, Persephone and Isis, the Greek Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility, not to mention a friend of slaves, sinners and the downtrodden. Wikipedia tells me, she listened to the rich as well. This makes for an interesting combination for Seph, who lives up to both her names – she is a friend to werewolves, kenneling those that trust her through their monthly change, and an instrument of vengeance in the same breath. It is that which makes up much of the book.

She isn’t particularly bloodthirsty, but she has a streak of justice a mile wide, something Vivian Diamond, a witch is counting on when she comes to Seph to find the killer of Lorrie, a werewolf she was helping. Lorrie, a close friend of Seph, who kenneled with her, moved away some time before the book begins and Seph had lost touch with her and her daughter, Beverly. But not before Lorrie had come to her for help with a stalker that Seph claims she accidentally killed through much of the book. Vivian wants to know who killed Lorrie, wants the killer taken care of and what follows is a well thought out case, that is designed to shed light on Seph, and her links with the others – werewolves, vamps and witches within this world.

Seph isn’t a vigilante in this, she merely wants to help set right the wrongs she sees. Despite her taking the case of finding Lorrie’s killer and promising Vivian the vengeance she seeks, I never got the feeling that Seph was as bloodthirsty as that agreement suggested. She is a character that wants to help, that writes columns on the unfair treatment of werewolves in hospitals and normal society, something which plays a lot into this book.

By the end of the book, thanks to the werewolves she surrounds herself with, and her heritage, on her father’s side (who she’s never known) she discovers something unique about herself that explains her desire for justice and her reticence in doing whatever to achieve it. It’s the beginning of a interesting battle for her, within herself, and one that isn’t easy. Or so I hope.

There is a wealth of supporting characters here, some which suffer because of the sheer number. That doesn’t detract from those that get the author’s attention – Johnny, a werewolf, and love interest, Demeter her grandmother and Beverly, Lorrie’s kid – are the main supporting cast that shape who Seph is in this book, with the ending promising a different set in future novels.

I am still on the fence about this book for some reason – it’s engaging, well thought out with a likeable female heroine, who has some struggles ahead of her that I can appreciate. I’m hoping it’s first-bookitis, where in the main purpose of the book is to set up a world, and it is one of the hardest ones to write in a series I think. It’s worth picking up the second novel in this series though.