You Slay Me (Aisling Grey: Guardian #1) by Katie MacAlister
Publication date: 07 September 2004 by Onyx
Category: Adult Urban Fantasy
Keywords: Urban fantasy, paranormal, mystery, dragons, witches, Paris
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook
Aisling Grey is a down on her luck 30-something working for her uncle as a courier. Unfortunately while on a job delivering a prized artifact in Paris, Aisling finds her client murdered and herself as the main suspect. She also loses the artifact to a mysterious and sexy stranger who claims that she is a Guardian (more on that later). Suddenly thrust into a new and frightening world filled with witches, demons, dragons, and talking dogs, she must prove her innocence and get the heck out of Dodge (or Paris as the case may be) and hopefully not lose her job or get killed in the process.
I knew I was going to have a problem with this book when, a few pages in, an airline clerk read the contents of Aisling’s passport back to her and we conveniently get her physical description. This book is definitely a case of telling, not showing, the reader what is happening. Instead of letting events unfold naturally, there are long passages where characters are explaining things to each other. Aisling also talks to herself in long, rambling monologues to explain either what’s happening in front of her or what she’s thinking. And I know this isn’t the author’s fault but my copy of the book was also riddled with typos, which made for a distracting read.
My biggest problem with the book is the main character. Aisling Grey is a Guardian. Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry - Aisling doesn’t either. In fact, she doesn’t know much of anything. She’s a total ditz who has no clue what’s going on most of the time. I don’t love dumb characters but I don’t mind them as long as they have some redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, there’s nothing endearing about Aisling and she’s more annoying that anything. As I mentioned before, she has a habit of babbling incoherently to herself and others. She is always asking questions but then either doesn’t believe or doesn’t understand the answers. She’s totally clueless most of the time and does and says many dumb things. It’s really a miracle that she manages to survive at all.
There is also a lot of very awkward dialogue in the book. I think the author was trying to go for funny and clever, but it comes across as forced and unnatural. Not everything has to be a joke, but if it is, it should at least be a good one. I also found the author’s depiction of France to be cliche and outdated. Do Americans still think that all French people are rude and snobby? Judging by this book that still seems to be the popular opinion. And the ones who weren’t cliche tourist haters were unrealistically friendly, offering to chauffeur Aisling around for cheap while telling her about Paris’ underground occult scene, and helping her with dangerous breaking and entering missions.
There were a couple of bright spots in the book. I liked Aisling’s demon dog, Jim. He probably had the funniest lines in the whole book. It was weird that everyone kept referring to Jim as “it” though. He’s clearly a male but everyone refers to him as “it” instead of “him.” Maybe all demons are supposed to be referred to as “it” but it just sounded wrong. My favorite part of the book, though, was Drake. Dark, mysterious and predatory, Drake is a real live dragon housed in a gorgeous male body. I was really intrigued by the idea of a dragon that also has a human body. I wish we could have learned a little bit more about the history of the dragon clans. Drake’s also very attracted to Aisling, for reasons I cannot fathom, and they have great chemistry. I really enjoyed the scenes that they had together, especially the sexy ones. Aisling’s dreams were h-o-t. I just wish the rest of the book had been as captivating.
As you can see, this book was not for me. I was actually quite relieved when I finished the book and was happy to be done with it. While I want to see where the relationship between Aisling and Drake goes, I will not be picking up the next book in the series.
Visit the author online at katiemacalister.com and follow her on Twitter @katiemacalister