Peacemaker by Marianne De Pierres
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.
When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path…”
I feel kind of neutral towards this novel. I thought it had some great ideas that it just didn’t follow up on well enough. A big one for me was the setting. When I saw that the main character is a park ranger, I was really excited. I was even more excited to see that this park exists in a future time, and I thought that maybe I’d see some extrapolations on how conservation would work in years to come. Not much of the story took place within the park, though; most of the action was in areas in the surrounding city.
Now, admittedly, the stuff that happens in the city is pretty interesting. De Pierres has concocted a criminal hierarchy that’s believable and ruthless, and she has also made a main character who can conceivably move between her world and the world on the law’s opposite side. I just don’t see the point of making Virgin a park ranger if that particular skill set isn’t going to come into play.
The other thing that I wanted was more of a sense of who the main characters are. While we do get some background on Virgin (and a background that ties in to what is happening in the “now” of the novel), Nate seems thrown in just to create tension. Also, Virgin’s spirit animal presents an issue in that it’s ambiguous just how “present” it really is. The closest analogy that I can think of is a poltergeist: it can’t be seen by most people, but it can affect the physical world. And what is it’s connection to Virgin? There’s a lot of questions that I have, and although they may be answered in future novels, I just didn’t think there was enough in this book to hook me into continuing the series to find those answers.
I found things to both like and dislike in Peacemaker, and although I wouldn’t say it’s a bad book, I didn’t connect with it enough to want to keep going with any future books. My own expectations may have tripped me up a bit, so bear that in mind when deciding whether or not to read this novel.